Pholourie is a favorite street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a fried dough ball made with flour, split peas powder and seasonings; served with chutneys like mango, tamarind, and pommecythere (golden apple).
You’ll be eating this delicious snack by the dozens.
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Fuluri and Pholourie
Pholourie has roots in East Indian cuisine. It is likely the grandchild of the Bengali street food – fuluri.
Rimli from scratchingcanvas.com explains how to make fuluri with besan (chickpea flour), seasonings, and baking powder. She talks about the evolution of fuluri as the availability of ingredients changed. Fuluri started with grinding soaked Bengal gram lentil (yellow split peas or what we call dhal). But now that has been completely replaced by chickpea flour.
The same can be said for the evolution of pholourie. White flour was more readily available in the Caribbean and was mixed with the ground yellow split peas. In recent decades, split peas flour has replaced the peas itself. And baking powder is sometimes substituted with yeast.
So, as you can tell, as I’ve said so many times on this blog about Caribbean food, there is no one way to make pholourie – it’s all based on your preferences.
If you don’t like ground split peas in the fritter, don’t add it in. Not a fan of yeast? Use baking powder instead. Can’t find split peas powder? Leave it out. Experiment and enjoy.
How to Make Pholourie
I’ve tried to make pholourie before – tried and FAILED! I didn’t leave the dough to rest long enough. So, when frying it, there were mini explosions in the oil. Yep, I got burned. Poor hubby had to clean up the oily mess in the kitchen and banned me from making pholourie.
So, to learn how to make pholourie – the right way – I asked his mom to explain it all. She is the maker of picture-perfect, delicious pholourie and we are the happy volunteers to eat them all up.
Here’s everything she used:
- split peas powder (get this on Amazon)
- cumin powder
- green seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for frying
Yeast makes the dough balls light and airy. If you are not a big fan of yeast, swap with baking powder. It’ll have the same effect. Or use a smaller amount of yeast plus baking powder.
Here are a couple more pepper sauces to spice up your pholourie:
Combine all dry ingredients together thoroughly.
Add water and mix vigorously. This is really, really important. You don’t want any pockets of loose flour – they’ll burst in the oil and can burn you. So, you must get in there, use your elbow grease and ensure the mixture is well incorporated.
Cover the mix and leave to rest for 30 minutes to an hour. This is another important step. It gives the yeast time to activate and develop air pockets – which will make your pholourie pillow-soft and fluffy.
Then, it’s frying time. Add vegetable oil to a heavy pot and allow to heat up. Drop one-inch dough balls into the oil. Here you can use your hands – my mother-in-law has this amazing technique that guarantees perfectly round pholourie. But, she’s at that expert level. For the rest of us, you can use a teaspoon to drop the dough balls into the oil.
The dough sinks in the oil but quickly expands and floats to the top.
As this happens, rotate the balls to ensure even cooking. When the pholourie develops a nice golden color, it’s done. Remove from the oil and serve hot.
Eat it alongside aloo pie, baiganie and other Indian snacks and street food. Tamarind chutney and mango chutney are great dipping sauces for your pholourie.
Pholourie Recipe: Tasty Fried Dough Balls
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tbsp split peas powder
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp green seasoning
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ¾ tsp cumin powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 2½ cups water
- oil for frying
- Combine dry ingredients.
- Add water and mix thoroughly and vigorously to remove any pockets of flour. *very important*
- Cover and allow to rest for 30 to 60 minutes.
- In a heavy pot, add oil. It should be enough oil to cover the dough balls.
- Once the oil is hot, drop one inch dough balls into the oil (experts use their hands and a great throwing technique; beginners can use a spoon).
- The dough will expand and float in the oil as it cooks. Turn to ensure even cooking and color.
- After a couple minutes, remove from the oil.
- Serve immediately with tamarind or mango chutney.