Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Puranpoli and a fight against plagiarism, come join us..

She would stand and roll these to perfection, year after year. She stood alone and I mean, as a person as well as, when making puranpoli. 
Aaji, my dear Aaji. Her small, gentle hands  had surprising strength, she would knead the puranpoli dough, no food processor. It was hard work, making dough for 50-60 puranpolis. 
Every Ganpati, we would go to Aaji's. The night before and help my Mama (maternal uncle) put up the decoration for the next day.
Then late into the night, with a zero watt bulb glowing softly, we would lie down on mattresses on the floor and listen to old film songs, Hindi and sometimes Marathi. we would hum along with Lata Mangeshkar or Kishore Kumar, sometimes Suman Kalyanpur would sing in her melodious voice  and sometimes it was Pt. Bhimsen Joshi who mesmerized us with his classical singing!
The next day, we would wake up very early, get ready and wait at the door, for the priest, "Aaji, aga guruji ale" we would yell, announcing his arrival and rush into the kitchen to see what Aaji was doing and  eat sabudana khichadi, the objective was, keep us out of the way, so Mama and the priest could go ahead with the puja! Once the  puja was underway, Aaji assisted by her daughters and daughter in law would start lunch preparation. The menu was mostly fixed, Varan-bhat, batata bhaji, katachi amti, koshimbir, chutney, ukdiche modak and the star, puranpoli! 
We would watch her  make the dough, we called it chewing gum dough, it was that elastic. We would  wash our hands (naivedyachi ahe puranpoli, mulinno, hath dhuvun ghya, Aaji would warn us, but never restricted us) and touch the dough, pulling it and stretching it and giggling.
We could hardly wait for  lunch. 
Sometimes we  would grumble... the priest would eat before we did and we would watch with fascinated horror at how  they devoured puranpolis and worried if there were any left for us! 
Aaji would just smile gently and reassure us, there were plenty, don't worry.

Perhaps, her perfect puranpolis were the reason why none of her (3) daughters or daughter-in-law ever tried making puranpolis, ever

The only person who comes close to her level of expertise or perfection is my Mother in Law. 
When my in laws visited us, I took lessons from her. It is not easy to learn in two lessons, but she is a good teacher and I was a very willing student.

Over the last 3 years I have made puranpolis sparingly, just on M's birthday or  Diwali. It is time consuming.
I had some old pictures I had taken when my in laws were visiting and never got to posting about these.
A week or two ago, I made puranpoli, no reason, I just felt like it.And for the first time, my puranpolis were, great! 
I was so excited!  for one moment, as I stood in my kitchen, I felt like my late Aaji was standing behind me, smiling, proud of me.

I had some old pictures, step wise, detailing the process. 

Here is what you need to make the puranpolis:

For the outer cover:
2 Cups Atta / wheat flour
1/4 cup oil ( yes you need it!)
Water to bind the dough
Pinch of salt

For the puran (filling):

2/3 cup Chana daal
2/3 Cup Jaggery ( I use soft jaggery)
4 Cardamoms, powdered
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg powder (Jaiphal powder)

Prepare the Puran (filling). This can be made ahead of time.
Wash the  Chana Daal in changes of water. Till the water runs clear.

Traditionally, the daal is cooked n stove top with plenty of water (which is later used in making 'katachi amti') But I use my pressure cooker to save time and energy.
Place the chana daal  (with double amount of water)and pressure cook it for 3 whistles.
After the pressure subsides, transfer the daal to a non-stick pan, add the jaggery and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
While the filling is still semi solid, use an immersion blender and blend the puran to a smooth pasty consistency.
Alternately or traditionally, the puran is cooked and run thru a food mill to get a smooth, lumpfree filling. If you have a food mill (also called puran yantra), you can use it later, to mill the filling.

You need to cook the filling till it is dry, have patience, it takes a while. The filling has to come together into a stiff ball. Place a spoon ( with a long handle)  directly into the puran, if the spoon stands straight, as you inserted it, the puran is ready. if the spoon slides sideways, keep cooking and drying it out.
Cool and add the powdered cardamom and nutmeg powder, mix and keep aside.

In a large mixing bowl, place the flour and make sprinkle the salt and stir to incorporate it in, make a well in the center. slowly add half the oil and mix, add water very carefully and mix into a smooth and soft dough.
You need to be careful with the liquids and add them carefully and gradually to make a smooth and pliable dough. Once done, cover and let it rest for a while. After about 10 minutes, sprinkle some water and a tsp of oil over the dough and knead it in. Repeat after another 10-15 mins and cover and let the dough rest. If you pull out a bit of the dough, it should be soft and elastic.
Once you are ready to make the puranpolis, Keep everything handy, the dough, the filling and heat the skillet on medium high.
Traditionally, rice flour is used for dusting. You can use regular wheat flour too.

Pinch off a small ball of dough and  flatten it in your palm, make a well and stuff a good portion of the filling in it. Look at the picture above (R2, C1), it has to be a generous amount of filling, you don't want doughy puranpolis, they have to be sweet!

