Puranpoli – This traditional Indian desert goes by a few names – holige, bele obbattu, or puran poli. Chapati like but with a flaky crust and a sweet lentil filling, puran poli is a favorite throughout India and you’re about to learn why.
I’ve been addicted to puran polis since I was only 6 years old. At my uncle’s wedding, there were two ladies tasked with churning out sweets for hundreds of people. After the first experience of this flaky textured puranpoli with the melt-in-your-mouth lentil filling, I was hooked.
It was on that day I ate my bodyweight in puran poli.
Am I proud of it? Hell yes.
Every time we went back to India to visit my family, we would stock up on puran poli to bring home with us. I can’t describe how much my family loves this desert – but I can say that if they had to choose between me and puran poli, they would choose the puran poli! It was never a happy day when we ate the last one, so I became motivated to learn how to make them myself.
How to make Puran poli?
The fillings in puran poli / holigey / ubattu can change from region to region. Maharashtrians use a Channa dal filling, whereas Gujaratis use Tuvar dal. No matter which part of India you are in, or which recipe you use, jaggery or sugar is used as a sweetener. Given the opportunity – always use jaggery. Not only is this the authentic way but, when caramelized, it brings an earthy aroma to the dish that balances everything perfectly.
The bread, or ‘crust’, can be made with refined wheat flour (maida), or whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta). Breads made with maida are so soft and delicate that they actually melt in your mouth. Whole wheat flour makes this desert slightly healthier, and have a texture more similar to paranthas. They still taste just as good, only with a different texture.
These aromatic, sweet Indian flatbreads are perfect at any time of the day. Just remember to serve them warm, with a generous dollop of ghee!
I’m sure that, like me, you’ll have love at first bite too. Try my recipe here!
For the Stuffing
- 1 cup Split Bengal gram (chana dal),rinsed in water
- 1 cup Jaggery (gur),grated
- 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
- a pinch of saffron (kesar), optional
For the dough
- 11/2 cups refined flour (maida)
- 3 tablespoon ghee
- pinch of salt
- water as needed
- 1/2 cup oil
- Mix refined flour (maida),salt,ghee and sufficient water (around 1/4 cup) to make a very soft dough.
- Note: The softness of the Puran Poli depends on the softness of the dough.
- Add oil to the dough and let the dough immerse in the oil for an hour while you make the stuffing.
- When ready to make Puran Polis, remove the dough from the oil. The oil can be reused for other purposes.
Making the stuffing
- Pressure cook chana dal (took me 3 whistles).
- Drain it using a colander and coarsely grind it,
- In a microwave safe bowl, add ground dal, jaggery,saffron,cardamom powder and mix well.
- Microwave on high uncovered for 4 minutes. Remove the bowl and mix well.
- Microwave again for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl and mix well before putting it back again in the microwave. Repeat this process until the mixture appears dry and can be rolled into a ball. The microwave process takes around 16 minutes total)
- (Alternatively, this chana dal-jaggery mixture can be reduced on the gas too. Constantly stir the mixture till it appears dry enough to be rolled into balls)
- Let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Divide the stuffing into sixteen equal portions and roll into balls.
To make Puran Poli
- Divide dough into sixteen equal portions and roll into balls.
- Flatten each ball and stuff with one portion of the stuffing.Cover the stuffing with the dough and seal the edges properly.
- Dust the ball with flour and with the sealed edge facing down, roll into a round shape as thin as possible.
- Place a tawa on gas on medium heat. Once heated, add the Puran Poli and cook until small bubbles form on the top. Turn it over and cook the other side.
- Serve hot with ghee.