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Monday, September 6, 2010

Puran Poli Recipe

This is one dish that is loved by most people that I have met. It will always feature on a traditional  Maharashtrian wedding menu. It is best described as a paratha/chapati stuffed with puran. But, the best puran polis must have a thin covering, should be filled with puran and roasted just enough to provide the perfect texture to the poli. I have had too many ill-formed polis (made by well intentioned ladies) that had scanty stuffing or a very thick cover, which left me guessing if I was actually eating puran poli. So, when I set out to make the polis, I took the task quite seriously and did the right thing, i.e. called Mom. She explained the technique, the proportions for the dough and I must say the end result came close to the perfect puran polis that I had in India years ago.


Ingredients

For the stuffing and the method see the Puran recipe

For the dough
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached wheat flour (maida)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2-1 cup water (enough to knead a soft dough)
rice flour to roll out the poli
oil to use while cooking
ghee to serve
milk to serve


Method
Combine the dry ingredients together and add water little at a time to knead the dough. The dough consistency is the most important base to creating the perfect poli. The dough need to be soft enough and have enough elasticity to stretch over the puran stuffing to form a thin cover. The maida is the ingredient which will provide the elasticity to the dough. The dough should be soft and very pliable. Keep this aside for about 30 minutes and then knead it for 5 minutes. The more you knead it the more elasticity it will develop.  You can add more water to the dough if needed at at this stage to soften/loosen it.

To make the puran stuffing see the Puran recipe.


To roll out the puran poli
 Take a small portion of the puran stuffing and roll it into a ball. I generally take a fistfull which will create a ball about 3/4th-1 inch in diameter. Take dough which is a little more than half the proportion of the puran ball. Roll the dough into a ball and then using your thumbs, make a disc of this puran till its about 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Wrap this disc around the puran ball and using your fingers gather up the ends of the dough disc till it completely covers the puran ball. This is where the dough's elasticity will help in covering the puran even though the dough is in a smaller quantity than the puran, resulting in a thin covering. Once you have created this stuffed ball, roll it gently with a rolling pin. Dust your rolling surface with rice flour to prevent the dough from sticking on to the surface. The resulting poli should be about 3-4 mm in thickness. Try to roll it out as thin as you can. With the fist full of puran proportion that I used, my poli was about 6-7 inches in diameter.


Roast this on a flat tava/pan. Cook it on one side till it is partially cooked, then flip it over. Add some oil around the poli and cook this side till its completely cooked. It will get some brown spots as it cooks indicating that its cooked. Then flip it over  and completely cook the partially cooked side.

Serve the puran poli with a generous amount of ghee. It is also served with a cup of warm milk. The poli is then dunked into this warm milk and then eaten. Another method is to serve it with the "Cutachi aamti', which is a savory dish and prevents the meal from becoming too sweet.


Tips
To guarantee elasticity, if you want you can substiture the whole wheat flour with maida. Use oil to keep the dough from sticking to the surface while kneading it. Use ghee to coat your hands when rolling the puran into a ball.

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