While one side of the globe was frying bread and calling it fried bread, we called it Mangalore buns (banana puri). This comes from Mangalore, a land of pretty ladies, they say. I feel extremely lucky to have friends like family in every stage of my life. Moving from a cozy apartment to our own home was a new venture, and an exciting one. My very pretty neighbor and I formed a bond over the fence. From passing a cup of sugar or liquid detergent, nothing was out of bounds when it came to needing something urgent. One rainy day she shared this banana puri with spicy lentil curry. All I could say was that I wanted more. Served with something spicy, it makes the slight sweetness of the puri a bit subtler and the sharp spice of the curry a bit milder. It’s a little deviation from the usual puri (a deep-fried flatbread); this has a bit of a spongier and denser feel to it, with a breadlike texture.
2 ½ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 tablespoon (8 grams) nigella seeds
How to Make It
Add the bananas to a mixing bowl and mash well. Add the yogurt, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the flour and mix it slowly with a wooden spatula until everything comes together. Flour your clean hands lightly, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead the dough slowly. If the dough is wet, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and roll it back and forth to get it smooth. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let rest for 2 hours.
Pour the vegetable oil into a pot to a depth of 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm), place over medium-high heat and bring to 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer.
Divide the dough into 14 to 16 equal portions. Add some nigella seeds to each piece and roll them to about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick. Carefully add the rolls to the hot oil in batches and fry them over medium to medium-low heat for about a minute on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a spider and drain on paper towels. Bring the oil back up to temperature in between batches.
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