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).

PURAN POLI

Makes one dozen.

Dough:

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.

Filllng:

Cook
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.

Add
the pods of 3 green cardamoms
and
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.

-b

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77 Comments

  1. musy says:

    Pretty pictorial! There is something magical about the aroma that emanates when one fries the polis :)

  2. enjay says:

    Oh my God, this is so beautiful..I Adore puran polis, but haven’t made them yet. You just made them that much more irresistible.

  3. shilpa says:

    Love these…long time I haven’t made these. Beautiful pictures Bee.

  4. sreelu says:

    hmm yummy, puffed so well, always used Maida for the base which is a difficult one to stuff and roll, atta might be a good option.Pics look great.

  5. Pelicano says:

    Oh that was a wonderful read, and view! Especially that last picture. I’ve wanted to try these for quite some time; your post makes it look so easy with the step-by-step- nice job.

  6. Namratha says:

    Lovely illustrations! :yes: The chana dal filling makes life so much easier, we make it using Toor Dal, which is extremely soft and hardly holds, can’t even thinking of rolling it. We pat it with the palm of our hand :hammer: This is a wonderful version though :)

  7. Pooja says:

    Wonderful Puran poli you made Bee. Lovely pics Bee. We make it using 3/4 portion of toor dal with 1/4 chanadal in it. Rest everything exactly the same way ;;) .
    I love even simple puran too much, and eat it as it is :yes: .
    Thanks for sharing it. :)

  8. Meera says:

    What an awesome job! Your post made me very nostalgic. Puranpoli (along with katachi amti made with drained chana daal liquid as you mentioned), makes Holi even more special.

  9. Cham says:

    After seeing this pictures, i really want to eat right away :cry: Lovely pictures step by step :yes:

  10. Lakshmi says:

    :horn: Awesome Polis J&B. :drool: :drool: wanna eat polis..now

  11. RedChillies says:

    Lovely step by step pictorial. I am also one of those with gigantic sweet tooth and I can finish all of these in one go ;)

  12. smita says:

    Stop the torture!! (sigh) Those puran polis are beyond fabulous. Nice. work.

  13. Manasi says:

    Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!! puran polis!!! Its been ages since I had some!! Love ‘em! My ma-in-law makes *wicked* PP’s! When she comes here, that is going to be my first request to her!!! :yes:

  14. Nags says:

    That is such a lovely step-by-step recipe :) Love the way its come up nice and thick. I am not a huge fan of bobbatlu that we get in Andhra stores cuz it reeks of too much ghee. The boli amma gets for us at home is much nicer. I will definitely try this one out! :)

  15. Excellent work!! Btw, the leftover dal cooking water is used to make kaTAchi AmTI, with goda masala. Naturally, this amti and puran poli are a classic maharashtrian combo.

  16. jayasree says:

    Fantastic step-by-step pics. Its very tempting that I plan to make it in the weekend.

  17. sra says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across a bobbattu with sugar! It’s always been jaggery that I’ve known! We make another sweet that uses the puran (poornam, it’s called) – it’s dipped in an idli/dosa type of batter and deep-fried. Then it’s punctured with a finger, filled with ghee and consumed – while I’m not fond of ghee, I love the main thing. :drool:

  18. oh wow!!! Obbattu looks just perfect!!

  19. Nikita says:

    :drool: Wow!! absolutely mouth watering. You have inspired me to try out puran poli this holi. I hope it would look as good as urs :)

  20. Vishakha says:

    So this has great memories for me. My grandmother-in-law was the family expert at making these. I had never made them in India because she used to whenever we wanted. When I moved to the US, she gave me a simple recipe to make them. I have since made them often and mailed them to younger similarly family deprived siblings for Diwali.

    You made me think of her again…..

    PS : A few tips
    1. Put the warm cooked dal through a potato ricer or sieve instead of the blender
    2. Mix it with finely chopped jaggery(look for yellower blocks they are softer and easier to chop)and sugar in the proportion of 4:3:1(dal:jaggery:sugar)
    3. Add nutmeg powder – helps with digestion of the chana dal which is heavy
    4. I find that I can get a really thin covering of dough if I pulse it in the food processor and get it to be really pliable after I knead it. Just do enough for a couple of polis at a time.

    OK Enough advice already – go eat :horn:

  21. Purnima says:

    Ubbati (Konkani)I used to hv these cravings and wd lead me to mangalore stores to buy these, then straight home to dollop each with a tbspn!!! of ghee, sugar, make a roll and eat tastefully! (My amma ditto-ref-para.2 -for love of fritters!)
    THanks for stepwise pics, lovely ones, LOL @ belan-attack(mine wont even wait till things r cooked,it heads straight to tondoba!) Loved the steam capture snaps, perfect color! I can swoop the entire stack, right away :drool: :drool: :drool: I shall try your way during Holi, tks for pooran measures!(Amma also gave up as her first attempt was on the humongous stone grinder,she was exhausted with the big lot she tried! :) )

  22. jnirmala says:

    Lovely! There is a renowned restaurant in Chennai (Woodlands) where they serve chapathi thin poils drizzled with a spoonful of ghee! I had tasted it some 25 years before but still could remember the taste. These were looking lovely!

  23. TCooker says:

    Aye poree these are just gor-jus.

