Indian flatbread stuffed with a mix of Bengal gram (chana dal) and jaggery (gur).
Traditional, festive Maharashtrian delicacy!
Puran is the mix of chana dal and jaggery flavoured with fragrant sweet spices. Poli is Marathi for flatbread.
From asking the house-help to make Puran Poli, to bartering Punjabi food for Puran Poli and Kothimbir Vadi with my Maharashtrian colleagues… making it all by myself was super motivating and rewarding at the same time.
Puran Poli, or this recipe, goes by the names Bobbatlu, Holige, Obbattu in the Southern parts of India. Though the base for the stuffing may then vary; from moong dal to peanuts to coconut and so on. In Gujarat, puran poli or vedmi is made using tuvar dal instead of chana dal.
In Maharashtra, I have usually seen Puran Poli being prepared on festive days; more so during the Ganesh festival, on Gudi Padwa, Holi…
Variations to this recipe of Puran Poli:
You could use sugar (empty calories) instead of jaggery (the nutritionally better option, with a similar number of calories), though it won’t taste the same and I sure don’t recommend it.
Make the Poli dough using only maida (refined flour) or only whole wheat flour (atta) or a mix of both, as I did. You could even use a mix of rice flour and maida or rice flour and atta.
Note: please don’t skimp on the ghee to make this a low-fat recipe. Ghee is an integral part of puran poli and helps with easy / better digestion of chana dal. Besides, ghee is made of healthy fats and is essential for a balanced meal, in moderation ofcourse! And then, puran poli is a festive recipe… Indulge! Indulge!
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Makes: 10 medium puran poli
Time taken: 30-40 minutes hands-on
Ingredients to make Puran Poli
For the puran (puran poli stuffing)
1 cup chana dal / Bengal gram
3 cups water
1 cup grated gur / jaggery
1 tsp saunf / fennel seeds
1 tsp sonth powder / dry ginger powder
½ tsp elaichi powder / green cardamom powder
A pinch of nutmeg powder
A pinch of salt
For the poli dough
1 cup atta / whole wheat flour
1 cup maida / refined flour
4 tbsp ghee
½ tsp salt
Ghee for pan frying puran poli
Method of making Puran Poli
For the Puran
Soak the chana dal for 3-4 hours. Pressure cook the chana dal for 3 or 4 whistles and let the steam settle naturally. If you are short of time and have not soaked the chana dal, pressure cook for 6 to 7 whistles.
Once the steam settles, drain the chana dal – retain the water which can be used to make Katachi Amti to serve with Puran Poli.
Mash the boiled chana dal and then press it through a sieve to get a fine texture. The harder bits left behind on the sieve, if any, can be added to the Katachi Amti.
Heat a thick bottom pan and add the mashed chana dal along with grated jaggery (gur). Cook the mix for a couple of minutes till the chana dal and jaggery are well mixed. Add saunf, whole or powdered (I prefer whole seeds), and cook the mix till almost dry. Now add the sonth, cardamom and nutmeg powders alongwith a pinch of salt to bring the flavours together. Cook the puran till it is dry but will still come together to form a ball.
Take the puran off the heat and let it cool.
For the poli dough
Mix the whole wheat flour and maida well. Add ghee and rub the mix it in to the flour with your fingers. Add salt and mix again. Now add water as required to make dough – the firmness of the dough will be similar to chapatti dough.
Rest the poli dough for 15-20 minutes.
Finally, for Puran Poli
Using a tablespoon to divide the Puran in equal quantities, make 11 walnut size balls of the Puran mix. Keep 1 aside for adding to the Katachi Amti.
Now make 10 balls of the Poli dough, slightly bigger than the Puran balls.
Roll out the Poli dough, only enough to fit the Puran ball, while keeping it thinner around the edges – this is because the edges will come together and thicker edges will not give you thin and even Puran Poli.
Place the Puran in the middle of the rolled dough and bring the edges together to seal it – at this point it will look like a modak. Flatten and roll the Puran Poli with a light hand. Applying too much pressure while rolling will tear the poli at places or result in uneven thickness.
Place the rolled puran poli on a hot tawa. Cook it on one side first, then flip. Pour and spread a little ghee over the cooked side and flip again. By now the second side should be cooked too. Pour and spread ghee, as required, on the second side as well and flip once to cook the ghee. Take the Puran Poli off the tawa and place it in a foil pack / casserole to keep it soft.
Serve Puran Poli warm or at room temperature with ghee (yes, more ghee! it helps with easy digestion of the chana dal) and Katachi Amti.
While Puran Poli is traditionally served with Katachi Amti, yoghurt or milk, it goes well with chilled unsweetened coconut milk too! A must try.
Take a look at the other mains recipes and Indian meal ideas.
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