Monday, June 24, 2013

Polya ki Chapatya? I prefer Fulkas!

* Disclaimer: This post is written for entertainment and not for any discussion, please treat it as such.

Years ago, I was sitting in the cafeteria, after a late shift and sharing my lunch ( in this case dinner) box with a friend. 
We were both super hungry and ate fast and talked fast too. As we were finishing I asked, "shevatchi chapati, you want?" ( last flat bread, you want?) and he just stopped eating... just stared at me, all wide eyed and shocked. I was surprised, I was not speaking with my mouth full, did not spit out a crumb, so what just happened? 
He  bent towards me and in a sibilant whisper said, "aga, chapati kay? apan POLI mhanto"(hey, we do not say chapati,  we say poli)
I tut-tutted and said, "eat... forget the distinction, same ingredients, different name".

That was about 8 years or so ago. I forgot about that incident until very recently.

Let me side track you all a bit. While I am not a big fan of TV serials, there are a few that I do watch and like. I do not subscribe to any Desi channels (what's the use? all we do is watch cartoons) and so I catch my share of Marathi TV Serials on
It all started when my Mom told me (last year) about this nice family worthy serial, 'Eka lagnachi dusri goshta' and M and I were hooked!
And now, there is another serial I watch, ' Tuja majha jamena' which revolves around lives of typical 'Marathi- Brahman (ko'bra and de'bra)' families and there are scenarios (and digs) that many of us are familiar with.
It was in one of the serials that I came across the 'poli/ chapati' debate again.
It is a cultural thing. In a typical Marathi Brahmin home, the everyday humble flat bread is referred to as Poli and in a non-brahmin home it is chapati (poli is strictly- puranpoli), as you have guessed by now.
I put this question on my FB Page too. check it out!

I don't care what it is called, but I do have a preference. I like fulkas more than poli or chapati.
So what is the difference? Well, here are my 2 c. When I make a poli /chapati, I roll a bit of the dough into a small disc, brush with some oil and fold it into a triangle, dust with flour and roll into a round flat bread ( yep, roll the triangle into a round disc- and yes, it is possible, with a bit of practice) and roast it on a hot tawa, one can drizzle a few drops of oil while roasting the flat-bread or brush with home made ghee once it is done.

Whereas a fulka, is the simpler (and healthier) version, just roll a lime sized ball of dough into a round disc and roast on a hot tawa and then flame toast it. A slight variation in the cooking technique as compared to the regular poli / chapati.

The ingredients are the same, wheat flour, water, salt and oil- being optional, whether you make poli / chapati or a fulka.

Here is what you need:
* I have watched my Mother and Grandmother make these for so many years that I do not have exact measurement. The trick is to make a supple dough. Add water slowly and mix as you do. Knead, knead and knead some more, the dough should be soft and smooth ( like a baby's bottom)

(this proportion should make about 8-10 fulkas. This also depends on the size of the dough ball, I am giving an estimate)

2 Cups Wheat Flour ( I prefer Aashirwaad Brand)
2 hefty pinches salt
A Drizzle of oil ( optional)

In a  mixing bowl add the wheat flour and salt and mix.
Slowly add water ( Make a well in the middle and add water) and mix flour and water to knead  the mix into a soft and pliable dough.

At first the dough is very sticky and seems un-manageable. Relax, and knead. The more you knead, the softer and smoother it will get. I dust my hands with flour and remove all the bits of dough clinging to my fingers and knead it into the big dough ball. No wastage.

Alternatively, use your food processor. Add the flour and salt and pulse. With the food processor still running, slowly add water.
This takes a bit of getting used to and getting the quantity of water right. I found that I do not estimate it well and end up using too much water and then  had to add flour, all in all ended up with twice and a bit more times the dough I wanted! but once you have the quantities in place,  it is a breeze to use !

Once the dough is ready, cover and keep it aside for at least 10-15 mins.

When you are ready to make fulkas, keep everything you need at hand.
The rolling pin ( latna) , Rolling board ( polpaat), Griddle (tawa), and if like me, you have a stove ( coil), you might want to buy 'fulka/ papad roaster' it is like a grill ( picture below). Wheat flour for dusting.

To begin, make small (lime sized) balls of the dough and keep them in the mixing bowl.
Set the griddle on medium - high

Dredge one dough ball in flour and place it on the rolling board ( see picture below)

Applying even pressure, start rolling the dough. Dust with additional flour as required to keep the dough ball from sticking to the rolling board. Since the dough ball is small, the fulka will be  a small one, 5-6" only. Ideally, the fulka should be paper thin. This is not easily manageable in the initial attempts, but it gets easier with practice.

Carefully transfer the fulka on to the hot skillet. Cook on the first side for about 20 seconds, you will see the dough bubble up ever so slightly and the fulka will be dry on the slightly cooked side ( picture below). At this point, flip it over and cook the second side. Cook this, 2nd. side, well ( until warm brown  spots appear) 

At this point, when the second side is well cooked place it- the 20 second side cooked down- on the grill and let it puff up ( if that sounds confusing, check out the picture below)

Hang on, it still has capacity to balloon up!

THERE!  This is how you want your fulka! All puffed up and balloon like!

Remove from the grill / roaster and smear with ghee (calorie conscious people will tut-tut, but I assure you, that smidgen of ghee takes the fulka to a new high and also keeps it soft, longer) and serve with a vegetable side of our choice or even sweet.

