Pholourie (pronounced puh-law-ree) is a favorite street snack in T&T.
Pholourie is a seasoned, deep fried dough ball made with flour, split peas powder, turmeric and seasonings and is served with chutneys and sauces like tamarind sauce. Although yeast is used, pholourie is considered vegan.
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For this homemade pholourie recipe, you will need:
- flour: I use all purpose flour.
- split peas powder: or dhal flour adds a great texture, taste, and authenticity to the pholourie (find on Amazon here).
- yeast: creates that airy, pillow soft texture of the dough balls.
- garlic: season the dough to your liking. Garlic adds a really nice flavor.
- chadon beni leaves: also called culantro and recao. These leaves are used in most Trini savory dishes and add a sharp, herbaceous flavor to the dough (find on Amazon here). If you can’t find the leaves, then substitute with chopped cilantro leaves.
- turmeric: gives the pholourie that beautiful yellow color.
- sugar: helps to activate the yeast.
- pepper: ground fresh pepper like pimento and scotch bonnet (get on Amazon) or powdered versions like black pepper and chili powder all work well.
- water: for kneading and dipping hands before frying.
- oil: for frying
If you don’t want to make pholourie from scratch, you can buy pholourie mix on Amazon. Simply add water, mix to form a smooth paste and start frying. If you’re buying the mix, you may as well pick up some tamarind chutney and pepper sauce from Amazon.
Watch how to make pholourie
How to make pholourie from scratch
Step 1: Add the flour, split peas powder, yeast, turmeric, sugar, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix everything together.
Step 2: Blend the chadon beni and garlic together with some water until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and start kneading. Also, add the water gradually and continue kneading.
Step 3: The batter should be very soft and slurry-like. Whip the batter to loosen any flour lumps in there. If there are any lumps, they will burst in the hot oil and can burn you pretty badly (and make a mess too). So, be sure the batter is very smooth.
Leave to rest
Step 4: With the batter mixed well, cover and leave to rest for about 45 minutes. This gives the yeast time to activate.
Step 5: Place a large pot on the stove on medium heat. Leave to heat up for a few minutes before adding about two or three cups of vegetable oil. Allow to heat up for about five to ten minutes. The oil should be nice and hot when frying.
After the batter has rested and the oil is ready, it is time to fry. But how to make the pholourie round?
Step 6: My mother-in-law has a great technique and makes perfect pholourie. She does this by dipping her hand in a bowl of water before scooping up some batter. She closes her fingers to form a loose fist then turns her hand thumb side down over the oil. She usually squeezes her fingers to push the batter out of her hand through the space between her thumb and index finger. Doing this makes the pholourie rounded. (Check out the youtube video above for more).
Step 7: When enough batter is squeezed out she slides her thumb to her index finger so the pholourie drops into the hot oil. Repeat to fill the pot with pholourie.
You can also use an oiled spoon to drop the batter but it will not be as rounded or smooth.
Step 8: In the oil, the pholourie sinks to the bottom but will eventually expand and float to the top. Turn after 3 or 4 minutes to ensure even browning.
Step 9: Remove after another three or four minutes and place in an airtight container lined with napkins or wax paper. Cover to trap the heat and keep the pholourie soft.
For this recipe, you will have three or four batches to fry before you’re done.
Here’s a look at inside.
What to serve with pholourie
This fried snack is often served with sauces and chutneys. You can try my tamarind sauce recipe with it – that’s the sauce in the photo above. Mango chutney and pommecythere (golden apple) chutney are also popular dipping sauces.
More Trini East Indian street food:
Download and print this pholourie recipe to add to your collection (it’s free to download!).
Easy pholourie recipe
Trini pholourie from scratch
- 4½ cups flour
- ¼ cup split peas powder
- 1 packet yeast (11 g)
- 10 chadon beni leaves
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 cups water (warm)
- oil for frying (approx. 2 – 3 cups)
- Blend garlic, chadon beni leaves and a little water until smooth.
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Add water a little at a time and knead to form a slurry.
- Whisk until the batter becomes light, smooth and lump free (flour lumps will burst in the hot oil and may cause burns).
- Rest for 45 minutes.
- Place a large pot on medium heat.
- Add the oil and leave to heat up.
- Dip your hands in a bowl of water.
- Scoop up a handful of batter.
- Close your fingers to form a fist.
- Turn your fist thumb side down over the hot oil.
- Squeeze your fingers to push a dollop of batter through the space between your thumb and index finger (this gives the pholourie its rounded shape).
- Slide the thumb towards your index finger for the batter to drop into the hot oil.
- Repeat scooping, squeezing and sliding until the pot is filled with pholourie.
- Turn the pholourie after a minute and keep turning occassionally.
- Remove after 5 to 6 minutes.
- Place in an airtight container to trap the heat.
- Serve hot with a sauce or chutney.