Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sheera Poli / Sanjori (a thank you for sacrifices made, small and big)

My childhood was spent in a colony (corporate apartment community), surrounded by people, thousands of people. Really... 48 apartments to one building and about 30 such buildings formed the entire community. There were plenty of friends and homes to visit. One never was at a loss of what to do or felt neglected. I never felt any lack of attention at home or outside. 
We had a T.V at home. So? Big deal! Yes, it was in those days. Even though it was a black and white T.V set.  We lived in Quarters and many homes did not have a telly. 
Now back in those days, there was one channel, DoorDarshan - DD1 and they would telecast news and movies, Hindi and Marathi movies over the weekend. That, was the highlight of the week for the entire neighborhood. 
Promptly in the evening people wold pour into our living room and make themselves comfortable, anywhere. Early birds would get the sofa and chairs, stragglers would  sit criss-cross on a 'satranji' ( rug) and wait expectantly.
This did not go down well with me. I could not digest this lack of attention.  A house full  of people and all paying rapt attention to the T.V! Nobody played with me, in fact they would  ask my dad if  he would hold me  or  get me to sit quietly on his knee! Well! I was having none of that!  I waited my chance, once the movie had started ( after the long list of titles) I slipped off my Dad's lap or emerged from wherever I was hiding, stand in front of the T.V, arms akimbo and glare at the crowd who was buzzing with annoyance already and  command, " T.V. BANDH" (bandh, meaning shut / close/ switch off). Nobody knew what to do, a three foot nothing was not an imposing figure but as the host's daughter and a general darling of the crowd ( except at movie time) , they could not toss me like a bag of potatoes in the corner and get on with the program.... My parents would share slightly alarmed, highly embarrassed looks and give me pointed looks, which I promptly chose to ignore and continue my rant. Finally my Mother had a brainwave, she ran into the bedroom, grabbed her purse and slipped her feet into sandals and scooped me up in her arms and bore me out of the house, without a word to anyone but sending my Dad a silent message that she would return when the movie was over. 
She took me to Shivaji Park to the kids area and shoved a plastic toy pail and shovel in my hand and  sat me in the sand pit to watch me dredge myself in sand and dirt and a beatific smile on my face. This continued for a long time, for years my Mom and sometimes my Dad sacrificed their evening entertainment for me, when in those days evening entertainment on the TV was the only one to be had with small children at home  I see that now, with a 3.5 year old- we do not have a baby sitter- going out  for a movie or just  a dinner date  is a wild  fantasy for M and I! We do not have access to  TV unless it is PBS Kids or cartoon network (I might as well add, that CN, today, is possibly the worst $h!? I have seen).
This post is for my parents, who are selfless people and sweet as can be! A tiny thank you for all the sacrifices, big and small they made for years  and still do. 

For me, Sheera Poli is associated with picnics or food on the go. The mild sweetness of sheera enveloped in soft roti dough and griddle fried with a dash of ghee makes it an easy to carry packet when out or even for lunch boxes. 

For the SHEERA:
1 Cup Rava / Sooji ( I used fine rava to get a smooth and extremely soft filling)
4 Tbsp Ghee
1 1/4 Cup Sugar ( more if you like sweet- sweet! add 1 1/2 cup total) 
3 Cups water
3-4 green Cardamoms, peel, remove seeds and pound to a fine powder.
Few strands Saffron- optional, If using, add to cardamom seeds when making a powder

For the Cover
2 Cups Roti Flour ( Atta/ wheat flour -sold in Indian stores) 
Water as required to make a soft and pliable dough
2 tsp oil- optional 
Pinch salt

To make the Sheera: 

Add 3 cups water and sugar to a sauce pan and heat ( on medium heat) and heat till the sugar dissolves, remove before the mixture boils, we do not want sticky syrup! 

In the mean time, heat a wok over medium heat, add ghee and roast the rava until golden and fragrant.

Lower the heat and add the syrup and mix well and ensure there are no lumps. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Remove lid and add some ghee to the sides  and then mix well. This is an additional tsp of ghee I use, those who are shocked, please leave this additional tsp. !  Cook uncovered for a couple of minutes till the sheera has a cooked look. 

