Updated: Jun 14
Nothing can beat the taste of scrumptious Maharashtrian Puran Poli that’s typically made during festival of Holi. This authentic Maharashtrian flatbread has a sweet, extremely smooth and delicious filling and is served with a generous helping of ghee / clarified butter. This delicacy from Marathi cuisine is so soft that it just melts in your mouth and after tasting one you are sure to want one more!
Quick, easy to follow, step-by-step video of how to make Homemade Pooran Poli:
Practice makes Perfect
Although it might seem daunting to make Puran Poli if you have never made it before or are new to cooking, but learning to make super soft Pooran Poli isn’t that hard. In the end it is all about practice and getting all the measurements and ingredients right. Once you have made Puran Poli a few times, I am sure you will get the knack of it.
Soaking and Cooking Split Chickpeas / Chana Dal
As split chickpeas/bengal gram (chana dal) is hard to cook, it is necessary to soak them for 3 hours before you pressure cook them. Yeah, so if you want to make Puran Poli, you need to plan well in advance!
When pressure cooking chana dal, remember to cook only for 5 whistles with right amount of water or else split chickpeas might be over or undercooked. If undercooked with less water, filling won’t become smooth and soft enough. If overcooked with excess water, you will end up with a dal!!
So, if you follow measurements in the below recipe card precisely, you won’t go wrong.
After chana dal is cooked and before moving on to next step, you should strain the dal to remove excess moisture. In Maharashtra, people prepare Katachi Amti with this strained liquid and it taste delicious.
Super Soft Dough
For preparing the cover, I like to use plain flour and wheat flour in equal proportion. You can use only plain flour (maida) or only wheat (gehoon) flour, but using these two ingredients in equal amounts works best for our taste. Adding bit of turmeric powder while binding the dough gives the cover a nice light-yellow colour. Its necessary to use more oil while making Puran Poli cover dough than you would use while making dough for a normal chapati.
One of the key points to getting a perfect Puran Poli is kneading a super soft dough. Using little water at a time, you should form a very soft, smooth and pliable dough. It should be softer than you can imagine. Remember, the softer your dough, the easier it will be to stretch and wrap it around the filling, easier it will be to roll a Puran Poli without tearing and it will have better chance of blowing up like a balloon while roasting and becoming super soft. You should also allow the dough to rest for an hour before proceeding to the next step.
Extremely Smooth Filling
When preparing the filling, as far as possible, try to use a non-stick pan as it has a tendency to stick and burn.
For sweetness, I like to add sugar and jaggery, both. Some only prefer jaggery while some only prefer sugar, choice is yours. If you mash the mixture after sugar and jaggery has dissolved, it will become easier to manage the filling later. You need to keep stirring while the moisture evaporates, but be very careful as it splashes a lot and is very hot! When the moisture starts to evaporate, remember to reduce down the heat to reduce its chances of burning.
A good indicator to know when mixture has thickened enough and to stop cooking further is when your spoon/spatula stands straight when placed in the middle of the mixture.
Immediately transfer the mixture to another bowl. Keeping it in hot cookware will mean, mixture will keep cooking further and keep getting thicker. If it becomes too thick, it will be harder to roll and might even tear Puran Poli while rolling.
Once the mixture is cool to touch add green cardamom and nutmeg powder. Adding these spices when hot will reduce their flavour and aroma and nutmeg can even turn bitter when added to hot mixture, so let mixture cool down before adding these spices. Different parts of Maharashtra add different spices to the filling like dried ginger powder, saffron, etc.
Now, traditionally to make the filling super smooth you had to sieve it through a Puran Machine which removes any lumps and large dal pieces, but if you do not have one at home you can just blend the mixture, little at a time, in your usual blender / mixer grinder till smooth. After doing this if you still feel that its not smooth enough, you can take a large sieve and press the mixture through it so that you end up with a smooth filling.
Cover and Filling: Patience and Practice
For making Puran Poli, dough ball should be smaller than filling ball. You should make a cup from dough ball, place filling in it and gently wrap and glide the cover around filling, pressing gently with thumb of one hand from top and thumb and fingers of other hand from sides, as shown in the video. Any excess dough should be removed from top and cover should be sealed. I know it might seem hard at first, but this step will take some patience and practice and with time it will become easier. Having an extremely soft dough will play its part in this step and following this process will give you a paper-thin cover.
Rolling and Roasting
These are the final two steps for preparing Puran Poli. As Puran Poli is extremely delicate and you need to be very gentle while rolling, it’s better to dip the ball in rice flour and press gently in your palm and spread with your fingers first (check the video). This will make it easier to roll and evenly spread the filling to the corners of the Poli. Roll gently and evenly from all over so that the filling reaches every corner. Use as much rice flour as you need while rolling a Puran Poli, but remember to dust excess off before roasting or else it will create a coating on finished Poli.
Its better to use rice flour to help with rolling instead of plain flour (maida) or wheat flour, as it doesn’t stick as much while rolling, so Puran Poli glides easily on rolling board and any excess flour comes off easily preventing Poli from becoming hard after roasting.
Before placing Puran Poli on pan / tawa, make sure it is nice and hot. Roast Puran Poli on medium setting. Only flip it after you start seeing bubbles. Again, while flipping be gentle. I like to use my fingers to lift and flip Puran Poli, this way prevents Puran Poli from getting torn; but if you are not so used to cooking and don’t find this safe, you can use a turner, only take care not to tear it while flipping. After flipping smear Puran Poli with generous amount of melted ghee (clarified butter) on both sides. If you are watching your calories, then you can use little or no ghee, but if you want to treat yourself one day and don’t mind keeping your diet aside, then be generous with ghee because Puran Poli’s flavour will be incomplete without ghee.
If you have followed the whole process correctly, used correct measurements and didn’t tear it while rolling or flipping, then after you have flipped Puran Poli once, it should swell up like a balloon on your pan / tawa. Remember one important point, Puran Poli is extremely delicate, it should be flipped only TWICE. Roast Puran Poli till golden brown on both sides and don’t waste even a second afterwards, serve it immediately.
Fruits of labour will reward you well
After going through all this, you may be wondering; this is a lot of hard work and uses a lot of my time, is it really worth it? But once you see your Puran Poli swelling up on the pan and once you have tasted the first bite of Puran Poli with its paper-thin cover and filling as soft as a pillow, I am sure you will agree that your time was well spent and your fruits of labour were rewarded well 😊
Here are some of the OvalShelf’s Festive Recipes that your really love but are not confident enough to cook at home like Layered Karanji, Fried Modak and Kesar Pista Shrikhand. Just like Puran Poli they are not that hard to learn, practice and master! Also, check out some of the OvalShelf’s quick and easy Desserts and Sweets recipes.
Recipe Card for Puran Poli
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