Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Ton Of Protein # 8 - Kataachi Aamti


Kataachi Aamti (Do you see the reflection of my camera in it? :)

Although I have been cooking a lot everyday since my parents-in-law are here, that is also the reason why I find little time to blog. However, I have been religiously taking photographs of all new/different dishes. Which means that I will blog about all them sooner or later. Today's * lucky * dish is Kataachi Aamti.

In my post on Puranpoli, I mentioned that it is often served with this spicy Dal prepared with water (kat) drained from the cooked Chana Dal. To thicken the Aamti, some of the stuffing (Puran) is used.
To be honest, it is not really a practical idea to make Puranpoli every time you want to make Kataachi Aamti. Moreover, who says that it cannot be served with rice or phulkas? So there.

What I am giving here is the way to make it with Chana Dal cooked only for this purpose. A few things about this Aamti, before I start off.
Kataachi Aamti is supposed to be rather watery. It is actually *drunk* from the bowls in which it is served. :) Also, this preparation is sweet, sour, rather spicy and very very aromatic. When you make it, you will know at once that it is a special festive preparation. But how will you make it, unless I give you the recipe? (That was my attempt at humour, by the way. Does anybody know of laughtrack for blogs? I so wish I could use it here.) Anyway, here's the recipe.

Recipe for Kataachi Aamti

Serves 6.


½ cup Chana Dal
2 tsp Goda Masala
1 tsp tamarind concentrate dissolved in ¼ cup of water
2 ½ tbsp jaggery or muscovado sugar (I used m. sugar.)
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
upto four cups of warm water

1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
a pinch Methi/fenugreek seeds (approx. 10 seeds)
heaped ¼ tsp asafoetida powder

To be ground together:
3-4 tbsp grated dried coconut (Kopra)
2 peeled cardamom pods
2 cloves
½ tsp cumin seeds
a pinch grated nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon powder (Or a 1" piece of cinnamon)

curry leaves or chopped coriander leaves for more flavour as well as garnishing (optional)
a dash of lime juice to enhance the flavour as well as to stop the spices from * burning the throat * :)


Clockwise from top:
cooked Chana Dal, cinnamon, cumin seeds, grated dried coconut, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg


1. Pressure-cook the Chana Dal with 1 cup of water. Once cooked, mash it well with a ladle or with a hand-held blender.
2. Grind the spices together into a homogenous coarse powder. If you find it difficult to dry-grind them in your mixie, grind them to a paste using the tamarind water.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add the fenugreed seeds. Once they start changing colour, add the asafoetida powder and then the cooked Chana Dal.
4. Add warm water. As I have mentioned before, this Aamti is meant to be thin. So, you could add upto four cups of water. However, I would suggest that you add one cup at a time and check the consistency. If you feel like, add another cup or half and so on.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil and add all other ingredients barring the coriander or curry leaves and the lime juice.
6. Boil the Aamti on high heat for about five minutes.
7. If using coriander or curry leaves, add them just before turning the heat off.
8. Once off the heat, cover the pan for the flavours to blend well.
9. Add a dash of lime juice just before serving. Alternatively, you could serve wedges of lime with the rest of the meal.

Serve Kataachi Aamti warm with rice or phulkas. If entertaining a Maharashtrian guest, try serving this with Puranpoli, and see him/her turning into your slave for life. :) :)

1. Every Maharashtrian household has its own, slightly-different-from-others' recipe for K. Aamti. This is my recipe, and the Aamti that I make tastes different even from what my mother makes. So, if your Aamti made using this recipe does not turn out like the one that you've eaten before, I'd suggest, that you use this recipe as the base and keep experimenting (mainly with the quantity of the spices) until you think that you have achieved * that * taste.
2. If you don't have Goda Masala with you, you could try increasing the quantity of the spices ground together.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bitter Gourd & Green Mango Curry


One green mango & three bitter gourds

I learnt this curry only last week from my mother-in-law, who has come with my father-in-law to visit us here in Germany. I knew that this time again I'd learn some more recipes from her. It has always been like that. Just when I start thinking that I know all of Konkani cuisine, she comes up with a few dishes that I have never even heard of.