Slowly pull the edges over and seal to form a ball. Pinch off the excess dough and pat it into a... patty .

Dust with flour (rice flour or atta) and roll out. Be gentle, use pressure evenly but do not press hard on the patty.
The rice flour will help the patty slide about in a way that makes it easy to roll it out.

Roll the poli thin and gently lift and lay on the hot skillet. Let it cook and brown , keep an eye but do not flip, this will cause it to break in the middle and all the filling will spill out.

Turn and cook on the other side, fold in half and remove from the skillet and place it on a tissue.
Repeat with the rest of the filling and dough.

When serving, smear a generous amount of toop / ghee. Do NOT skip the toop/ghee part, it helps with digesting the puran/ filling of chana daal. ( No ghee= tooting, mind it! ;) )

Puranpoli can also be served with ghee smeared inside ( mandatory) and some milk with a bit of kesar/ saffron infused to give it an extra oomph! for dipping the poli in.

*NOTES
- Some people make these with 100% All Purpose Flour
- You can mix 50% APF and 50% Atta, if you wish. I always prefer  100 wheat flour.
-Do not skimp on the oil. You will make these once in  while, go all the way :)
- These store well and freeze well.
-If you wish to freeze  the puranpolis, layer the polis ( I cook them and then freeze) between sheets of waxed paper and store in a freezer safe ziplock or container.
- Do NOT omit the ghee.
























Now picture this, I slaved in my kitchen, hours at a time to make a 'special something' for my family. I rush to take pictures in failing light and a hungry family waiting.
I fuss with angles, and click my tongue in exasperation. Settle for less than fab pictures and  run to the table to sit down for my meal.
Later, on a full tummy and resembling and feeling like a python after a full meal, I waddle off to clean up and then after all the work is done, my son tucked up for the night, I sit down to write a post.
It takes time, energy and effort to put it all down on the  blog. It is love and labor.
It cuts like a knife when someone copies the recipe and the pictures and passes them off as their 'own recipe'. It happens all the time. It's sad, heartbreaking even.
It happened recently to Anjali.
It happened to me too, on a Face book page,' chavdaar ani chatakdaar' where this was picture stolen.
Complaints, arguments, frustration over how brazen some people are to thieve, like it comes naturally to them.
Raise your hands if you are against such people.

Thank you.

Lets all come together to try and stop this outright thievery. Preeti is doing just that and invites us all to join in. She also has a giveaway, the 'assal Marathi' cook book 'Ruchira', a book that many mothers and daughters have relied on.

I am participating and I hope you will too. Spread the word for the fight against plagiarism.
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42 comments:

  1. Vaeet ga tu!!!! ase PP che photo lavtes ani te sudha bhar dupari!!! Aata mala banvavi lagnar na...jokes apart, I know what you mean when you say My aji made the best that none of the family ever made them, happens to my mom, she makes them so well, that we never dared until I landed here. I make them once in a while. IN March I make them for sure, yet to reach my moms perfection, but I will age into it someday!! Katachi amti kuthe aahe???
    Love Ash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehehe! I want ot be as good as my Aaji and MIL, one day, maybe !
      Katachi amti nahi keli, I pressure cooked the peas, that left them with little to no water! That said, I also used Hursts brand peas, so they were super easy to cook!

      Delete
  2. What a fantastic write up! Mala Majhya Ajichi athvan ali:) Sundar lihile ahes. I love Puranpoli and relish kat as well. Thank you for joining in together we can fight all evils around us:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for hosting this event! We need to be careful around us, sad, but true.
      On a different note, saglya Aajya experts astat Puran polya karnyat, na? nothing like Aaji's love and puranpolis, I say!

      Delete
  3. perfect puran poli. do visit my space too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kitchen Queen.
      I will visit your space.

      Delete
  4. Puran poli is too good... Even I have the same in my draft to post soon...

    ReplyDelete
  5. perfect and delicious puran poli.lovely post!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,

    Where do you get the soft jaggery in US, and which brand? I have never found it in indian store (northern CA). All, I see is a bag of hard jaggery blocks.

    Thanks.

    Smu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Smu, we have boxes labelled as 'soft jaggery/ gud' in out Indian store, here in Dallas and I have found similar in Los Angeles area. It was not branded, i'm afraid. You can ask your grocer for it, they will stock if you request or manage to procure some

      Delete
  7. Beautiful write-up.Enjoyed every bit of it, it was as if I relived those moments in your house, so real was the scene depicted. Tasty puran polis, love it any time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ms.Chitchat! I have such beautiful memories from my Grandma's home, they are always a pleasure to relive.

      Delete
  8. Puran Poli tops my list of favorite foods...My mom always made it on my b'day...But she uses Toor Daal in place of Chana daal. But i have tasted this version also..I like this as also, especially when it is dipped in ghee :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, TecI believe the toor daal version is popular in Gujarati cuisine. It is a great variation.

