They’re both deep-fried goodies enjoyed by people across India, and yet, Luchi and Puri have their own unique identities. Despite their many similarities, these two deep-fried flatbreads of India are very different. Here is everything you need to know about Luchi, Puri and all that’s common and uncommon between them.
Ask any North Indian what pairs best with festive favourites like Chhole, Aloo Sabji, Chana, Kheer and Halwa, and they will unequivocally say Puri. Ask anybody from the eastern Indian states the same thing, and the answer will straight-up be Luchi. But aren’t they the same, you ask? The answer is no, they are not. Are Puri and Luchi similar enough for the unaware to assume they are the same? Yes! But are they actually the same? Nope!
Truth be told, since both Puri and Luchi are fluffy Indian flatbreads, it is quite natural to confuse between them and assume they are indeed one and the same. People from West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Tripura will, however, vehemently oppose to this assumption—probably because many settlers in North India have had to learn to whip up their own Luchi at home to be able to show their friends and neighbours that their beloved Luchi is not like Puri at all.
So, what’s the big deal about the differences between Puri and Luchi? It’s all about that interconnectivity between food and identity. Just like a North Indian savoury Kadhi should never be mixed up with a sweet Gujarati Kadhi, just like a Lucknowi Biryani has its own heritage and identity that’s separate from that of Malabar Biryani, Luchi and Puri too should be given the respect their individual origins, heritage and identity deserve.
Video Credit: YouTube/Bong Eats
Now, if you are wondering what the points of similarity and difference between Luchi and Puri are, here is everything you need to know.
Similarities Between Puri And Luchi
1. Both Are Deep Fried: This is the biggest point of similarity between Puri and Luchi and even fluffy Bhaturas for that matter. The art of making perfectly fluffed up Puris and Luchi is one that has been passed down the generations, and is regulated by the temperature of the oil, the light pressure applied to the rolled-out dough and the technique of deftly flipping the Puri or Luchi so that they don’t burn.
2. Both Doughs Have Fat: While making the dough for both Puri and Luchi, a bit of fat in the form of (preferably) ghee or oil is always added. This addition is made to ensure that whether you are making Luchi or Puri, the end product is khasta or crispy. The more the fat you add to the dough, the crispier the Luchi or Puri will be.
3. Both Are Festive: Whether you are in love with the fluffiest Puris or the palest Luchis, the underlining fact is that both these deep-fried flatbreads are always included in festive meals and Thalis. It doesn’t matter if you are celebrating a Sunday feast like Bengalis do or Navratri like the North Indians, Luchi and Puri simply have to be present on your plate.
4. Both Make For Street-Side Meals: Another thing that unites both Puri and Luchi lovers is the fact that they are easy to make, pocket-friendly and make for great street-side meals. If you are in any North Indian city, you will definitely find food stalls and vendors who make and sell quick meals of Aloo-Puri or Chole-Puri. And if you are in Kolkata or Guwahati or Bhubaneshwar, you will always find Luchi-Aloo or Luchi-Ghughni sellers in the busiest streets. This easy availability is what embeds Puri in the North Indian food DNA just like Luchi is embedded in eastern Indian food DNA.
Differences Between Luchi And Puri
1. The Flour Used: Simply put, the biggest difference between Luchi and Puri is the flour used to make them. Luchi is always and only made with refined flour or maida—some may mix some whole wheat flour in to make it healthier, but that’s almost blasphemy for Luchi lovers. Puri on the other hand is predominantly made with only whole wheat flour. On sattvik fasting days, like Navratri, Puris are also made with buckwheat flour or kuttu and water chestnut flour or singhara.
2. Flavouring Seeds: Flavouring the dough with salt, ghee and spices is quite natural, but the flavour additions made to Puri and Luchi usually differ. While Puri usually has carom seeds or ajwain in the dough, Luchi is either made with nigella seeds or kalonji. In many Bengali and Assamese households, in fact, even nigella seeds aren’t added to the dough, keeping it simple and all about the refined flour.
3. The Frying Techniques: You may argue that since both these flatbreads are deep-fried, how different can the frying techniques for them be? As it turns out, they are quite different. Puri is always fried until golden brown on both sides. Luchi, on the other hand, is never browned and instead fried perfectly to maintain the paleness of the dough. In fact, many believe that if you have browned the Luchi at all while frying, you’ve turned it into maida Puris!
4. Pairing With Non-Vegetarian Dishes: Ask any North Indian and the very notion of pairing Puris with anything but vegetarian delicacies, from the spiciest Chhole to the simplest Jeera Aloo, would seem beyond imagination. Luchi, on the other hand, is traditionally paired not only with vegetarian potato or even pumpkin dishes but also with mutton and chicken dishes. After all, isn’t Luchi-Mangsho a traditional Sunday meal in Bengali households?