But hey, let me tell you, I too have served her at least a dozen new dishes this time. All thanks to you fellow bloggers. :) Which means that both of us - my MIL and me - have our own little treasure chests now, a drawer of which we open for each other, every time we meet. Isn't it exciting?

Back to the curry now. Bitter gourd and green (unripe) mango is an unusual combination for me. To be honest, I was a little sceptical when I started off. But believe me, if you like bitter gourds and the aroma of garlic, there is nothing that can stop you from liking this curry. :) And it is very very easy to make. You'll know once you see the recipe.

Recipe for Bitter gourd & Green Mango Curry

Serves 3-4.


3 bitter gourds (Karela)
1 green/unripe mango
½ tsp chilli powder or to taste
3 tbsp jaggery or to taste
salt to taste

1 tsp oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled (Less, if the garlic cloves are fat)


1. Cut the bitter gourds vertically in half. Take out hard seeds, if any, and discard. Slice the bitter gourds, and put the slices onto a kitchen paper as shown in the picture below.


Karela slices about to be wrapped in kitchen paper

2. Sprinkle salt over the bitter gourd slices, and wrap them tightly in the kitchen paper. This makes the bitter gourds * more tolerably bitter *. (I hope you know what I mean. :))
3. Once the bitter gourd slices are dryish (or the kitchen paper is too wet to take any more of their juice), chop the green mango without removing the peel in bite-sized pieces. Do not take the seed, though.
4. Now heat ½ cup water in a pan, and add the bitter gourd slices to it. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Once they are softer, add the mango pieces and cook further. Add some more water (about ¼ cup), if necessary.
5. Once the mango pieces are cooked too, add chilli powder and jaggery. Taste the curry, and add salt, if required. (Please keep in mind that we added salt to bitter gourd slices at Step 2.) Also, please check whether you'd like to add more jaggery.
6. Let the curry simmer gently. At the same time, heat a ladle for Tadka. Add oil. Crush the peeled garlic cloves (but please do not make fine pieces or paste). Once the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic, and let it brown a little. (Your kitchen will be filled with wonderful garlic aroma by now. :))
7. Add the Tadka to the curry and cover the pan immediately. Turn the heat off, and let the flavours blend.

Serve this deliciously bitter-sweet-sour-garlicky curry with phulkas or with rice & dal.


'Karaate Ambuli Randhai' (What my MIL calls it)

For a change, you could also add broken red chilli pieces to the Tadka. You could omit the chilli powder then.

I hope Anthony will accept this 50th post of mine to his Curry Mela. Off to the Bachelor Cooking Blog then. Tschüs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chutney with Red bell pepper & Ridge gourd peels


When Indira blogged about her recipe for chutney with red bell peppers, I knew that I had to make it. It was again one of those recipes where one look at it tells you that you are gonna like it. (And at Indira's blog, you get this feeling after reading every post. :)) However, once I made sure that I had all the ingredients, and started making this chutney, some other ingredients expressed the willingness to be a part of it. :) In other words: I had some ridge gourd peels lying around on the kitchen top at that time. ;-)
What came out was a delicious chutney. (It got over in a couple of hours!) Perhaps it does not taste too different from the original. (Or maybe the original one tastes better!) I am yet to try out the original recipe by Indira. However, what I am happy & excited about is that I used ridge gourd peels, which are thrown away otherwise.

Having said that, I must make it clear that using peels of vegetables in chutneys is not really 'my' idea. It is rather common in the Maharastrian cuisine. (And maybe other cuisines too? Please let me know.)
I like it for two reasons.
A) You benefit from the nutrients, which are in or right under the peel.
B) You generate less waste!!
What you emerge as, after eating this, is a healthy plus environment-friendly person. :)

Before I get tempted into more exaggeration and word-play, here is the recipe. :)

Recipe for Red bell pepper chutney with ridge gourd peels


1 large red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 medium red/yellow onion, cut into chunks
peels of 1 ridge gourd
3-4 dried red chillis, broken into 2-3 pieces each
1 tsp oil
¼ cup roasted, peeled & crushed peanuts (I used store-bought roasted peanuts.)
1 tsp readymade tamarind concentrate, dissolved in some water
½ tbsp jaggery or to taste
salt to taste