      Delete
  9. Oh and loved the way you and your friends have taken a stand against plagiarism...I believe that only the original and ethical bloggers are popular and not the copy cats...
    I would love to take part in the give-away. But not sure whether i'll be able to cook a marathi dish soon enough....But will try...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful writeup.....puranpoli looks yummy.. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I enjoyed reading your post..Pural poli and ghee are inseparable indeed...nothing can beat this..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Deepa! I love this combo :)

      Delete
  12. Loved your post ! And your puran polis have turned out perfect, looks so tempting !!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Manasi, loved your recipe pictures and the write up. This post is a perfect example of originality. So many of us have shared a recipe of Puranpoli, each one sharing their experience and memories. Above all sharing your own pictures with a distinct mark of your personality and creativity on it. Good you also use the watermark, that is a must to stop these thieves, it has taken me 6 yrs of blogging to accept it and practice it now. Thank you for joining us to bring the plagiarist to public shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you,Anjali!
      So many beautiful memories are woven around food, aren't they?
      I started using the watermark after my picture of Til Wadi was stolen. It was an eye opener.

      Delete
  14. Gosh! Loved the pic where the puranpoLi is on tawa all puffed up! Lovely pics. I was never fortunate to eat my grandmother's signature dishes. My paternal grandmother expired before I was born and maternal grandma was bed ridden.. But she had a lot of stories to share! Amma makes puran poLi with APF. We make either with jaggery or with sugar. I love the one with sugar more than jaggery when it comes to Puranpoli..I am going to make this soon with Atta as you suggested

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is that puanpolis, when made originally, were made with APF, the flour is elastic which makes it easy to roll with.for health reasons we moved on to using wheat flour. But truth be told, many of the store bought flour mixes have APF in them!
      I love the earthy taste of jaggery and wheat flour, ummmmmm!

      Delete
  15. Too sad that a sweet memory of childhood, of loving Aaji and her signature puran polis has to end with disturbing events. Shame to people who do not hesitate in doing such mean unethical practises.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rajani, it is sad that people steal pictures. Why not just give credit? I guess sharing does not come easily to such people :(
      More is the pity.

      Delete
  16. This is superb- I haven't seen anyone outside our family knead the dough so soft and elastic! I was always taught that the real test of the perfect puran poli is a very thin and flaky crust and substantial filling of puran.... Bravo- yours are perfect! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. A tough call against plagarism.Nice recipe.I don't have a grinder Pallavi,just a mixie.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello Manasi,
    i support you in this cause again plagarism. Shockingly, just came across a recipe in a blog and the same recipe, and same image (more cropped) was seen else where. let me just try to dig it out and will definitely share.

    by the way, not sure if you remember..i was into blogging years back as "the Kitchen Scientist". tuk a break and is back with a fresh page. Some how, your blog name just rang bells and it did sound very familiar.
    Happily following you. Do pop in my space as well and stay connected.

    Sona - Quick Picks
    http://www.ieatonline.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  19. wow..delicious and tempting .

    Ongoing event:
    Celebrate - Easter
    in my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear Mansi,
    I have just written a post on the plagiarism that i accidently noticed. Plz do visit my space.
    Sona - Quick Picks
    http://www.ieatonline.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. Manasi, there is something about puran polis that brings out the nostalgia in all of us. I always think of my aayi when I make mine. It was lovely to read about your aaji who sounds just perfect.
    I am with you on the plagiarism. I have often ignored it in the past because there's only so much you can do, but recently I thought I wouldn't any more. So when I found two blatant copies of my mango cupcakes -- accidentally, during a Google search-- I wrote to these bloggers. One of them was so shameless, she actually got into an argument with me. It was galling and appalling! In our lovely world of food blogging, these incidents certainly leave a bad taste in the mouth.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This is an excellent recipe, the best I've found on the net. I followed your directions with good results--almost the way 'mother made it'! I've some queries:
    ~~Did you use up ALL the oil (1/4 cup) in the dough? The recipe has only one teaspoon for every knead after the initial one.
    ~~Your dough looks saturated with oil but after following your recipe word to word, mine still looked dry.
    ~~How do I make them soft so that the poli doesn't split or break when folding.
    ~~Does the dough always have to be freshly made? I kept the leftover dough in the fridge. When I used it again after a day, the polis became crumbly though still soft.

    Help! Desperate to make the perfect poli.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Anuradha! Your feedback is precious.
      To answer your query, yes, I used all the oil mentioned.
      The dough should be small and the puran ball at least twice that of the dough.

      Since the dough has all that oil, it is very supple, it will stretch and roll to a thin puran poli, just keep the pressure light and roll evenly.

      In my case, the puran poli balloons up, when getting cooked
      On the second side and splits on the griddle ( but then, that is a sure sign of success ) 😊.
      I always make a large quantity of puran and dough and have always kept extras in the fridge to be used up over the next few days even upto 10-12 days, puran is long lasting, never had any problem! Go right ahead.

      Delete
    2. Many thanks, Manasi, for your quick and detailed reply. With your help, I'm well on my way to success. One bridge yet to be crossed is to get the puran to spread evenly, and to the edges. Working on it :)

      Delete

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