Dar ni Pori’s are probably as famous as our Sunday lunches of Dhansak and kebabs. Served at tea-time or as a breakfast treat, Dar ni Pori is basically a pastry filled with a mixture of sweet lentils and dried fruits. At my house, #BawiSasu and #BawaSasra are particularly fond of this tea-time pastry and we order it from Dadar’s Pervez Hall quite regularly. The best part is that they make it in the afternoon so it is still deliciously warm when you bite into it at 4pm.
There used to be a time when mothers used to make Dar ni Pori’s quite regularly as they are also served up on happy occasions like birthdays and weddings and make for a great gift. Sadly, hardly anyone makes Dar ni Pori at home any more and they have become exclusively the domain of old Parsi aunties and the few Parsi shops dotting the city like PAC, RTI and Pervez Hall.
Imagine my excitement therefore when #BawiMummy told me that her friend Tanaz – who also makes a mean Tomato per Eedu, might I add – had her mum’s recipe for Dar ni Pori. Her mum, Nergish had worked at RTI for years as a young girl before her daughter was born. One day, after tasting her Dar ni Pori her family doctor insisted she leave her job as she was wasting her time as a retail assistant. She consequently started her own tiffin service with two dabbas which later grew to more than 50!
So, when I was in New Zealand a few months ago Tanaz aunty dug out her mum’s recipe and we spent an entire Sunday afternoon making this delightful Parsi snack. I hope you enjoy making it as much as we all did! The entire process is easier to explain with pictures so I’ve made some animated GIFs for you all – do take the time to check them out before you head into the kitchen. Ingredients at the bottom of the post as always!
The first step in making the Dar ni Pori is making the filling of the dar. To do this, soak the dal overnight. In the morning, cook the dal in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles and 10 minutes on slow. Make sure you don’t add too much water with the water just covering the top of the dal. Once the dal is cooked, take it off the heat and add the sugar and ghee. Using a hand blender, mix everything well. Now, add the almonds, charoli, mixed dried fruit, essence, elaichi and jaifal powder. Cook the mixture on very low heat stirring continuously until thick and well mixed. I would recommend, making this mixture on the day you are making the pori’s. Storing the mixture in the fridge creates moisture which will make it troublesome for you at the time of stuffing the Dar ni Pori’s.
Once the dar mixture is ready, it is now time to make the Maan. Think of the Maan as the glue that will hold the pastry sheets together. For the Maan, mix the flour and ghee with your hands until smooth and light to touch. Keep this Maan immersed in cold water to ensure it stays moist. Add 2 drops of the rose essence to the water for perfume. The sign of a well made Maan is when it floats in the cold water.
Once your Maan is ready, it is time to make the pastry. To do this, mix the semolina, flour and ghee in a food processor or by hand to make a dough. Break this into about six big balls. Now, flour the bench that you are going to work on and knead each ball into a smooth mixture. Taking each ball at a time, roll them out into a thick roti. Set these roti’s aside and cover with a damp muslin cloth.
Once these pastry sheets are ready, spread a tablespoon of the maan on the flat pastry. Sprinkle this sheet with flour and now layer another sheet on top of this. Do this with one more sheet. Now turn the edges inwards and roll it up into a tube. Repeat these steps to form a second tube. Sprinkle the damp muslin cloth with a few drops of rose water and cover the dough tubes with the cloth for about 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Once the time is up, cut out 3 inch pieces from the roll. Flour your hands and twist the roll. Press down each twist and shape them into a round ball. Next, flatten this ball out and slowly stretch it to form a cup shape. Repeat these steps with each for each of the dough balls – you should get around 8 – 9 poris. Once this is done, make the same number of balls using the dar mixture that we had set aside earlier.
Taking each cup at a time, add a ball of dar in it and start to stretch the dough around it. Seal the edges with a little water. Using floured hands, flatten the ball to form a thick cake 5 – 6 inches in diameter. Do not use the rolling pin for this step and be careful to not stuff too much of the dar mixture or the pastry will break. Repeat the same steps for the other Dar ni Poris keeping the ones that are ready covered with a damp muslin cloth to ensure they don’t dry out.
Now, the hard part is over. On an oven tray covered with baking paper, place about 4 – 5 of the Dar ni Pori’s and bake on both sides until golden brown – about 10 – 15 minutes each side. I recommend only putting one layer of Pori’s at a time to ensure that they all bake evenly. Keep a close eye on the oven and no phone calls or Facebook’ing while these beauties bake!
Once the Pori’s are baked on both sides, take them out of the oven and let them cool on a rack while you busy yourself making a cup of tea. Enjoy these warm with a steaming cup of peppermint tea – you will need it after all your hard work in the kitchen!
The Dar ni Pori’s are best shared with friends so I suggest that you give some away and impress them with your cooking prowess. They stay well in the fridge for 3 – 4 days as well. If you have any of the dar mixture left, don’t fret! It stays well frozen for upto 3 months and you can always use it up to make another batch of port’s or as another dessert – a recipe I will be posting shortly.
To make about 9 Dar ni Pori’s you will need:
For the Dar Filling:
2 cups toor dal
2 cups sugar
3 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp blanched almonds thinly slices
1/2 cup mixed fruits (raisins, tutti fruity)
1 tsp rose essence
2 tsp elaichi & jaifal powder
1 tsp charoli (optional)
For the Maan:
4 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 – 3 drops rose essence
Cold water to soak the maan
For the Pastry:
1 cup fine semolina or rava
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 tbsp ghee
2 – 3 drops rose essence