1 tsp cumin seeds


Clockwise from left: chopped yellow onion, chopped red bell pepper, ridge gourd peels


1. Heat the oil in a pan/skillet. Sauté the first four ingredients in it until light brown. Let cool.
2. Mix all ingredients apart from the cumin seeds in a mixie/food processor and grind till it reaches a smooth paste-like consistency. Add water as you go, if necessary. Take it out into a serving bowl.
3. Heat the same pan that you used for roasting the veggies. Roast the cumin seeds in it until darker in colour and aromatic.
4. Sprinkle these roasted cumins seeds over the chutney. (That's garnishing and seasoning in one! :))
5. Mix the chutney well when serving.

This one is a great accompaniment to any kind of dosas or a side-dish with any kinda meals. What Indira paired it with are these yummy Besan dosas. (Next on my must-try list.) If you want it to be a totally 'green' breakfast (environmentally, that is), serve the chutney with these pancakes by Ashwini, which can be made using the white part of watermelons. Yes, the part which is usually thrown away. (Bye bye, Waste-bin? :))

While I leave you wondering whether waste-bins are really necessary, let me rush my post to Cate for her ARF/5-a-day event and to Nandita for her next edition of Weekend Breakfast Blogging. Bye.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Too Darned Hot: Mirchicha Chatka

When I saw chillis as the theme for Barbara's event 'The Spice is Right', this image of the non-culinary use of green chillis kept coming back to my mind. For those not in the know: This 'garland'-like thing in the photograph on the left is hung on cars or at the main door of houses/offices in India. It is mainly to ward off the evil and/or to protect the object from jealous eyes. :) I don't know whether it involves *light* black magic or whether there is any scientific explanation behind it. (Although there are rules for making it. Like it can't have just any number of chillis. It should be an odd number like 5,7,9...) I don't really mean to endorse this practise here. It is just that you see it so often at so many places in India that the image gets imprinted on your mind. I am sure, many (or almost all) of my Indian fellow-bloggers and readers will agree with me.

Well, anyway, what I made for this event is a Maharashtrian 'Tondilavane' (chutney-like dish) called 'Mirchicha Chatka'. It is my mother's recipe, and she is 'too darned good' at making it. :)
Now, 'mirchi' is chilli and 'chatka' means a 'burn' in Marathi. That should already give you an idea about this preparation. :) Just in case I am not clear enough, please please please make sure that you don't serve yourself or others more than a teaspoon-full at a time. And please let everybody at the table know that the main ingredient in this one is green chillis...instead of them knowing it the hard way after the first morsel. :) It is still a good idea to keep some water/sweet drink or sugar ready at the table. :) :)

Recipe for Mirchicha Chatka

Makes about ½ cup.


9-10 green chillis
5-6 tbsp yogurt
½ tsp salt (or to taste)

1 tsp oil
¼ mustard seeds
¼ cumin seeds


1. Destem and wash the green chillis. Roast (almost burn) them on open gas flame. (Traditionally, they were roasted on hot ambers.) If you don't have gas burners (like yours truly :-( ), bake them for about ten minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180°C. The chillis should turn brown black like in the following picture.


Roasted green chillis & yogurt

2. Once cool, mix the roasted green chillis and salt in the chutney attachment/coffee grinder of your food processor and give it just one whirl. We want the chillis shredded in faily big pieces and not churned into a paste.
3. Mix the green chillis and salt with yogurt in a serving bowl.
4. Make Tadka by heating the oil in a pan and letting the mustard and cumin seeds splutter in it. Turn the heat off before the last few seeds pop, because we don't want to add it immediately to the yogurt for it will turn bitter.
5. Once slightly cooler, add the Tadka to the chilli-yogurt mixture. Stir.

Serve 'Mirchicha Chatka' at room temperature and at your own risk. :)


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Crowded vegetables - Gajbaje


Gajbaje served on a bed of rice

This dish makes a regular appearance in my in-laws' family on the day before Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a tradition to prepare it as a part of the lavish spread for lunch that day. And the lunch consists of some twenty odd items. All delicious no end rather but time-consuming. However, when all women in the family sit together and work while chatting, all that work does not seem as tedious as it would otherwise.

