Lately I have been experimenting a lot with Maharashtrian cuisine, mainly due to the fact that most of my friends here are Marathi… And their love for Shreekhands, Modaks, Thalipeeths, Pithlas etc. have drawn me to explore more of these foods. And also because, I am falling in love with the simplicity of the meals, and the use of grains in our everyday diet.
Maharashtrian cuisine is an extensive balance of many different tastes and cuisines. You might often find flavours and foods inspired by the states of Gujarat, Goa and South India all across the state. Bajri, wheat, rice, jowar, vegetables, lentils, and fruit form important components of the Maharashtrian diet. Like other coastal states, there is an enormous variety of vegetables eaten, fish and coconuts are common along with nuts like peanuts and cashews.
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Coming to the recipe of today, its a version of the famous Poli ( stuffed Parantha / Chapati / Roti ). Polis are like chapatis with the puran (sweet prepared with lentils) stuffed in it. It is customary to prepare Poli/Holige during Ugadi/Gudi padwa. The most common version of Poli is Puran Poli which is made by stuffed Chana Daal. Today I have tried to make a Poli which is stuffed with dates, jaggery and sesame seeds. Together it imparts a rich, sweet flavour and can be eaten as dessert or with Peanut Chutney as a tradition.
Dates and Sesame seeds, both are known for their medicinal properties and health benefits. Combining these two superfoods with jaggery brings out the nicest flavours. Do try and enjoy with a cup of Coffee or simply with Sol Kadhi and dollops of Ghee as Maharashtrians love to do J
What you need?
For the dough
- 2 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
- ¼ cup warm milk
- ¼ warm water ( more or less, depending on the flour quality you have used )
- 1 tbsp ghee
For the filling
- ¾ cup dates ( khajoor ) - soaked in 2 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (til)
- ¼ cup powdered jaggery
How to make?
For the dough
- Prepare a soft dough using the flour, milk adding water little by little using only the minimum quantity.
- Cover it with a damp tea towel ( cotton cloth/ muslin cloth ) and keep aside for a 10-12 minutes. This makes the dough softer and more pliable.
For the filling
- Toast the sesame seeds over a medium flame, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned. Allow them to cool properly and then grind coarsely
- Meanwhile, make a course paste of dates with the milk they are soaked into. Don’t forget to take the seeds out before blending them in.
- Mix everything together and make a mass lump of the mixture.
- Divide into 4-6 equal portions and keep aside.
- Roll out one portion of the dough into a circle of 75 mm. (3") diameter and place one portion of the filling mixture in the centre of the circle.
- Bring together all the sides in the centre and seal tightly. Then roll out again into a circle of 125 mm. (5") diameter using flour to roll.
- Cook on a non-stick pan until both sides are brown, applying little Ghee both sides.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make 5-6 more Polis.
- Serve hot with dollops of ghee on top
Some Notes and variations:
- You may use All-purpose flour ( Maida ) to make these polis, or do a half-half of Whole wheat flour and APF. I like it best when its half-half, gives the smooth finish and nice soft texture.
- If you don’t like the taste of Jaggery, you may replace it with ¼ cup sugar. Brown sugar would work best
- These polis can be kept at room temperature for 24-30 hours and in fridge for upto 2 days.
- I also added some roasted peanut powder in half of the filling, and loved the taste. You may try that too as a variation.