January 14, 2012

Sweet Poli

Poli is a traditional south Indian sweet prepared during auspicious days / festivals / marriages. It is a little complicated recipe (but can be mastered with experience), where stuffing (called pooranam) & outer dough are prepared separately and then pooranam is stuffed inside the dough and rolled out to make thin & delicate sweet pancakes. In this recipe, stuffing is made of channa dal, jaggery, coconut, caradamom.

My mom usually prepares poli on Bogi (day before pongal), Tamil New Year, Avani Avittam (changing of the sacred thread). And, this is one of the few sweets that VJ loves to eat. Especially, he likes it on the second day, slightly warmed, with little ghee drizzled on the top.

For pooranam
Channa dal - 1 cup
Powdered Jaggery - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Cardamom - 2-3 pods (use only seeds)

For outer dough
Maida - 1 cup (use fresh maida of good brand)
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Food color (preferably yellow / orange) - 1-2 pinches (I used kesari-orange color)
Water - 1/3 cup (approximately)
Gingelly oil - 1 tbsp + as required when making poli

Using a mortar & pestle, powder the cardamom seeds and keep it aside.

Take a bowl and mix maida, salt and food color. Add required water and knead it into a soft & rubbery dough. Grease the bowl with a tbsp of gingelly oil and leave it aside for atleast for 1 - 1.5 hrs.

Soak channa dal in water for an hour. Then, cook channa dal in boiling water until soft & mashable (not mushy). Drain the water and let it cool. Grind cooked channa dal with jaggery, coconut into a thick paste (without adding water). To this add the cardamom powder and mix well.

Make equal number of balls from dough as well as the pooranam.

Note: The balls need not be of equal size. A small ball of maida should be good enough to stretch & hold pooranam of double its size. If maida is old (or) not fresh, you might have to make equal sized balls, as maida would have lost its elasticity.

Generously grease a plastic sheet (I used ziploc) / plantain leaf (if available) well with gingelly oil. Take a ball of maida dough, pat & spread the dough into a small circle (with hands). Place a ball of pooranam in the centre of the dough and wrap it around the pooranam to make a ball. 

This ball is then flattened into a large & thin circular pancake shape (Take care to not tear the dough while flattening).

Meanwhile, heat a griddle / tawa on medium-high. Carefully peel the flattened poli from plastic sheet and transfer it to the tawa. Cook until brown spots appear on both the sides and a sweet aroma fills the kitchen.

Drizzle ghee on top and serve warm.