Puran Poli, also known as Holige or Bobbatlu is a stuffed sweet flatbread made with channa dal, jaggery, cardamom or nutmeg, and flour.
The subtle and captivating aroma of a hot puran poli drenched in ghee, straight from the stove-top to my plate, is a core memory I fondly recollect, many a time. The fact that something so simple could taste this delicious is mindblowing to me. I personally love eating this sweet roti as is, but I’ve also known friends and acquaintances who swear by the sweet-and-spicy combination of Puran Poli with Dal or Aloo Bhaji! Now, whichever way you choose to consume these polis, be prepared to be amazed by the gratifying bites of protein and carbs in one humble-looking flatbread.
Popular all across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and some parts of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, this dish is usually made on special occasions and festivals, including Gudi Padwa / Ugadi, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi and so on. But truth be told, you don’t necessarily have to wait for a festival to make these good-for-you flatbreads. The goodness of jaggery, lentils and ghee in subtle spices just make this a kind of sweet you could have regularly.
All About Puran Poli
Mentioned in Manucharitra, a 14th-century Telugu encyclopedia compiled by Allasani Peddanna hailing from present-day Andhra Pradesh, this sweet flatbread is believed to have originated in southern India. The various names for the dish – most commonly known as puran poli – include Vedmi or Puran Puri in Gujarati, Bobattlu in Telugu, Holige in Kannada, or simply Poli or Boli in Tamil.
The most common version across all regions is a flour wrapper and a sweet chana dal filling. But based on region and availability of spices, different versions are made by different cultures. The predominant ingredients: chana dal (protein) and wheat (carbs) come together in a holistic sweet recipe.
Making these Puran Polis requires some skill and patience.
How to make the Poli Filling?
The filling is a simple mixture of lentils, jaggery, and spices. But the trick is to plan ahead of time and soak your dal. Chana Dal is notoriously known to take a lot longer to cook than other lentils, and soaking in advance can save you a tonne of time in prep.
I like to cook my lentils in the pressure cooker. Chana Dal, which has been soaked for at least 1-2 hours can cook in 20 minutes on a stove top or about 4-6 whistles in the pressure cooker. Some people like to pass their lentil mixture through a sieve for a super smooth texture. I don’t mind them, so I simply mash them in a pan with the back of my wooden spoon. I cook the dal with some jaggery, though you can use any sweetener you like. And keep stirring until the mixture thickens/
How to make the Poli Dough?
The dough is a mixture of all-purpose flour or refined flour (maida) and whole wheat flour (Indian atta). While you can do one or the other altogether, I like mixing the two for the best results: the wheat flour gives a nutty flavor to the polis while the refined flour makes them soft and flaky.
Another important step is to let the dough rest for at least 2 hours.
Is Puran Poli Vegan?
Besides the large amounts of ghee typically used to cook and serve this dish, a holige recipe is dairy-free. This is why it can be really easy to make your own Vegan Puran Poli at home. A. good plant-based substitute for Ghee can be refined coconut oil or vegan ghee. But you can also cook these flatbreads in regular oil.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes, absolutely! You can make a large batch of the polis and refrigerate them for up to 1 week or freeze up to a month. To freeze the polis, just cook them, place them individually between parchment paper, add them o a ziplock, and then freeze.
Before serving, let them thaw a little, then microwave for a minute or cook on a pan until the polis are warm and soft again. Slather ghee on top and serve.
What is the filling-to-dough proportion?
Ideally, a 1:1 ratio of filling to dough works best.
You don’t want a lot of dough and very little filling or vice versa. You also don’t want the filling to come out of the wrapper too much.
What are some variations of the Puran Poli?
While this is a straightforward recipe, you can also add desiccated coconut and nuts to the mix. Get creative, by just maintaining the base ingredients.
Here is a video recipe on how to make delicious, sweet, and fresh puran poli at home –
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup Chana Dal (split chickpeas)
- 1 tsp Haldi (turmeric powder)
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup Water
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Cardamom or Ginger powder
- 1/2 cup Gud (jaggery) – or any sugar you prefer
For the Dough
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour (Maida) (*Refer Notes)
- 1/2 cup Whole-Wheat Flour (Chakki ka Atta)
- 1/3 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Haldi (Turmeric Powder)
- 1/2 cup Water (adjust to make soft dough)
- 4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
To cook & serve the Puran Polis
- Ghee or Vegetable Oil
For the Filling
- Wash and soak the Chana Dal in water for 3–60 minutes. This step is optional, but soaking your lentils wil speed up the cooking process.
- Add fresh water to the lentils along with a tsp of oil, turmeric powder, salt, Pressure cook or boil until the lentils are soft, and can be mashed easily.
- Add the cooked lentils to a pan along with the jaggery (or sweetener of choice), and spices like nutmeg, cardamom or ginger powder. Adjust spices and sweetener to taste.
- Mash, mix and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Once the filling cools completely, divide into 6 portions and roll inti balls. Keep them covered and set aside.
For the Dough
- Mix refined flour, wheat flour, salt, turmeric powder and a couple tsp of oil. Slowly add the water and mix until dough comes together.
- Knead for 7-8 minutes to a soft dough. Add 4 Tbsp of oil, knead for another 4-5 minutes until the oil is incorporated into the dough. At this point, the dough will be extremely soft.
- Add to a bowl, brush with oil, cover and let the dough rest for 2 hours. This will allow the gluten to develop and make your flatbreads soft and flaky.
For the Puran Poli
- Divide dough into 6 portions and roll into neat balls. Keep them covered and work one at a time.
- Flour your work surface, flatten the dough a bit, add the sweet filling in the center, wrap the dough around the filling, and flatten gently.
- Use flour as needed to avoid the dough from sticking to the surface. Roll into a thin, round disk.
- Add to a medium hot pan. Cook on medium heat, pressing down and flipping frequently. Apply ghee and cook until you golden. Don't make them crispy, as Puran Polis are usually soft.
- Serve them warm with a dollop of ghee on top.
- You can make this all Refined Flour or All Whole-Wheat Flour or any proportion of the two doughs. Just modify the water as needed to make a super soft dough.
- The whole-wheat adds flavor while the refined flour adds elasticity to the dough, which is why I like using a mixture of both.
If you liked this Puran Poli, you might also check out –