I made this dish the other day for no special occasion as such. Perhaps the only reason being that summer means a lot of fresh vegetables in the markets/superstores here. Especially when I saw fresh corn-cobs (well, they are actually being sold to be grilled), I knew that I had to make Gajbaje. It's not necessary to use corn-cobs in this dish. For that matter, any and every vegetable from Arvi to Zucchini can be used in it. My mother-in-law often reminds me, when we speak about this dish, that she has made it once with 27 vegetables. (By the way, my MIL has a tendency to add or to subtract as per convenience. Like this dish was made with 14 vegetables when I heard first about it about five years back. :)) However, ever since I have eaten Gajbaje with corn-cobs at our friend-cum-relative, S. Akka's place, I always make it a point to use them in it. What I used apart from corn on the cob is this.


Clockwise from left: corn on the cob, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, butternut squash, drumsticks, sweet potato

Recipe for Gajbaje

Serves 4-5.


5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice

I used:
1 corn cob (I did not count it in the 5 cups.)
1 small sweet potato
¼th of the butternut squash in the picture
1 drumstick
¼th of the bottle gourd in the picture
1 ridge gourd

salt to taste

For the paste:
1 cup grated coconut
1 heaped tbsp tamarind soaked in water (or 1 tsp tamarind concentrate dissolved in some water)
5-6 red chillis, roasted in ½ tsp oil

For the Tadka:
2 tsp oil
½ heaped tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves


Clockwise from bottom left: tamarind, roasted red chillis, coconut, paste made with these ingredients


1. Wash, peel (where necessary) and cut the vegetables that you are using in bite-sized pieces. Boil just enough water and cook the pieces in it until tender. Please make sure that you add the harder vegetables first and the quick-cooking ones towards the end. I put the vegetables that I used in the same order as they are listed above.
2. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the paste. For this, if using tamarind soaked in water, squeeze out the water from the tamarind, making sure that there are no traces of tamarind shell or seed in the water.
3. Grind the grated coconut with roasted red chillis and tamarind water to a smooth paste like in one of the earlier pictures. Add some more water, if necessary.


Cooked vegetables

4. If the vegetables are cooked by now, add salt and stir. Add the paste, stir and bring the curry to a boil.
5. Boil it on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off.
6. Heat oil in a ladle for Tadka. Add mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add curry leaves. Once all mustard seeds have spluttered, add the Tadka to the vegetables.
7. Cover the pan and let the flavours blend well for some time.

Serve warm with rice and dal or with chapatis.

Loaded with so many vegetables, this post needs to be sent to Cate for her event, ARF/5-a-day Tuesday.

And hey, check out this link for a similar yet different curry.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Tikhat-Mithaacha Sanja (Maharashtrian version of Upma)


Tikhat-Mithaacha Sanja served with Sev

If you go to Pune, and are looking for a place where you could get authentic Maharashtrian breakfast/tiffin items or snacks, make sure you go to 'Janaseva Dugdha Mandir' on Laxmi Road. As the name suggests, they do sell dairy products in a corner of the eatery, which serves as the shop. However, where you want to go is the modest little restaurant (if that is what I want to call it) inside. It is one of those places, where time has stood still. You could be in the year 2006, but that place still has the atmosphere of the seventies. Wooden benches (nope, no chairs) with white turned yellowish laminate covering, an old clock on the wall sharing the space with a blackboard on which the regular items available are written with white paint. (No menu cards here!) The prices are written with white chalk. Well, they can't be painted, because they can change! By the way, the prices too are as down-to-earth as it gets, the most 'expensive' dish costing Rs. 15. :)

There are a few more signs of it being a pucca old-world, 'Puneri' joint. Like the waitors do not hesitate to tell you, if a dish is over. And they don't feel guilty about it; they keep a perfectly straight face. But then hey, they don't accept any tip either. Moreover, there is no tea or coffee available. If you are thirsty, you can order 'Masala Milk' or 'Kokum Sherbet'.
And to satiate the hunger, there are those mouth-watering traditional Maharashtrian breakfast/tiffin dishes like Batata Wada, Sabudana Khichadi or Tikhat-Mithaacha Sanja. The last dish in the list is what I made for breakfast today.

