Puran Poli is a classic Indian sweet dish that is popular across most Indian States and called by different names such as Holige or Obbattu. This dessert is made of Chana dal or Bengal gram with a combination of Gud / Jaggery , Cardamom powder wrapped in a thin casing of all purpose and wheat flour.
Jaggery is a traditional and unrefined cane sugar made from sugar cane without separation of the molasses. The color can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color, and is similar to the Latin American panela. Jaggery plays a unique role in lending the texture, aroma and taste to the Puran Poli.
Puran Poli is Considered as a supreme Indian delicacy and this dish requires patience and practice to get the right level of texture and taste. This recipe is a tribute to my mom, who has mastered the art of preparing Puran Poli.
I have grown up eating Puran Poli on many auspicious occasions and get togethers. Even today when I recall many of the celebrations at my home in India, they bring back the memories of Puran Poli.
I am bringing to you a proven and time-tested recipe and method of cooking Puran Polis. My mom has been making Puran Polis for over 50 years. The last time I visited India, I had a chance to watch and record how my mom makes Puran Polis from scratch. I give credit to my mom for this recipe and it gives me a great pleasure to share the art of making Puran Polis that my mom has perfected over many years. I hope to inspire many more to try this dish and keep it as a part of the Indian culture.
Puran Polis are best eaten when they are hot and fresh from the pan. The fragrance and taste reach a different level of aroma with a liberal application of ghee. We can even store the Puran Polis in a refrigerator for 2-3 days and roast them before eating. The taste of 2-3 days old Puran Poli that have been roasted is altogether different and something I always crave for – a crispy outer layer and caramelized jaggery filling gives a different texture and taste to this dish.
NOTE : Please make sure to watch the video as I have captured all the steps and processes and also described it in the following sections.
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Puran Poli – Indian sweet stuffed flatbread
Puran Poli or Holige or Obbattu is a popular Indian sweet dish that is considered a delicacy and commonly prepared during festivals and get togethers. The process of making Puran polis involves detailed preparation and bringing together of various ingredients with the right level of consistency. The crispy outer with a smooth filling of jaggery and the mellow fragrance of cardamom and ghee make this dish one of the most popular cultural desserts of India.
Section 1 : Preparing the Dough
- Take a large mixing bowl and Mix the all-Purpose and Wheat flours. Add water in small batches to the flour mixture and keep stirring until we get a cohesive and elastic dough.
- The dough should be smooth but firm and not too hard or watery. Please refer to the Video to get an idea about the consistency of dough. When the dough can be formed into a ball without sticking to the bowl and stretches smoothly, it has reached the desired consistency.
- You may use a Stand mixer or do the mixing by hand.
- Store the dough in a bowl covered with a plastic wrap or moist cloth, in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Section 2 : Preparing the Sweet filling ( Chana dal and Jaggery)
- Boil the Chana dal in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles. We don’t want to overboil the Chana dal but get just enough softness so as to be able to mash the dal into a coarse paste. Check the video for dal softness.
- Drain the excess water from the dal. Transfer the dal to a wide vessel with thick bottom. Mash the dal using a masher.
- Add Turmeric, salt, Cardamom powder and jaggery ( powdered or thinly grated).
- Continue to mash and mix until you get a smooth paste with evenly mixed ingredients.
- Now keep this vessel on medium heat and continue to stir. The Jaggery starts to melt and bind the entire mixture into a uniform paste. This may take about 10 – 15 minutes of continuous stirring on medium flame.
- Remove the vessel from heat and blend the chana dal mixture into a fine paste using a blender. You may do this in batches as the chana dal paste is now getting thicker and the blender might stop working if you overload it.
- NOTE – Do not add water. The desired consistency of chana dal mixture should be smooth but firm enough to form a smooth ball.
Section 3 : Rolling the Puran Polis
- Bring the dough that was kept in a warm place and knead the dough again by adding 4-5 teaspoons oil. This will make the dough further smooth and stretchy. Check the video for the final consistency of the dough. The stretchiness or elasticity of the dough is a key factor in making the Puran Polis thin and crispy. There is some effort involved in this step as it is best to knead with your hands.
- Now divide the dough into equal parts to make 2 inch balls. Also, divide the chana dal sweet mixture into 2 inch balls. Roll the balls in the palm of your hands to ensure that there are no air pockets and the balls are of uniform shape and size.
- To roll the puran polis, it is best to use a thin aluminum foil base as shown in the video. This will help to roll the puran polis without sticking to the base and also easily transfer the thinly rolled puran polis to the frying pan.
- Substitute : If you don’t have aluminium foil, you can also use thicker version of Parchment paper / Baking paper in round shape.
- To prepare the Puran Poli, Start with a dough ball and roll it in the palm of your hands to soften it and also stretch into a 4-5 inch diameter shape.
- Now take this round dough in your hands and keep a sweet chana dal mixture ball into the center. Slowly stretch the dough to cover the entire chana dal ball. Bring the edges together and stretch it evenly so as to smoothen the surface. Now the chana dal ball should be completely and evenly encased in the dough.
- Transfer this Chana dal filled dough ball onto the aluminum foil and slowly flatten with the palm of your hands. Add 1-2 Tsp oil and using a rolling pin, slowly stretch the ball by rolling in all directions into a 8-10 inch thin circular shape flatbread.
- Don’t worry if you see the puran polis getting torn or ripped initially. It takes some practice and adjustment to get the right level of perfection.
- For shallow frying the puran polis, it is best to use a flat thick metal round shaped frying pan.
- Transfer the rolled puran polis into the frying pan. Add another 1 -2 tsp oil as you cook the puran polis on each side.
- The puran polis are completely fried and ready to eat when the outer layer turns light brown in color. The real test of the quality of preparation and rolling the puran polis is to see if the puran polis puff with hot air as shown the video. It shows the evenness of spread and thickness of the two layers – Chana dal mixture and the outer dough.
- NOTE – If the puran polis are not rolled correctly, or if the chana dal mixture / dough are not of correct consistency, you may see tearing of the Puran Polis. Also an uneven spread of chana dal mixture can damage the Puran Polis while frying.
- Once the Puran Polis have completely baked on both sides and the color reaches golden brown, remove from the pan.
- The Puran Polis are best served with melted Ghee.