Remove from the stove and add the cardamom- saffron powder, mix well to incorporate the spices.

Leave the sheera to cool.

While the sheera cools, make  the dough. 

In a wide bowl/ mixing bowl or your food processor, add the flour and salt ( oil , if using) and mix. Slowly add water and mix well to form a soft and pliable dough. Cover and keep for 10 minutes ( or more, if you are doing something else)

When ready to make Sheera Poli,  Heat the griddle on medium.

Pinch off a small portion of the dough, roll it in your palm to make a ball, dip it in dry wheat flour/  atta and place it on the rolling board and flatten it with your rolling pin to form a disc ( about 4 inches)

Place a ping pong sized ball of sheera on the disc, bring up the sides  and close them over the sheera, seal gently, but firmly and flatten, once again, dust with additional flour  and gently roll the dough into a roti. Do not add pressure as the filling may seep out. 

Deftly ( be gentle, as well) transfer the rolled sheera poli on the hot griddle. 

Turn the poli over in about 30 seconds, it will have light brown blister marks, apply/ brush with ghee ( ~huh!! who gasped???~!!!!~) and turn. Brush the  other side with ghee (~who fainted???!~) and cook till done.

Repeat for the rest for the dough. 

If you have left over dough, store it in the fridge for the next day to make plain roti/ fulkas. If you have left over sheera, take a small bowl, fill it with sheera, grab a spoon and  enjoy it as a  reward for making sheera poli! 

Wishing all the dear readers and well wishers of  A Cook @ Heart a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 
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  1. Very sweet story and you are so right- parenting takes precedence over TV and many other things. But please, do get an occasional baby-sitter and go out with M for a movie date or to a new restaurant or whatever. That's important too :) I've been exchanging baby-sitting with a friend and it is working well to give both sets of parents time to recharge.

  2. I did make this the night before and my kids loved it. We make sheera differently, but will try your way the next time I make some.
    I like eating sheera poli with some lime pickle or upasache limbu lonche...Yum Yum all the way.
    Love Ash.

  3. Sheera poli looks super delicious,would love to have some rite now..

  4. Thats such a sweet post. Sheera poli sounds heavenly, would love to try it sometime!

  5. What a sweet post, Manasi, and so heartfelt. I remember those days of community TV-watching, and you had me smiling as I read of all those people gathered in your living room.
    My stepmom would make amazing sanjori-- as you can tell, your post brought back more than one memory. :) Your sanjoris look beyond amazing.

  6. I was from that era when TV was available only in few houses, with only DD available. On rainy or windy day, we get only audio, my mom used to translate the Hindi movie for us :) We take for granted so many stuffs, that is a lovely post!
    The poli looks tasty!

  7. My dear friend, thank you for stopping by and for your holidays wishes.

    Love always.

  8. @Nupur sigh! I think it is a bit too late.. at 3.5 yrs, it may be difficult.. maybe another yr or 2 when he is a bit more independent...

  9. @Indulge never tried sheera poli with pickle... must say, sounds different and yum.

  10. I also similar sheera poli...but with addition of fav snack..

  11. Those sheera poli are marvelous! What a fabulous treat. Perfect alone or with chutney.

    Best wishes 2012!



  12. Manasi, the sheera looks so delicious it could tame anyone young and old alike! What a lovely story -- wishing you all a very happy new year :)

  13. Hi
    I loved your story and the way you have put in your post..
    Your sanjori looks so yummy mine does not come out this think and nice , it becomes a little flat...and thin
    Will try with your measurments.. did you stay in Union house or Saraswat colony?
    I stayed in Dadar all my childhood and have very fond memories of going to Shivaji park for a round as a child and a teenager .. great were those days..
    I never miss visiting Shivaji park even now when I visit my mom and also take a stroll around the grounds ,go to the Ganapati temple and eat either a chicken frankie or a crushed shevpuri at Gypsy corner.. heaven!!!


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