Luchi and Sundays are literally synonymous in our lives. It does not apply to just us but every Bengali that I know of. Luchi is a must for Sunday breakfast. Right from Tugga to Tugga’s thammi would be disappointed if not luchi for breakfast. Rarely, an alternative is cooked but that has to be something quite exotic to match as a substitute.
What does one eat luchi with?
The torkari or the vegetable that goes with luchi can vary. Sometimes you can make shada alur torkari, Niramish alur dom or alu phulkopir torkari. Luchi cholar dal is a brilliant combination but that normally is served for lunch or dinner. In that case, begun bhaja quite often, is the accompaniment. There are several kinds of alur dom that goes with it. There is also khosha dawa alur torkari, which tastes brilliant. Most often, for a special lunch or dinner, there is manghsor jhol. Luchi with manghsor jhol is simply, for lack of a better word, ‘potent’
How is it different from puri?
Yes, they are both puffed bread and are deep fried but the basic ingredient is different. Unlike North Indian puris, luchi does not have whole wheat flour or aata. It is made with all purpose flour or maida only.
Along with maida or all purpose flour, a little bit of oil and water is used to knead the dough. The kneading of the dough is quite critical. You have to spend a good 6 to 8 minutes to knead it to a tight dough. Then you have to cut out small rounds balls, less than the size of a small lemon. Each one is then rolled out on a hard surface into thin round shapes. It is important to make small balls because the average diameter of a luchi should be approximately 4 to 4.5 cm. You can make them bigger but that’s up to you. Finally, these are deep fried one by one in vegetable oil. The frying process is quite delicate and the disc needs to puff up and cannot turn brown.
The perfect luchi will be off white in colour.
In some houses, they prefer golden colour and crisp on the outside, like in the pictures here. If you feel generous, you can fry them in ghee. We call it Ghee e bhaja luchi. That is a whole different level of satisfaction.
It takes some amount of practice for getting all the steps correct. If there is an error at any step, the final luchi does not puff up.
For a long time, I would only take up frying. Rolling was not my cup of tea until the last couple of years. However, I still find the frying process the most fulfilling. When the luchi puffs up and you turn it over, it’s a huge amount of satisfaction. You have got it right!!
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