  24. aa says:

    The last picture is drool inducing! :) :drool:
    The rest of the pictorial is lovely too…thanks for posting this. Your recipe seems to do away with the laborious, bicep building exercise of stirring the dense pooran (or ‘pooranam’ since i’m on bee’s blog not manisha’s :P ) to get to be thick enough to form stuffable balls – reduces the motivation required to make these, thank you

  25. Manisha says:

    We make our puran polis slightly differently – in that I mean method not ingredients since you were guesstimating an already changed recipe. The polis are almost translucent and shortening of any kind never meets the poli on the tava. And they must be folded the proper way: first about one third fold and then in half, perpendicular to the first fold. Just before serving, warm ghee is drizzled on the inside and you eat a poli that is soaked in ghee. Or you could dip it in milk. It was a sweet that I never cared for when it used to be made at home for Holi ever year. Now that I can’t get it, I have cravings. Apparently it tastes better when it is slightly stale. Although the only way my Mom could ever get me to eat it was when it was warm off the tava.

    And repeat after me: puran, puran, puran. :tongue:

  26. Manisha says:

    BTW, it appears that your server is still on Standard Time.
    will change …either way a bit too late for you to be in front of the computer, don’t you think :tongue: -j

  27. Happy Cook says:

    Wow Looks so delicious. I have never ever ate puranpoli.
    I have heard about these a lot.
    Did you use to pans to make them?
    Any left overs :drool: :drool:

  28. sunita says:

    I’ve never had a puran poli :( I want some ,now!!! :cry: :cry: :cry:

  29. raaga says:

    Punpolo in konkani… I love this… and have made them a long time ago.

  30. Asha says:

    Obbattu (with 2 T’s) is my favorite to eat with tuppa (ghee) and kai payasa. I was planning to make it for Shivaratri this year, but didn’t know Shivaratri came and went without me having a clue, felt very guilty last week. Shivaratri and Deepavali are the only 2 festivals I have “chosen” to celebrate here!
    Puran Poli looks fabulous, never seen it puff up like that before. Great entry Bee. I won’t be able to contribute to any events after March 20th, taking break! :)

  31. Kannada Gal says:

    Bee and J,
    Love your website. I am going to try your proportions. Did you know that in Karnataka, we call it HOLIGE more than Obbattu? Also, we make the stuffing two different ways: One is the channa dal stuffing, just like you did in this post and the other one, which is simply divine and irresistable, according to me, is a stuffing made with grated coconuts, jaggery and cardamon. I wish I could go back to Grandma’s kitchen rigth now.

    Keep up the good eats.

  32. Anjali says:

    Bee I smiled and smiled all the way even after I clicked read on. Yours have come out like the deshanth style with lots of puran and thats how P and me like it too. Kokanastha style has less puran and is drier.

    I started a new tradition of making puranpoli on Valentines day even though P is never around to eat them so I eat it for him becoz he loves them so much ;) and meaning to wag my finger at him for not being there. :tongue:

  33. coffee says:

    And it has to be wheat flour or atleast half-half for puran poli to taste good! My motto always. :)

    I can’t help noticing that many of us have blogged this sweet little thing and most of us have a pictoral for it! Strange na!?

  34. Trupti says:

    I love puran poli. lovely instructions with lovely photo

  35. Mona says:

    The memories of Puran Poli bring back those of my cousin’s grandmother, those were the best of the puran poli i ever had! Yummy! The pictures are awesome!

  36. Vaishali says:

    Your puran polis took me back to my childhood…my mom, who was Maharashtrian, made fabulous puran polis. Yours look simply gorgeous.

  37. Laavanya says:

    Beautiful pictorial – that half rolled poli is begging me to take a bite. I hate rolling out the maida one (the only time i tried making it) so have been wanting to try with atta instead. This looks perfect… Thanks!

  38. richa says:

    oh my! what a beauty, love it :D
    will take mine with 2 tsp ghee please :D

  39. sia says:

    :drool: :drool: :drool:
    u sadist people…. :tongue:

  40. Rachna says:

    wow, love the pictorial, the best one is the one with the whiff of smoke comin off the poli… i never liked puran polis … :huh:

  41. Mishmash! says:

    WOW! WOW! Lip smacking pics….is there a way to fedex some..? :P

  42. rashmi says:

    OMG! just mouth watering ….i have never made it in home….puran poli always bring old college memories …..lovely snaps ….

  43. Suganya says:

    This is an A-Class post. You finally managed to roll flat breads :)

  44. Rupa says:

    Wow..looks delicious..and step by step instructions and pics are awesome…I had stopped making puran polis as i always used to get the edge effect…now after seeing this post i think i should give it another try…
    Thanks for sharing

  45. Maninas says:

    you’ve wowed me completely with these beautiful polis!!!

  46. Mansi says:

    We make it with toor dal and sugar, and me and my brother used to fight and pull each other’s hair over my mom’s garama-garam puran polis topped with pure ghee!!

    aaah!! I miss it so much, I think I’m gonna need to make some more this week!!:) btw, that was a lovely pictoria:) I loved the “beat the photographer with belan” part:D hehehee:)

  47. Sapna says:

    You guys are cruel. Its not fair to post such photos on your blog. I cant help salivating. :drool:

  48. Pooja V says:

    I love these….I am just drooling but will have to wait till next week for holi I guess. I love the aroma while its on the griddle. we ( in goa n Maharashtra ) make it the same way except that we add lot of oil and ghee so that the outer poli is very thin after rolling…As in the stuffing ball is much bigger than the dough used to cover it.

  49. Pelicano says:

    I came back to look at these again…I really really want to know what one tastes like. :drool:

    make them. they are so easy. and add a pinch of nutmeg. i now remember – my mom’s polis had a faint nutmeg flavour. – b.



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