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. :)
Puran = any kind of stuffing + Poli = flatbread.
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.)
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.
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. :)
Tags: Puranpoli , Chana Dal , wheat flour, Maharashtrian , Indian dessert , 101 Indian sweets