Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
We grew up humming this nursery rhyme as kids without knowing its significance. A typical hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top and traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent.
But these sweet bunsfind their roots in Mangalore sans the cross and raisins.
Mangalore buns is a type of traditional poori recipe that can be eaten as a breakfast dish or as an evening snack. It is made using ripe bananas and all purpose flour(maida). Yogurt is used while kneading the dough instead of water.
You needn’t serve it with butter or chutneys or aloo sabji. Since ripe bananas are added it imparts a sweet taste and tastes best when dunked in coffee.
They are called buns since they are thicker in texture than the normal pooris that are made with all-purpose flour as opposed to wheat flour which is used in the traditional pooris.
The last memory I had of devouring buns was on a highway dhabba in Mangalore served piping hot with coffee. Given below is my Boston-based sister-in-law Aparna Nayak’s recipe passed on from her mother.
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour(maida)
1-2 ripe bananas
½ tsp baking soda
Salt as per taste
In a large bowl, peel and mash the banana/s well. To this, add yoghurt, baking soda, sugar and salt and mix well.
- Stir in the wheat flour and all purpose flour, little at a time, start mixing it till it comes together and forms a pliable dough. Knead the dough for atleast five minutes. Apply oil to your palms and cover the dough with oil on all sides. This is done so that the dough remains smooth and doesn’t dry up and form cracks on the top layer when you keep it aside.
- Set aside for atleast 5 hours or preferably overnight.
- Heat oil in a large pan or a fryer. Make lime size balls of the dough, flatten it and dust the ball on both sides with all purpose flour or wheat flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the balls into 4″ diameter discs or pooris. Dust the excess flour off by passing the discs in between your hands.
- Gently drop the disc one at a time into the hot oil. Press on the surface of the disc with a slotted spoon and you will see them rise or puff up. Let it turn a nice golden in color before you flip it over. Slowly flip the disc over and let it cook on the other side. When golden on that side too, using the slotted spoon, remove it from the hot oil and place on a plate which has been lined with a paper towel so that it absorbs all the excess oil. Do the same with all the remaining discs.
- Tip: The more ripe the bananas are, the better your dish will turn out to be. You can also put in less sugar because ripe bananas tend to be sweeter. The bananas that I used were pretty ripe, so I used just 2 tbsp of sugar, you can use more if necessary.