Puran Poli

March 10, 2008 | 77 Comments

…. flatbreads with a sweet lentil filling.

When I was little, I had an aversion to most sweets, especially milk-based ones. There were two desserts I adored, though. One was puran poli, the other was pradhaman. My mom – she of the gigantic sweet tooth – would prepare one of these in addition to the mandatory payasam/kheer (rice pudding with milk) for any special occasion.

Puran, in Marathi (the lingua franca of Bombay, where I grew up), is sweet filling and poli is flatbread. In southern India, it is known as Obbattu (Karnataka), Bobbatlu/Bhakshalu (Andhra Pradesh), and Boli (Tamil Nadu) and is a part of many festive menus.

Now, while she was a phenomenal cook, amma was happy to outsource the job if she could. She never ever baked a cake or steamed a dhokla. If the neighbourhood bakery or snack shop could do it more efficiently, she’d rather spend that hour or two doing something else. So was the case with puran poli. She would buy it from a guy down the street, who got a fresh batch daily.

It tasted wonderful, but amma decided that she’d prefer whole wheat flour (atta) to refined, and jaggery to sugar. So she started making her own. I’m glad she did, ‘cos they were the best puran polis I’ve ever eaten. Thicker than usual – like a stuffed paratha, with lots of ghee (clarified butter). :yes:

When I thought they couldn’t get any better, she kicked it up a notch by using date jaggery (khejur gur) which she got from a Bengali friend.

While I don’t have any of her recipes, I tried making puran polis this weekend, guesstimating the ingredients and proportions. We used regular (cane) jaggery, and they turned out just like hers.

The puran (stuffing) is usually made with chana dal – split husked Bengal gram. It tastes equally good with split, husked mung beans (mung dal).


Makes one dozen.


3 cups chapati flour/atta (finely ground whole wheat flour)
**if unavailable, use regular whole wheat flour mixed with all purpose flour
a tiny pinch of salt
1.25 cups warm milk

Knead to a soft, but not sticky dough. Let it rest covered for 30 minutes, then divide into 12 equal portions. Roll into balls, dusting with a bit of flour, if necessary. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and keep aside.


1 cup chana dal (split, husked Bengal gram)

with 1/3 cup of water in a pressure cooker on medium for 1 whistle, or on the stovetop until just done. The dal should be whole and not mushy. If cooking on the stovetop, use more water (about 1 cup). Drain the liquid and save it for a soup or some other dish.

Spread the cooked lentils on a kitchen towel, leave for a few minutes to cool and pat dry.

Pulse in a blender for a few seconds until ground to a coarse powder.

the pods of 3 green cardamoms
1.25 cups powdered jaggery (or sugar)

and grind the whole thing to a VERY SMOOTH slightly sticky powder. If it is too wet and sticky, cook it down for a few minutes until it becomes the consistency of a soft cake. If you stick a spoon in it, the spoon should stand upright. If it is too dry, you will have dry polis. Make sure the mixture forms a ball, but is a tad moist.

Edited to add: My mom’s polis had nutmeg too. Now, I recall the faint nutmeg flavour. Add a pinch.

Mix the puran with your hand and roll into 12 balls.

Roll out each ball of dough to a circle about 3 to 3.5 inches in diameter.

Brush 1/2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) and place a ball of stuffing in the middle.

Gently pull the edges of the dough towards the top of the stuffing.

Enclose it completely and pinch the edges of the dough together.

Flatten the stuffed dough gently, dust with flour, and follow the same procedure until all the stuffing and dough is used up.

Heat a griddle on medium. We like cast iron, and heat more than one at a time. Roll out the dough gently to a disc about 10 inches in diameter, taking care not to break it. If it does tear, stick a small piece of dough on the tear to seal it. .

Place the disc of dough on the griddle and heat on medium until brown spots appear on one side. Then turn over and let brown spots appear on the other side.

Brush 1/2 tsp ghee on the top and edges of the poli. Ignore J as he prods you with his camera and says, “Wait, don’t flip it now. If it burns, you can hide it at the bottom of the stack.” :huh: Flip it over.

Brush 1/2 tsp ghee on the other side. Beat off cameraman with a rolling pin.

When it screams, “EAT ME !!!”, take it off the pan.

Puran Poli is an important part of the festival menu in India for religious events like Makar Sankranti, and celebrations like Holi, Pongal and Ugadi.

It goes to dear Susan at Wild Yeast, who is hosting the current BreadBakingDay, where the theme is Celebration Breads.

And to Mythreyee at Paajaka for Sweet Series: Sweet Rotis.


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  1. Siri says:

    Oh my gosh.. what was that?… :hmm: Bee, U.. yes U are the cruelest of all.. how torturous was this post.. I am like drrroollling and licking the screen all over… :drool: …I hate u … :fume: …. and love u love: at the same time.. hehehe..

    Siri :yak:

  2. Madhu says:

    I never made these with whole wheat flour. Looks delicious.

  3. Meeta says:

    This looks like a lot of work but surely sounds scrumptious. I wish you could just make me a couple and send them over!

  4. Mamatha says:


  5. Susan says:

    I have a pretty good-sized sweet tooth myself and I would love to try making these. I have seen jaggery here but have never known what to do with it.

