Tamil style Poli is something i have grown up eating. Basically maida rotis stuffed with a chana dal and coconut filling, laden with ghee, is made in South indian households during some festivals, like the tamil new year(in april), avani attam (same day as rakhi, when the guys change their poonal / jeneu), and bhogi pandigai. Bhogi pandigai, celebrated a day before pongal, a festival to thank god indiran, for giving us enough water for harvesting.
Basically a sister festival of makar sankranti and lohri. If not for the variety of food thats created in different states, i would always wonder why cant people just celebrate one festival, as long as the variety is good, iam not complaining. In north, most households make meethe chawal on this day, to welcome new beginnings, to welcome change.
I had never made this before, a chat with the aunts this morning, and J, the savior being with me throught the process, right from checking if the dough was the right consistency, to the stuffing being right, and i sailed through, and pretty well, it was pretty close to ammas taste. J’s a pro when it comes to polis, she makes it with sugar, but i somehow remembered the aroma of jaggery, and wanted to replicate it that way.
My chana dal when boiled was super soggy, dont worry, if you end up over boiling it, a little extra frying, and you will get the required consistency.
Trying to demonstrate the making of poli in this post, for my own reference for future.
- 1 cup all purpose flour / maida
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup chana dal
- 1/2 cup grated jaggery
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/4 cup fresh coconut, grated and grind to paste
- ghee for frying
- Make the dough 3 hours prior to when you want to start. The dough has to be as soft as you can make. Keep kneading, you will see the dough absorbs all the water.
- At the end use the oil, knead again, and leave it to absorb. Cover and let it rest.
- Now prepare the sweet chana dal stuffing.
- Pressure cook the chana dal for 5 whistles. Let it cook, drain, and then make a paste out of it.
- Once dry, add 1 tsp of ghee in a pan, add the jaggery, chana dal paste, and cardamom powder.
- Let it fry till it reaches the consistency as shown above.
- Now oil your hands, and gently make a cup with a 2 inch ball of dough, and add a 1.5 inch ball of mixture. And seal it, it you think its a lot of dough after sealing, use a scissor to cut off the extra, it also helps in sealing.
- Now roll as any stuffed paratha, just with easy and fast strokes, don’t worry it wont tear.
- Heat a tawa, and fry it on medium heat, using ghee.
- Serve it warm with an extra splash of ghee on top.
- Doing the dough 3 hrs before is important, you will realise while rolling, if you skip this step, the dough has to become very elastic, and absorb all the oil and liquid.
- Some prefer soaking chana dal, but i have realised this step can be omitted.
- I prefer a cast iron tawa, the non stick tawa didnt work for me.