Tikhat-Mithaacha Sanja is the Maharashtrian version of Upma. Sanja, the word on its own, means a sweet preparation made with Rava/semolina/cream of wheat and jaggery. However, when paired with the words Tikhat (meaning hot/with chillis) and Meeth (meaning salt), it means the savoury version. Now, is this version of Upma radically different from the other ones in this category? Well, here's the recipe for it. You could find it out yourselves. :)

Recipe for Tikhat-Mithaacha Sanja

Serves 4.


1 ¼ cups coarse semolina (known as Sanja/Kesari Rava in Maharashtra)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 small green chillis, vertically cut into two each
2 ½ cups water
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ cup buttermilk (or yogurt & water mixed to make ¼ cup)
1 tbsp Moong dal, washed (optional)
2-3 tbsp grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
7-8 curry leaves
1 - 1 ½ tsp sugar
1 - 1 ½ tsp lime juice
salt to taste

1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp ghee (optional)
Sev for garnishing

Before you start:

Roast the semolina without ghee/oil until deep yellow in colour. Spread the roasted semolina on a large plate/tray and let it cool. If roasted and stored like this, semolina stays well for months together. Especially in a hot & humid climate like that of India, roasting stops the semolina from catching worms. Also, when roasted semolina is used, lumps do not form in the Upma/ Sanja.


1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let splutter. Then add chopped onion and green chilli halves. Cover and cook.
2. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add water, turmeric, buttermilk and Moong dal. Add salt, grated coconut, chopped coriander and curry leaves too.
3. Once the water comes to a boil, add the roasted semolina and sugar. Stir well, cover and cook. In case you see the semolina sticking to the bottom of the pan, leave some water onto the internal sides of the pan.
4. T-M cha Sanja is cooked when all the water is absorbed, and the semolina grains look slightly swollen. Turn the heat off; add the lime juice and ghee, if using. Stir the Sanja well.

Serve it steaming hot, garnished with Sev.

In the meanwhile, I will send this post to Nandita as my entry for her Weekend Breakfast Blogging.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Black Grape Smoothie

It's been really hot for the last few days here in Düsseldorf; the maximum temperatures ranging between 34° & 36° Celsius. Back home in Pune, where the day temperatures would always be between 25° & 40° Celsius irrespective of the season, it was not so shocking to have a harsh summer. However, when you've had 3.5° C during the day for months together, then you look at 35 degrees with a different set of eyes. (Or shall I say 'with a different pair of glasses', since my photochromatic specs are again in use now? Hehehehehehehe....... And yes, I am 'chashmish'. :))

Well, coming back to the heat, what I made to beat it, was yet another Lassi. With black grapes this time. The original recipe is by Tarla Dalal. I have been making this Lassi/smoothie for a few years now. It's an absolute favourite with us. The most attractive part of it being the unusual colour. After all, how often do you come across food that is an appetising shade of lavender?!

Since summer is also the time to enjoy barbeque parties, and since Meeta is hosting one at her blog, I'd like to take my smoothie along to her party. A cool treat to wash down all the goodies hot off the coals. Here I come, Meeta. :)

Recipe for Black Grape Smoothie

Makes 4 small glasses.


2 cups seedless black grapes
1 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
4 tbsp sugar (or to taste)

ice-cubes or crushed ice (optional)


1. Blend all ingredients apart from the ice in a liquidiser.
2. Add the ice, if using and serve.

A hassle-free yet tasty and visually appealing drink is ready in seconds. In case you don't fancy biting into stray pieces of grape skin, take only the grapes first, give them a whirl in the liquidiser and strain that pulp before going on to step 1.