    Thank you for participating in BBD!

  6. miri says:

    Delicious looking stack and a great pictorial.
    The puran polis I ate in Bombay, the maharashtrian ones i.e , were always dry and made without any ghee while on the tava. They were served warm with a teaspoon of ghee and I still love those over the fried ones. Since we are on a roll here with stories :tongue: let me tell my own: My first New Year as a new bride in Chennai, I made puran polis instead of the traditional sweet….imagine MIL’s horror – not only no traditional sweet, but the “poli” was unlike any “boli” she had seen. :huh:

  7. Priya says:

    We would have them hot of the pan with some sugar and ghee drizzled on top and warm milk poured all over :drool: For festivals my mom would make them, but for the rest of the year it would be from this mithai bandar near our house which stocked fresh ones every day. The pictorial is lovely, J you did a pretty good job of capturing the beauties :yes:

  8. My mom refuses to use sugar for poli ( or bobbatlu as we cal lit). I think i am going to give your recipe a try because its looks “doable”. I have seen only my mom do these and I feel like its a tedious process. Also she never cooked chana. I like your cooked chana method.

  9. arundati says:

    oh gosh!! its a unanimous verdict that
    a) you guys are horrible torturers
    b) the polis look and am sure taste fabulous!!

    never made them…but after this i want to try!!

  10. rina says:

    Poli is all time fav for south Indians…die for it… thanks for that visio…Bookmarked.

  11. Anita says:

    We made this over the weekend and it turned out wonderful. I added dried ginger as I was out of nutmeg.
    We made the cupcakes too but didn’t get to taste any (except the batter) as these were much loved by our friends’ kids, so the leftover was packed to go.

  12. bhavani says:

    lovely looking polis. :) i add turmeric powder to the dough. or add saffron soaked in a little warm milk: that adds fragrance too.

  13. [...] and Jai from Jugalbandi made Puran Poli. This flatbread with a sweet lentil filling is is an important part of the festival menu in India [...]

  14. SaraLynn says:

    :) These sound so good!

  15. Shellyfish says:

    This looks so good & I love your photos. Isn’t BBD a great excuse to make delicious things? :)

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Mmmmm, these look delicious. We often have savoury chana dahl with rice but never known about adding jaggery to the dahl to make it into a sweet. We can easily get cane jaggery in cakes but I don’t know if date jaggery is available. I love the idea of date jaggery though; we’ll have to look for it so we can try making Puran Poli!

    How much lump jaggery would you substitute for 1.25 c of powdered jaggery? (I don’t think I’ve ever seen powdered jaggery!)

    you only get lump jaggery. microwave it for 20-30 seconds, break it into chunks, and powder it. date jaggery is very very hard to find, even in india use cane jaggery.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    We don’t have a microwave… what does the jaggery look like after 20-30 seconds in the microwave? Is it still in lump form or has it liquidized?

    it just gets a tad soft.

  18. [...] But one of the times, I have managed to salvage the situation which itself is cause to celebrate ( well, more so , since its the 50th post on this blog…I didn’t realise it, just that WordPress has a better design now which announces the number of posts )…Presenting Puran Poli, irresistably inspired by Bee’s Beautiful Puran Polis . [...]

  19. Mythreyee says:

    Looks yummy and well illustrated. Can you please send this to Sweetseries event in my blog? Thanks.

  20. nags says:

    can we use the whitish salted jaggery? i can’t find the brown ones that get in kerala, here :( i know that tastes better. will the salted one be too salty?

    we haven’t used the specific jaggery that you mention. however, lots of desserts call for a pinch of salt. this is to pull out the sweetness a bit more. funny how that works. we too add a bit of salt to many desserts. so i think it should work out fine. -j

  21. anant says:

    love pooran poli

  22. [...] Bee has an excellent step by step guide on how to make these cuties. When Mythreyee and I were chatting, we spoke about love for sweets and we moved on to poli. I just could not resist myself and made them the very same day. I sent her a picture of the poli on gtalk and she said I have send this as an entry to her sweet series . So Mythreyee here you go, Polis just for you! [...]

  23. Supriya says:

    Hi Bee & Jai, I’ve gotta tell u, I never liked puran poli until I tried your version. It is always the sweet dish of choice for all family gatherings, but I somehow never took to the paper thin, dry version of it made with maida. I made it your way again for this Dassera. Awesome.

    glad you liked it, supriya. we don’t like the dry thin version either. it sticks to the roof of your mouth.

  24. vish says:

    i make that puran but it is still liquid after adding sugar…how to make it solid…so that i can make puran poli nicely..please reply me ASAP

  25. [...] Bee has an excellent step by step guide on how to make these cuties. When Mythreyee and I were chatting, we spoke about love for sweets and we moved on to poli. I just could not resist myself and made them the very same day. I sent her a picture of the poli on gtalk and she said I have send this as an entry to her sweet series. So Mythreyee here you go, Polis just for you! [...]

  26. hemamalini says:

    hey! i tried it for bhogi pongal 2 day – 13.1.2010. Guess what, it was a big success in my house.

    Thnx a million,

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