Poli is a very traditional Indian sweet flatbread stuffed with a filling made of lentils, jaggery and flavorings. It is made in North India during most festivals.
The most popular one is the Puran poli which is made in Maharastra. Puran is the filling and poli is the flatbread. Poli is known by different names in different parts of India – holige in Karnataka, Bobattu in Andhra, Obbattu in Tamilnadu and Vedmi in Gujarat
I am used to the obbattu and the coconut poli that we make in Tamilnadu. It is sold in most bakeries in the state. It is also a popular food sold by vendors in trains. But nothing comes close to homemade.
Basically, a dough is made of all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, or a mix of both. It is then stuffed with a filling of chana dal cooked with jaggery, rolled out, and cooked on a girdle. The Gujarati vedmi uses Toor dal or pigeon peas for filling.
The key to making the perfect poli is by keeping the dough soft and pliable so that it does not break or crack when you roll out. Let the dough rest for at least an hour before starting out.
Also, the chana dal should be nicely mashed for a smooth rolling. If the dal is not completely mashed it will create holes and the poli will not puff up.
For this puran poli, I have used wholewheat, chana dal, and jaggery. And for the flavoring, I have used cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger powders. Cardamom is the most preferred spice for flavor.
Also, for the dough, I have used ghee, rather than oil. This I think makes the dough softer and gives it more pliability.
My family enjoyed the polis. I have made them twice in a span of 10 days, and why not as it is completely healthy.
It stays good for a day at room temperature and can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. When you want to have it just reheat it on low flame on the Tawa top.
Maharashtrians have it with a good amount of ghee drizzled on top or by dipping in milk. Or they make katachi amti with the dal drained water which a sweet, spicy tangy thin stock like liquid. We prefer ours just like that 🙂 .
So, go ahead and give this a try. I bet you will start making it frequently as I am, without waiting for festivals.
Puran poli /Holige /Obbattu recipe
For pressure cooking lentils
- ½ cup chana dal (100 g)
- 1½ cups water
- a pinch salt
For jaggery syrup
- ½ cup jaggery / gur(tightly packed) (100g)
- 2 tbsp water
For the dough
- 1 cup water
- 3 tsps ghee/clarified butter
- ½ tsp salt(or as needed)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder (optional)
- 2 cups wholewheat flour /aata( + more for kneading)
Rest of the ingredients
- ½-1 tsp cardamom powder
- a pinch of nutmeg powder
- a pinch of ginger powder
- 1 tbsp ghee (for the puran)
- a mix of oil+ghee for drizzling on poli(as needed)
To make the dough
- Take the water, 1tsp ghee, salt, and turmeric powder as given under "for the dough" in a vessel and mix well.
- Add the flour and knead well adding the remaining 2tsps of ghee, as you knead to form a very soft pliable dough. Rest for an hour at least.
- Make even-sized balls of the dough after resting.
To cook lentils
- Soak the chana dal in sufficient quantity of water for an hour.
- Pressure cook the dal with 1½ cups of water and the salt.
- Cool down and strain the dal. Mash it to a smooth paste either with the stone pestle as I do or with a masher.
To make the puran
- Heat up and melt the jaggery with 2tbsps of water. Strain the syrup and heat again to boiling point.
- Add the mashed dal and mix well. Add the cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg powders and cook well till it completely dries up and gathers into a mass. Add the 1 tbsp ghee and turn off the flame.
- Let it cool down and make into equal-sized balls.
Making the puran poli
- Roll out the dough into a small circle. Keep the puran ball in the center and cover it completely with the dough.
- Flatten it out so that the filling gets evenly distributed. Coat both sides with flour and roll out to a thin chapati/flatbread.
- Transfer it to a hot griddle and cook on both sides drizzling ghee/oil.
- Serve with ghee & milk or katachi amti.
- It’s enough if the lentils are 90% cooked. That is, there must be a bite to it. In this way, it will not become very pasty when being mashed.
- I found it very easy to mash with the stone pestle of my motor & pestle. You can use the mixer also to mash it. Do not use water for grinding.
- I have used only wholewheat flour which is our regular aata. You can replace it completely with plain flour or use a mix of plain flour and wholewheat. Reduce water accordingly.
- The dough should be very soft and pliable. Only then it can be rolled out or stretched without tearing
- The more ghee the tastier it is. I have used ghee in the puran and the poli, but for drizzling have used a mix of oil and ghee. You can go for either ghee or oil as per preference.
- I have used 1 tsp cardamom powder as I felt the flavor was not enough. You may have to use a lesser quantity if yours is fresh.
Do look up my other traditional sweet recipes