Happy Ugadi to you all! 🙂
Ugadi is the Hindu New Year’s Day for the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh (and any more I may have missed out) that follow the Lunar calendar. The rest of India follows the Solar calendar, and celebrates Hindu New Year’s on April 14th. In Karnataka, Ugadi is celebrated with as much fervour as any other state, and the first thing that I would associate with Ugadi is Holiges/Obbattus/Polis! For me, the food associated with each festival is most important, all else comes second!
On the day of Ugadi here in Karnataka, people offer each other Neem flowers mixed with shreds of jaggery; they call it Bevu-Bella (Kannada for neem and jaggery) and wish you a good year ahead. The neem signifies the hardships we may face, and jaggery, the happy moments that lie ahead. They also make holige/polis/sweet stuffed paranthas, Ugadi pachadi, and ‘Chitra-anna'(flavoured rice in many variants).
Having been born and raised in Bangalore makes me no less a Bangalorean than the original localites, and I enjoy Ugadi as much as I enjoy Vishu. The advantage of your family hailing from one place, but actually settling down at another for generations, has it’s benefits I must say. Ask me why? B’cos you get to learn to cook (and eat) all the variety of food from both ethnicities! Hah! What a smart man my great great great grandpa was, to move from Palakkad to Bangalore! 😛
We had a family Ugadi potluck lunch at my place today. I made these polis, rasam, summer salad and some curd rice. Amma brought over bisibelebath and my Mother-in-law brought some khus-khus payasam. Burp! I’m. in. food. coma. Are you? 😉
Without further ado, here’s a tried and tested recipe for Puran Poli / Paruppu Poli / Bele Holige. I made them yesterday after getting the recipe and instructions from Amma, and they have turned out just that way I wanted: the soft, melt-in-the-mouth kind! And there, peeking at you from the top left hand corner of the pic is some bevu-bella for you all, as well.
For the dough:
- Maida/All purpose flour – 2 paavs (approx: 4 cups, of standard cup size) + more for dusting, later on
- Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Water – as required
- Oil – 1 cup (standard cup size) + 3-4 tbsps
For the stuffing:
- Tur Dal – 1 1/2 paavs
- Jaggery – 1 paav, pounded to small pieces (if the jaggery is very sweet, you could use slightly less)
- Sugar – 2 tbsps
- Elachi – 1/4 tsp, finely powdered
- Oil – 2 tbsps
I made 20 polis with this proportion, and I was left with neither the dough nor the stuffing in the end. (Perfect proportion Amma, thank you!)
Nifty Tip in case of SOS:
- Some varieties of jaggery aren’t sweet enough, and you would have to add a lot more than what I’ve mentioned, to make sure the Puran (stuffing) is sweet enough. In that case, the puran might end up being runny due to the additional water content from the extra jaggery. If that happens, quickly powder a handful of roasted gram (hurigadle/pottu kadalai) with 1-2 tbsps of sugar and add to the Puran. This will help stabilise the consistency. I would add the sugar so that the roasted gram doesn’t end up bringing down the sweetness level of the Puran.
- For the dough, take a wide bowl and mix all the dry ingredients together – maida, turmeric powder and salt. Add water and knead to a dough that has the consistency of puri dough.
- Add 1/2 cup oil and knead well for 2-3 minutes. The oil will get soaked up in no time.
- Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil and continue to knead another 3-4 minutes. At this stage, I lift the entire mass of the dough to about 2-3 feet above the bowl and throw it back into the bowl with maximum force (This is also a good way to deal with your frustrations, if any!)
- Once the dough is well-kneaded (it should be really rubbery by now), top with 3-4 tbsps oil, cover and let it rest for atleast 2-3 hours (I let mine accidentally rest for 4 hours, and the dough was extremely well-behaved and obedient when I started to roll out the polis!)
- Now get the stuffing ready as your dough is soaking up the oil. Pressure cook the tur dal to a soft, smooth texture with minimum water. In case you do end up with watery cooked dal, don’t start sweating bullets. Transfer the cooked dal to a colander and leave it like that for half an hour, and let the colander do the work of removing all the excess water from your dal.
- Once you have a firm, but soft mass of the dal (consistency of aloo parantha stuffing), heat 2 tbsps of oil in a wok.
- Add the cooked dal, pounded jaggery pieces and sugar. Heat on a medium flame and stir till the jaggery and sugar melt to fuse with the dal. Cook on medium for about 15-20 minutes till all the excess water has evaporated. Remove from flame.
- Stir-in the elaichi and allow the stuffing/puran to cool.
- Once your dough has soaked up the oil, take a small portion, about the size of a lime.
- Dust with maida and flatten to a circle of 3 inches diameter, with a rolling pin.
- Take a small portion of the stuffing and roll into a ball.
- Place in the centre of the rolled out dough and draw the edges of the flattened dough towards the centre to cover the mixture (like a potli).
- Dust with more flour, flatten slightly with your hand, turn it over and roll-out to a thickness of a stuffed parantha (you will be amazed to see how a lime-sized portion of the dough is turning into a poli that is atleast 8-10 inches in diameter).
- Heat a griddle/tawa and cook both sides of the poli on a low/medium flame.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough and stuffing till done.
- Serve the Puran Polis warm, once you have drizzled them with copious amounts of ghee. Just the thought of the ghee melting on the polis will get my clothes shrinking now! Bon Appetite!