Btw, do you know the trick to make easy grape sorbet? Just place some black grapes in a freezer-proof container and freeze them until hard. As a child, I have spent many a summer afternoon biting into those icy grapes while watching some time-pass Hindi movie. In case you try it out and like it, please do let me know. In case you don't like eating those frozen grapes, just throw them into a blender, and make this smoothie. Howzzat? ;-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blog Patrol # 3 - A Ton Of Protein

It's been long since 'Blog Patrol' came up with a report. However, it deserves to be mentioned that the said party (now, who's that?) has been working on that report. And with a certain theme in mind. What's the theme, you ask? Well, I was coming to that anyway. :)
The theme is 'marriage'. A Marriage (made in heaven?) of two features that make an appearance on this blog. I am sure the title of the post explains the rest.
Fine then, let's see what yummy dishes with protein our fellow bloggers have offered to us so far. Listed in alphabetical order, here they are.

1. Aruchavitta vengaya Sambar by Shammi of Food, in the main... : I had never made Sambar with freshly ground Masala until then. I had heard about it, but that's it. I am happy that I chose this recipe for my first attempt. The Sambar turned out great. I don't know how it is supposed to taste, but I felt that it tasted authentic. (Is that statement contradictory?) And biting into those cooked yet juicy baby onions (yeah, we get them in German shops here) was very very enjoyable.
In case you don't have your own 'family recipe' for this kind of Sambar, just go for this one. You won't regret. :)

2. Bell pepper sambar by Shammi again: What I have got to say about this dish, is something that Shammi has written in her post already. MMMmmmmmmmmmm...... :) :) :)

3. Lasooni Dal Palak by Nandita of Saffron Trail: If you offered this one to your guests, they'd think that you ordered it from a take-away. It's that good. For me, home food is good when it tastes like home food. And typical restaurant food or street food is great when it does NOT taste like home food. I hope you know what I mean.
Well anyway, just try this one out, and you'll know what I am trying to say. :)

4. Mango Dal by Indira of Mahanandi: Do you like unripe mangoes? Do you like the heady aroma of Urad dal in the tadka? Do you like your Dal to be sour and spicy? Do you like it when a dish offers surprises in every morsel?
If your answer is 'yes' to three of these four questions, then just go ahead and make this Dal. Period.
(I am so good at sounding serious about my work, aren't I? :))

5. Mattar Paneer Masala by VKN of My Dhaba: The first thoughts that come to our mind when we see the word 'Paneer' in a recipe are 'fat', 'calories', 'weight gain', 'no no no...'. But let's not forget that Paneer has a lot of protein too. Something that especially vegetarians often do not have enough of in their diet. And as far as Paneer is concerned, it can be made with low-fat milk too.
Now coming to the dish, it is another one with that 'hotel type' taste. Great to put on the table, especially when you are entertaining guests. I assure you, that your guests won't stop singing praises of your cooking skills. :) Thanks, VKN, for this wonderful recipe.

That's it for now, People. See you in a day or two. Ciao!
(No, the last word has nothing to do with the Italians winning the semi-finals yesterday. My loyalties are still with the Germans.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Puranpolis served with pickle and milk

Puranpoli is to Maharashtrians what cheese is to the French. Or locally brewed beer to the Germans. Or Chicken Tikka to the Brits. ;-) Basically, close to the heart. Even the tolerantest of Maharashtrians could resort to violence, if you told them that Puranpoli is a drab little dessert.

I know I am exaggerating. There is a lot many dishes that we are proud of. And not all of them, including Puranpoli, are unique to Maharashtra. It's just one of those things, which we seek pride in. And for anybody to be called a 'Sugaran' (meaning a good cook in Marathi, with its origins in the Sanskrit word 'Sugrihini'), it is one of the essential dishes that she* should be able to prepare. (* This word is used only for women. There is no separate word for a good male cook. Goes on to show that cooking has traditionally always been women's domain.)

Let me come back to the point, after much digression, that last week I tried making Puranpolis for the first time, in order to qualify for the much-coveted title of 'Sugaran', and in the hope to send them as my entry to the Jihva for Ingredients event hosted by Sailu this month. They turned out well. :)
A little about Puranpolis, before I tell you, how I made them.
Puran = any kind of stuffing + Poli = flatbread.

