Recipe – India

“Puran Poli is a stuffed sweet bread, that is flat. First you cook the lentil, pigeon pea, which is called Toor Dal. You first cook it and add jaggery, and then cook it some more. You put a little nutmeg in it too. The stuffing is called Puran. Then, you make dough from self-rising flour, fine wheat flour. Then you add oil and water to the flour so that makes the dough kind of sticky, and knead it enough to make it nice and soft. Keep it for about 3-4 hours so that the liquids soak in nicely, and that it comes together properly. Then make small balls of the balls of the dough, flatten it a bit. Then take another small ball of the stuffing, and cover it with the dough, sort of like a dumpling. Then take lots of dry flour, and roll the dumpling of the dough and stuffing flat and thin. Make sure that the stuffing doesn’t ooze out, that’s why you need lots of flour. Then, on a flat pan, cook it till one side puffs up, then flip it over and cook it till it’s evenly brown on both sides. Eat it warm, with ghee, which is clarified butter.”

This is typically eaten during Holi, which is the festival of colors. It represents spring; it’s supposed to invite spring. It generally happens during March or April. My mom learned the recipe from her mom. They used to make this a lot in her, and she said she used to just love it and eat it as often as she could. She used to eat this as a snack after school, and would even eat it cold with lots of ghee. This is a difficult dish to make, so it would be made once a year and they would make a lot of it. It’s a difficult process and takes a lot of effort, so my mom doesn’t make it very often. When she goes back to India she brings Puran Poli back to eat. Nowadays, it is made readymade for people to buy and eat anytime. Before, people just used to make it in their own homes.

I actually had no idea that Puran Poli was supposed to be eaten during the Holi festival. I never associated it with a certain time of the year, and don’t remember being told that it was supposed to be eaten during Holi. I knew that Puran Poli was a treat to eat and that I didn’t get to eat it that often, and if my mom made it, she made a lot at one time. Now whenever someone goes to India, usually one of my parents, they bring back lots of Puran Poli because it’s easy to find and buy in large quantities. Since I don’t know much about Indian customs and traditions, I am just going to agree with my mom that it probably is supposed to be eaten during Holi.