Pholourie Balls Recipe - Trini style

I recently spent 16 days visiting my cousin and her husband, who recently moved to Ghana for work. I left Toronto with several suitcases filled with treats for them. One of the things that they were missing was a popular Trinidadian street food called Pholourie (pronounced po-law-ree). This street food was introduced to Trinidad by the indian indentured labourers who came to work in the sugar plantations. These fritters are now part of the culinary history of Trinidad, and the other islands where the indentured labourers also went. 

Pholourie Balls Recipe ©

The sizzle of the batter hitting the hot oil takes me back to my childhood days playing in the backyard at my grandmother's house with my cousins, waiting impatiently until she was done. Grandma Ruby would put 5 or 6 balls into a brown paper bag, then drizzle a thin mango chutney over them. I was always a fast eater, but I nibble these balls so slowly to make them last for as long as I could.

Pholourie Balls Recipe - Trinidad ©

Pholourie is best served hot and fresh from the frying pan. It wouldn’t hold up well to 20+ hours of travel no matter how well I packed it.  So while I was visiting, we decided to whip up a fresh batch of Trini street food and served it to our Ghanian friends.  I was glad that I could bring them a little taste of home. 

Pholourie Balls Recipe - Trini style ©

Pholourie Balls Recipe - Trini style

yield: 24 Servings  prep time: 120 minute(s)
cook time: 10 minute(s)  total time: 130 minute(s)


3⁄4 cups
Dried Yellow Split Peas
5 cloves
Hot Pepper, fine chopped
1 teaspoon
Geera (ground cumin)
1⁄4 teaspoon
Tumeric (ground saffron)
1⁄2 teaspoon
Curry Powder
1⁄2 teaspoon
Garam Masala
1 teaspoon
3⁄4 teaspoons
1 teaspoon
Baking Powder
1 1⁄4 cup
Oil for frying


1. Soak dry split peas overnight in water. By morning the peas will double in size, and if they haven’t soak longer until the peas are softish.

2. Drain the water from the peas, then put peas, garlic and pepper, and enough water to cover the ingredients in a blender, and blend on high till smooth.

3. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Then add all of the dry spices and mix till they are incorporated. Add baking powder, yeast, and flour. Cover the batter and let it sit for 1-2 hours. 

Frying the batter

4. The balls need to be deep fried so the pan should have enough oil to cover the batter after it is dropped into the pan, and the oil should be very, very hot.

5.  Dropping the batter into the oil, I tried dropping the batter into the oil with two spoons, but the balls turned out flat, instead of being nice and round.

6.  I then placed the batter into a Ziploc bag and dropped it into the hot oil, one at a time. Turn the pholourie balls while they are frying so that they can evenly brown. 

7.  Continue this process until all your batter is used up. 

Serve hot with tamarind or mango chutney.  


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