From left to right: Puran (the stuffing), rice flour, kneaded Atta for the cover

Even though any stuffing can be referred to as Puran, the word is often associated only with that used for Puranpoli. Although it is a 'sweet dish', it is not served like a dessert, after the meal. When Puranpolis are made, they are the main dish. Usually, no separate chapatis/rotis are made, and although there are some side dishes served to go with it, they are just to cleanse the palate in between two morsels of the sweet Puranpoli. Usually, we end up eating these side dishes as leftovers in the evening with some curd-rice to help the stomach take some rest. :) (All those side dishes are missing in the first photograph of this post, I know. I was so tired after making the Puranpolis, that I had no energy left in me for cooking anything else. :) Since on the subject, let me also admit that I completely forgot to use ghee to roast the Puranpolis. That did not make much difference to the taste, but I think the cover would have been softer, had I used ghee. I was nervous, you see. :))

Well, enough of theory and story-telling there. I'll now proceed to the

Recipe for Puranpoli.

Makes 5-6 Nos.
(I made only these many because it was an experiment for me. You could scale up the ingredients to make more pieces.)


For the stuffing:
1 cup Chana dal
3 cups water
2/3 cup grated jaggery
1/3 cup sugar
4-5 cardamoms, powdered
1/8 heaped tsp grated/powdered nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

For the cover:
1/2 heaped cup chapati Atta
1/2 heaped cup white flour (Maida)
1/8 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp oil

1/4 cup rice flour (or as per requirement) for rolling out the Puranpolis
ghee to roast the Puranpolis (The quantity is entirely upto you.)

Top: grated jaggery; Middle: Chana dal; Bottom (from left to right): white flour, sugar, Atta


1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, bring the water for the stuffing to boil. Wash the Chana Dal and add to the water. Let the dal cook uncovered on medium-high heat. Please DO NOT give in to the temptation of pressure-cooking the dal. It makes the texture of the stuffing too runny to handle.
2. In the meanwhile, knead the dough for the cover using 1 tbsp oil and lukewarm water. (You could substitute a portion of the water with milk.) Keep the kneaded, duly covered dough aside.
3. The dal should be cooked by now. It is well-cooked, if a grain of it can be easily pressed between the thumb and the index finger.
4. Turn the heat off. Drain the water on top of the dal into another container. It is called 'kat' in Marathi (pronounced somewhat like 'cut'). Do not discard it. You could use it to thin down any dal or soup. Usually, it is used to make a special dal/Aamti, the recipe for which is coming up here soon. :)
5. Transfer the dal to a food processor now, and grind till all grains of dal have fallen apart. Transfer it back to the heavy-bottomed pan. Add the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'stuffing' and start cooking it once again on low heat.
6. The Puran/stuffing will have to be stirred every now and then while cooking, because it tends to stick easily to the bottom. The Puran is cooked when it looks smooth, with every grain cooked and fallen apart. It is thick enough, when a flat spatula inserted in it stands straight. Like this.

A test of well-cooked Puran

7. Keep the cooked Puran aside to cool down. Cover it, if at all necessary, only partly for the steam to escape.
8. Once the Puran has cooled down completely, knead the dough for the cover once again using the rest of the oil. Divide it in five or six portions, depending upon how big you want to roll the Puranpolis.
9. Heat a Tava/griddle.
10. Divide the Puran/stuffing in as many portions as the dough. Roll out one portion of the dough at a time in a small circle. Place a ball of Puran on it. (The ball is usually 2.5 to 3 times bigger than the quantity of dough.) Enclose the cover over the stuffing tightly, and seal it off. Click here for detailed photographs of this step. If you are fairly good at making stuffed parathas, then you should have hardly any problems at this step.
11. Roll out the Puranpoli using some rice flour. The cover needs to become so thin, that you can see the Puran inside. Transfer it to the hot griddle. Roast both sides, using some ghee, until golden brown spots appear. Do not flip the Puranpoli too often.

12. Repeat steps 10 & 11 to make remaining Puranpolis.

Serve fresh and warm Puranpolis with dollops of ghee or with a bowl of milk to dunk it in. At my place, we enjoy Puranpolis with milk, only when they are not warm any longer.

Have these Puranpolis for lunch on a lazy Sunday and take a siesta after that. The feeling of well-being that you get after waking up is too good to be put in words. It is pure Nirvana. Believe me. :)

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