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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Anonymous said...

Reaching nirvana, indeed.:)

Puranpolis (or bhakshalu we call them) never looked better!
Classic recipe for JFI-Dals. Thanks Vaishali.

Krithika said...

Your Puranpolis look perfect. Thank you so much for step by step pictures.

Sumitha said...

Vaish,I couldnt stop laughing after seeing that pic,spatula standing straight:)!But Vaish thats a great tip for people like me who have never made puran poli.
Besides is it your bday today or was it yday, coz I know your fondness for puran poli!?

Priya said...

Poli is my favorite ...and the one my mom makes are the best to me :-). I have it hot of the pan with some ghee spread on it, some sugar sprinkeld and warm milk to top it all ...!!! and there I reach NIRVANA ..!!!! Dal's truly were a very good choice for JFI..each blogger has a recipe close to their heart and culture using them.

Ashwini said...

Sigh...I realy wish I could come over for lunch. Consider the title of sugran duly bestowed upon you henceforth!

Shammi said...

Vaishali, I love, I love, I LURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRVE puran poli! I just think it's even better to eat when made by someone else :D One more item on my list of things for you to make when I come Duesseldorf way... ;)

PS. I'll help make them so you dont end up tired out, ok?

Vaishali said...

Indira, you are embarrassing me. I really appreciate those nice words coming from you.

Perfect, you say, Krithika? *blush*

Hey Sumitha, I think we should do the future quizzes in collaboration. You picked up that detail really well. No, but it is not my birthday yet. However, it is my younger sister's birthday today. This post is my virtual gift to her.

Priya, Puranpolis made by moms are any day better. I won't disagree there.

Ashwini, thanks for the title. I think, I'll start wearing a crown from tomorrow onwards. :) And as for the lunch, think twice before you take a decision. Because you might want to move in with us after having tasted those Puranpolis. Are you really ready for another shifting? :)

That was so endearing, Shammi. I am totally in for the idea. Making something together would be such great fun. I hope it really happens some day.

RP said...

That sounds like something I should try. I have an extra sweet tooth, so I have a tendency to try all the sweet dishes posted by all you sweet bloggers. I had to laught at that picture too. So sweet! (too many sweets huh?)

archana said...

Puranpolis looks so good,nice photos too. Have a happy Dal day

Anonymous said...

Hi Vaishali -- wow! If I ever get daring enough to try making puranpoli I will come back here for the step-by-step. I need a nap just thinking of eating these... looks so delicious. "Roast using ghee" ... yum :)

Nandan said...

Hi Vaishali, so far I liked all your posts and the photos. But, not this one since it brought back the memories of my fav dish that I haven't had for couple of years now. :-(. Jokes apart, it will be an under-statement to say that I love puranpolis. My fav side dish to go with it is 'kaTaachi aamTee'

Unknown said...

They look perfect!!! Poli is my fav. Thanx for sharing the recipe. Du bist wunderbar!!!

KA said...

Vaishali, poli looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

I love puran poli and your polis look great :D.

Vaishali said...

It's great, RP, that you try out all sweet recipes posted by fellow bloggers. I just hope that you don't send us the dentist's bill later. :)

Happy Dal Day to you too, Archana.

I need a nap just thinking of eating these...
Hahahaha...that was sweet, Linda.

Nandan, just drop in at our place some day. I'll happily treat you to some Puranpolis and will also pack some for you to take back home. :) And hey, 'kataachi aamti' is coming up soon.

Thanks, Pushpa. Du bist auch wunderbar. :)

Thanks a lot, Arjuna and Shilpa.

Anupama said...

Saw your puranpoli at the wrong time. Ihad not had any lunch and when i read your puranpoli post I was ravenous. I had this tremendous craving for it but had to satisfy myself with a jam sandwich. But am going to make tham tomorrow.

Nav said...

Ok I have never had such craving for poli before; that was a delicious post Vaishali :) In northern Telangana area of Andhra, Poli is a must for many of the festivals. I being the only odd non-lover of sweets in the family, used to eat Poli with Pickle. Everyone in my family pronounced me as a weirdo :( but am happy to see that am not the only person with that idea :))

Anonymous said...

I love the numbing effect that Puranpolis have on my top floor. I hope everyone at home enjoyed it when you made it...

- TheOriginon

BDSN said...

Hey Vaishali...

Very good post for the Jihva. I have been searching for the perfect recipe for so long and today I have found it. It does seem time consuming but it very well worth a try once in a while!!

