Poee: Mildly Spiced Goan Bread

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Goan cuisine has very strong Portuguese & Iberian connections. The  art of baking bread was brought to Goa by the European Missionaries. The bread came to be such an essential part of a Goan breakfast that there came a time, “towards the end of the Portuguese rule, when every village had its own local bakery.” Goan bakers adapted the European influence and added local ingredients to their bread giving it a very distinct Goan flavour. They used to use toddy instead of yeast for leavening.

Known as ‘poee‘, it is a what what like a Pita  bread, butterfly shaped and  airy inside. It is very soft and spongy within. It is sold in markets and bakeries all over Goa. They are eaten with many savoury dishes like “Black Eyed peas in Spicy Goan Curry” (will post this later), but may be eaten with any Indian or non Indian dishes. The name seems to have some controversies.. being also called as “pao” or “poli” . But I suppose “poee”, “pao” & “poli” are all breads alright, but of different kinds and shapes.

This recipe is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s “Flavours of India”. The moment I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it.  Since most leavened breads use eggs or some kind of dairy too, this looked so easy, with the ingredients as simple as salt & flour with the addition of yeast. I have used part Whole Wheat Flour, as opposed to the use of refined flour in the recipe. I have also added some light spice for some light flavors.

I am sending to Vegan Ventures, Round 2 hosted by Suganya from Tasty Palettes.

& To Susan’s Yeastspotting.

Makes 6 breads.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  2. 1.5 teaspoon dried yeast
  3. 2 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour, plus extra for dusting
  4. 1.5 cups of All Purpose Flour
  5. 1 Teaspoof of Ajwain (carom seeds)
  6. Nigella/Kalonji Seeds to Sprinkle on top
  7. Salt
  8. Water


Preparation:

Dissolve the sugar in about 1/2 cup of luke warm water & sprinkle on the dried yeast. Stir well and set aside for 10 minutes to allow a frothy head to develop.

Sift the flour & salt in a large bowl. Combine the carom seeds. Pour in the yeast mixture, along with 1.5 cups of  water. Mix well at first using a spoon, then hands to incorporate all the flour to for a dough. If it looks too dry, add a little more water.

Turn  dough on a well floured surface and knead well for about 5- 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Dust regularly with flour to avoid it sticking.

Place it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a cloth or cling wrap & put in a warm place to rise for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. ( I put it inside the unheated oven).

Pre heat oven to 425 degree F. Turn dough out onto floured surface and briefly knead again. Divide  the roll into 6 equal sections.

Slightly flatten each section, slash down the centre of each round with a sharp knife and spread out both to the right & left as if you were opening a book.  They will roughly look like butterflies without antennaes.

Place butterflies on a baking sheet, brush them with very little oil ( just enough to make the seeds stay), sprinkle the nigella seeds and lightly press. Allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

Bake in over for 10 – 15 minutes until golden browned.

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Anyway who can resist a basketful of hot baked breads ? I have written above that Poee is to be eaten with some Spicy Curry, but the way they turned out, I could not stop myself from trying it out with just plain butter and it tasted heavenly!!

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It did turn out very fluffy and soft on the inside and crusty on the outside.

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Other Bread Recipes:

Spiced Rum Sweet Bread

Spiced Apple Ginger Bread

Vegetable & Fruit Whole Grain Bread

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