Monday, July 21, 2014

Puran Poli | Flatbread with Cardamom Infused Sweet Lentil Filling

The first time I heard of Puran Poli was as a kid visiting a friend's home in Bombay! It was coming up to Holi and we had just popped in after an afternoon of skating. The home was replete with the aroma of ghee and cardamom and there was much bustle in the kitchen. On the dining table were large plates piled high with what looked liked parathas. But these parathas were sweetly fragrant, incredibly soft, and oozing with butter fat!!

Her mum motioned for us to take a seat and plied us with these delicious sweetmeats. I was both curious and concerned  - curious to try them and concerned about not really liking them. I never had a sweet tooth. And even as a child I always approached sweets and desserts with a certain degree of apprehension. But I guess I had nothing to worry about on that occasion - one bite and I was hooked. Was it the ghee, was it the jaggery and cardamom, or was it the chana dal - I cannot tell. But what I can say is that I loved the Puran Poli. Even the mention of this delicious sweet takes me back to that day when I put that first tentative morsel of the Poli in my mouth, only to savor it every remaining bite:)

3 cups atta (Indian Chappati Flour)
1 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup water, warmed
Pinch salt
Ghee for pan frying

For Puran (Filling):
1 cup chana dal (Bengal Gram Dal), soaked overnight
1 cup gur (jaggery), grated
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Pinch nutmeg

  1. Drain the water from the soaked chana dal, wash under running water for a minute.
  2. Place in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan with 21/2 cups water. Cook until soft, but not mushy. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
  3. Strain the dal from all the liquid it was cooked in. Set the liquid aside to make Katachi Amti.
  4. Place the dal, jaggery, cardamom, and nutmeg in a grinder and pulse until you get a fine dryish paste. 
  5. Remove onto a plate and divide this puran (filling) into 10 equal portions. Cover with cling film set aside.
  6. Now prepare the dough. Sift the atta and salt together. Pour in the Warmed milk and water.
  7. Prepare a soft dough. Divide this dough into 10 equal parts, roll each into a ball, flatten between the palms of your hands. 
  8. Set on a plate and cover with a damp tea towel
  9. Set the griddle on the stove, warm until a drop of water sprinkled on it sizzles.
  10. Turn down the heat and begin preparing the polis.
  11. Take one portion of the dough, and with a rolling pin flatten it to about 3 inches diameter.
  12. Take one portion of the puran filling, place in the center, then pinch the ends of the dough and seal to make a ball. Flatten with fingers, then roll out into a nice round poli about 5 inches in diameter.
  13. Place this poli onto the heated griddle. Cook on both sides, then apply ghee onto both sides of the poli and remove onto a clean plate.
  14. Repeat for the remaining dough and puran.
Enjoy polis warm with Katachi Amti, sweet srikhand and an extra dollop of ghee!!

Good to Know
  • Jaggery for this recipe can be increased by a 1/4 cup if you fancy your polis really sweet.
  • Make sure the filling is neither too try nor too damp. If it turns out too dry, add a teaspoon of ghee to improve consistency. If too wet, stick it in a micro proof safe bowl and cook for a minute at a time until desired consistence is achieved. Make sure you stir the mix after each minute.
  • When rolling out the dough, the polis may sometimes burst. As long as the tear is not too great, just go ahead and fry the polis. They taste just as good anyway:)
Vegan Substitute: Replace the milk in the dough with an equal amount of water, and the ghee with canola oil.

Like this recipe. Tried it. Leave me a comment:) 

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