One more question..what if you dont have a food processor?? Can i run the dhal in the mixie or mash it by hand?

Unknown said...

I'm sure you made your mom really proud of you dearie by making such perfect puran polis- I just had 'boli' (that's what we call it in Tamil) in my Cousin's thread ceremony that I was attending over the weekend in Chennai- amazingly soft and the servers put a dollop of melted ghee- with food like that it's blasphemy to count calories..i actually dipped the bolis in payasam-it felt like a double treat!
A true Maharashtrian's perfect entry for the event- i must say :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, You bet ,I would very much give in to your fantasies riddled with perfect scenarios of a special lazy sunday with a siesta to follow......:) Vaishali,the pics are Awesome.

Vaishali said...

Anupama, jam sandwich instead of Puranpoli? Bahut nainsaafi hai. :)

...numbing effect on top floor...
Hahahahaha...very funy, Originon. And yes, everybody loved it at home.

BDSN, mixie should be fine in place of the food processor. However, mashing it by hand may not give the desired results. If you have a big enough pestle and mortar set, then that should be ok too.

blasphemy to count calories
That was funny, Nandita. And dipped in Payasam? Oooooh. You should have walked back from Chennai to Mumbai to burn that. :)
And hey, thanks for the last line. *grin*

Lera, the idea itself is fantastic, isn't it? And thanks for the compliment.

indianadoc said...

How I wish I could eat those Polis...My MIL makes excellent polis and I have tried a couple of times but the effort required makes me feel lazy everytime and I wish I had the B'lore Arya Bhavan here!!...I'm drooling here buddy...I want your poli...

supermom said...

Happened to come across you blog and i really liked it. Am hoping to try out the Puranpolis soon!

Here's to reading more, Cheers!!!

GourmayMasala said...

Vaishali - That was an excellent choice of entry for this Jhiva event. And I love your attention to detail in describing the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully awesome !! Good one there. Is there a way you can freeze them and send them to

Big fan of Puranpoli,
Poli - US

I will pay the postage :D

Although I must say today (7/4)was a heartbreak for millions of German soccer fans. How is your hubby doing?

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to see you blog a Maharastrian traditional sweet using lentils. Kudos to a great post!!
We call them bobattu and it happens to be a fav sweet in our family.
Thanks for participating in the JFI-Dal event and see you at the round up.

Anonymous said...

Vaishali,thanks for the amazing recipe.It is definitely on the top of my to do list.

Vineela said...

Hi Vaishali,
Yummy pooranpoli with nice photos and step by step presentation.

Mamatha said...

Thanks for the recipe. We call this "Obbattu" and in my mom's side of the family, this is considered THE ultimate sweet . I'll do her proud by attempting Puran poli by following your instructions.

Vaishali said...

Oh yes, Shaynee, the effort involved is big enough for you to want to rush to Arya Bhawan instead of toiling in the kitchen. Arya Bhawan might be too far away, but Germany definitely isn't. What say? :)

Welcome to my blog, Supermom. Hope to see you here often.

Hey, thanks, GM. Those are very kind words.

Hahahahaha...Mythili. That was funny. And as far as football fans including my husband are concerned, boo hoo.... The mood is rather down around here.

Thanks for dropping by, Sailaja. Thank you for hosting the event too. Looking forward to the round-up now.

In case you try it out, do give me your feedback, Kamakshi.

Another nice comment, Vineela. I am really getting addicted to your kindness. :)

Go on, do your mother proud, Faffer. My best wishes are with you. :)

Daagh said...

Excellent blog.

Many thanks for your comments on my ARAD blog :-)

I just came back from India last night. Mom made paranpuri for my last week... your blog just brought back the taste now am missing home and mom :-(

Mahek said...


Vaidya Aparna S. Pattewar said...

your puranpoli looks g8.
Thanks for sharing this :-)

MR said...

growing up in maharashtra and being a south indian pooran pooli was my all time favourite food.
pooranpooli and aamthi yum!!
thanks a ton for posting this recipe

Priyanka said...

Vaishali, those are amazing puranpolis. However, I use a quick and easy way to make mine since i dont have much time or patience. I pressure cook the dal and add jaggery and microwave (the benefits of science) it till the water evaporates and then when it cools, add cardamom and nutmeg. And they turn out pretty close to what my mom makes. Although my mom makes it your way, it can be pretty tiring. I also make the polis without the ghee and then when they are done top it up with loads.

Perception said...

Mouth watering indeed! Also a thorough step by step description. I sure will try this one.

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