Follow the Hindu Moon

                                                                                                         A guide to the festivals of south India

                                                                                              Soumya Aravind Sitaraman

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Festival Food



Sweet Recipes

Pooran Poli

Paal Poli


Sweet Recipes



Soumya Aravind Sitaraman

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We celebrate India's culinary finesse with vegetarian delicacies. Look here for recipes, tips and culinary adventures. Share your special festival treats.

Pooran Poli

This skittle browned sweet delicacy looks like a stuffed chapati. Often made for festivals and many auspicious days, it is simple, filling, nutritious and a delight to eat when served with melted ghee.

Preparation time : 25 minutes

Cooking time : 30 minutes

Serves : 68


For the filling

1 cup split Bengal gram chana dal

1cup or powdered jaggery

1cup grated coconut

6 pods cardamom, powdered 

2 tbsp sesame oil


For the dough

2 cups white flour

2 cups wheat flour

 (4 cups of either flour is acceptable.) Usually poli is made only with white flour, however I mix the two to make a healthier neivedyam

2 tbsp ghee

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

A dash of salt

water to knead


Special equipment, tools required

A pressure cooker

A masher or blender

A flat ladle

A heavy bottomed skittle

Banana leaf or butter paper about 4"x4"

A dish to set aside



The filling

Pressure cook the lentil with just enough water so that it mashes into a thick paste.

Mash well. Set aside 

Add the grated coconut, cardamom and blend to a thick paste. alternatively mash      well using a wooden masher.

Put your grated/powdered jaggery in a kadai and heat

Add the lentil-coconut thick paste and cook over a low fire

The jaggery melts and binds the mixture together in a thick consistency. 

Set aside

The dough.

Mix all the ingredients together and adding a little water at a time, knead to a soft dough.

The process

1. Make golf ball sized balls with your dough

2. Dip your fingers in a little sesame oil and press the ball into a flat circle on the banana leaf or butter paper..

3. Place a ball of the filling in the center and close the dough over the filling. Pinch to seal like a garlic pod and remove excess dough.

4. Flatten and press once more into a slim disc on the leaf or butter paper. Dip fingers in oil once more if necessary as you flatten. Alternatively, use a rolling pin and roll out into a slim flat disc.

5. Heat and lightly grease a flat skillet, slow cook.

6.Serve hot with Ghee. 

Alternative methods

1. Cook the lentil in a kadai or microwave it first until done. Regulate the water accordingly. If runny, you will just have to keep stirring in a kadai until it is thick.

Tips and techniques

If the polis turn out a little too hard when cool, try making your dough softer and keeping the dough in 2 tbsp oil as you knead and roll. 

The polis keep well and make a great snack for kids.

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A Random House India Publication

Soumya Aravind Sitaraman (c) 2007. All Rights Reserved