* Notes:
Roll the flat bread using even and gentle pressure

Toast on medium high ( I use number 7 or 8 on my stove)

Adding salt to the flour is optional, but I always do, IMO, it enhances the taste.

I keep the fulkas wrapped in tissue paper, this absorbs the steam and keeps the fulkas soft, longer. Alternatively, use cheesecloth or an old but washed handkerchief.

To re-heat any left over fulkas, pat a tissue paper / handkerchief with water and make it damp. Place the fulkas in it and close on all sides and nuke it in the microwave for 20-25 seconds. 
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  1. u r roti's look so soft.thanks for sharing the kneading technique.

  2. Hello...

    Poli / chapati - I can so relate to this. I grew up saying Poli (coming from a kobra family) and married into a family that says chapati. Whenever I go to my mom's place and say poli - I am promptly corrected by my son (all of 6 years) - 'mamma apan chapati mhanto'... lol.

    Chapati / Poli - its a fine art.. I think its the toughest thing to cook..

    Thanks for a lovely post..

    Take care,

    1. LOL! Meenal, that is so funny! And ur li'll one is so observant!

  3. delicious and tempting phulkas.I am very hungry.

  4. No one can beat the simple pleasure of hot poli with tup and sakhar. I have been hooked to the serial ever since I saw the promos. Its an advanced version chawl naavchi vachal vasti. You have mastered the art of making phulkas on the hot plate,I am still miles away.
    Love Ash.

    1. Oh yes, Ash! Gul-toop-poli and toop-sakhar-poli! Umm, mmm, mmm! Before I got the grill, I made our regular, ghadichi poli, infact, at one point of time ( when I had to switch to using the coil stove, I had almost given up on making decent poli / fulkas!)
      I like these marathi serials, they have come a long way and are light and entertaining.

  5. We are hooked to 'Tujha ni Majha Jamena' on apalimarathi too and had a good laugh at this 'polya-chapati' and 'kaku-kaki' jokes. I was born into a colony/society surrounded with neighbours just as shown in the serial so I really enjoy watching this and ALL my life and even today I am often 'corrected' by different set of people for my choice of words used in their company. Didnt Shakespere wonder 'What's in a name?' well some people would love to tell Shakespere how much a name reveals about the people using it, I just find it strange that such things matter so much to some that it gives them goosebumps hearing another word for the same thing! I call it poli/chapati/fulka depending on whom I am talking to just to avoid the awkwardness :-) There's more, 'PaaNi pyaycha bhaanda v/s Pela', ' BaDli' v/s 'BaLdi', 'Mummy v/s Aai' ohhh it's endless!

    - Priti

    1. I grew up in colony too, mix of all castes and I came across so many 'differences'. I liked the poli my mom made, but also really liked the 'chapati' one neighbor 'kaku' made and I admit, I loved the 'rassa bhaji' at her home, with the 'vataN- ghaTan' that is not typical to a my home. It was so tasty!

  6. I am a fulka gal too. :) It's so much healthier and less work without all the folding and the oiling in between. Your fulka looks perfect.
    I am not into much desi TV or movies, but feeling a bit nostalgic the other day I started watching a Marathi movie named "Gandha" on YouTube--it's a medley of three short films. I have only watched the first one but it was absolutely delightful-- about this young woman whose parents are trying to find her a groom and she decides to take matters in her own hands.

    1. Thank you, Vaishali. I love making fulkas, easy and quick!

      Oh I saw Gandha too, it has Milind Soman, right!? I liked the movie, I like the way Marathi cinema has evolved and they are making movies that deal with real life, not just dhishoom-dhishoom!
      Check out, Premachi Goshta, its a nice movie.

  7. This was a fun read, especially right after making a large batch of polis. I switch between fulkas and polis depending on what goes with them. As you can tell, I grew up with the name 'poli' and 'chapati' is a big no-no in my maternal house. And what do you know..I married a guy who calls them 'chapatis' :D. I'm getting used to the idea of just serving when asked "ek chapati milel ka", instead of correcting him every time. While we make peace in most other arguments, neither of us will give up on this issues - so we agree to disagree :).

  8. wow !! loved the way it bloomed ..very tempting pulkas. and..feel free to drop by my space too when you get the time. Just jotted some handy tips on "sane motherhood" on my "Picks quicks" blog. lets keep connected beyond the kitchen as well....

  9. delicious phulkas and nice click,,, hey m ur new follower, pls see my blog

  10. Stunning and prefect phulkas, very beautiful post.

  11. oh my, its only Poli for me.. coming from a karade brahmin household with a de'bra mother. Chapati just makes me cringe - even now. Fulkas are something else and thats what I make now too.The best, lightest fulkas came from my maushi -who was trained well by her MIL.

  12. Great information about poli/chapati. How many polis did you make out of 2 cups of flour. That will give me an estimate on the size of the dough ball I should make. Thank you very much for taking the time to write a detailed post.

    1. It all depends on the size of the individual dough ball. Roughly, a lime sized ball is used. You can vary it to suit your needs ( I use bigger portions for my husband who counts and eats)
      To start with, use one cup flour, see how the method and everything falls in place for you. Increase the quantity once you get the feel and hang of it.


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