Poli – a different story!

Poli can be called a roti with a sweet filling inside. It is popularly called Puran poli in Maharashtra. The filling inside is called puran and in tamil, puranam. It can be made in various combinations – paasi paruppu/split green gram and white sugar stuffed poli, kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram and white sugar poli or coconut-jaggery stuffed poli are a few.

My grandma – aachi is an expert in making polis. Since the time I understood the speciality of grandma’s cooking, quite young though, I have seen aachi prepare poli with the same passion and energy, as I saw her prepare for me and my husband a couple of months ago. It was never prepared in small quantities.. Only in fifties or hundreds and stored or specially made for other close relatives.

This aachi is my father’s mother and my mother’s father used to like poli a lot. (Her nei urundais are even more popular https://dosaikal.com/2011/08/02/paasi-paruppu-nei-urundai-yellow-lentil-sweet-balls/). So, she used to make it for him whenever we were traveling to see my maternal grandparents. This act of a sambandhi to another sambandhi was really touching for me as a youngster. This was only a relationship by marriage but the affection between both the parents is something that I cherish even today, and always feel lucky to be born in such a loving and caring family. (Sambandhi – sambdhan in hindi – is one’s son-in-law/daughter-in-law’s father/mother. I am not skillful enough to explain in English.)

Annaachi (brother) and Madhini (sis-in-law) as she would address them (Sambandhi) and other chithis and mamas (aunts and uncles) living in the big family of my mother would just love it (of course polis and the affection behind it)! Such was the warmth and love exchanged between those relatives by marriage…

Now, moving on to Poli..

When one wants to share many things and many more exotic things with friends around the world, surely there tends to be some over- enthusiasm and quite often over confidence too. That is the story of this Poli. I made this Poli with such enthusiasm and confidence, mind and heart filled with many old memories of aachi and poli. I completed it noting down details of the recipe with some photos too and felt quite happy of the result though not as perfect as aachi’s.

I spoke to amma, proudly told about the polis that I had made by myself and that the aroma was the same as those had in Chennai. She was happy too – just that she informed me aachi’s polis were made of kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram. I wouldn’t say I felt bad, I felt really very bad….that particular feeling is unexplainable – it was something more than embarassement and disappointment – my husband with a broad smile and daughter inquisitive to know what my reaction meant. But amma said, paasi paruppu poli would also be good – it is also healthy! I felt better.

I also read in Wikipedia that ‘Sometimes toor dal is used in Gujarat. In other places, even moong dal is used, even a mix of different lentils is used in some recipes’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puran_Poli). I felt even better.

Then that’s okay.. some blunders can also be wonders. The poli actually came out well – kind of flawless – just different in the lentil stuffed inside. Poli has all purpose flour as roti base. I thought I could substitute maida with atta/wheat flour. It didn’t make much difference – rather, without any guilt of having an empty calorie base, I was satisfied in the fibre rich base.

Paasi Paruppu Poli/Split green gram Poli

Ingredients (makes approximately 15 polis – might differ with the size of poli and quantity of pooranam)

  • paasi paruppu/split green gram/moong dal – 1 cup
  • sugar – 1 cup
  • cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • dry ginger powder – ¼ tsp
  • wheat flour – 2 cups
  • ghee – as needed
  • rice flour – 1 tsp


Method of Preparation


  1. Wash and pressure cook paasi paruppu/dal with just enough water till done
  2. In a heavy bottomed vessel, take cooked dal and sugar with cardamom powder and dry ginger powder
  3. Cook well till the mixture thickens and can be made into a ball
  4. Keep aside.


Roti base

Knead wheat flour with water and little oil into a fine dough to make rotis


Making Poli

1. Take a small portion of kneaded flour and roll it to a thin flat bread

2. Place a small portion of pooranam/filling

3. Fold in two positions as in picture

4. Fold the other two corners as in picture

5. Make a ball carefully and take out the extra flour – this helps in even distribution of filling

6. Roll into even flat breads by sprinkling rice flour


7. Heat a tawa/griddle and place the rolled poli

8. Let it cook on one side and then turn it to the other side

9. Apply generous amount of ghee for better polis or just as needed

10. Always apply ghee to the cooked side

11. Turn it again. Apply ghee on the other side too

12. Do not turn poli many times or else it might get burnt or become extra crispy

13. Serve hot and store the rest after cooling them well

14. Serve it hot with a spread of ghee every time.



  1. Generally polis made with the filling of lentil and white sugar can be stored even for 10 days.
  2. Original channa dal poli will be posted shortly.



6 thoughts on “Poli – a different story!

  1. Irine Rickets

    Hi I enjoy your posts, I follow your blog regularly, I hope you’ll soon post some main course – rice and curries!

  2. lakshmi

    Hi subbu, nice postings … In TN tradition, kadaiparuppu poli also famous . boiled mashed bengal gram with jaggery pahu with little ealch and sukku podi can also be a nice filling for poli..

    1. dosaikal Post author

      hi lakshmi, yes..kadalai paruppu poli is the most common. Aachi used to make polis with kadalai paruppu and sugar… unknowingly i tried with paasi paruppu and luckily came out well too! read the whole story behind the polis and you will understand my plight.

  3. AR

    reminds me a lot of my my mother-in-law and my father…………the story behind the poli seems almost mine!! my mil used to make just as you said, polis in 100s, spread out on a huge tambalam of about 2-3ft radius!! the entire day used to be devoted to making these pollis untiringly (the tiredness will be known next day only)……….and we used to have them not as a ‘sweet’ but as a ‘tiffin’………..then times changed, and I was making in 10s and 20s for my kids, but never used to be satisfied witht the quantity after being used to a big quantity…but I just couldn’t make such huge quantities all by myself…………..

    now, thanks to the roti maker, I can make huge quantities in just a little time, and all of us eat to our heartfill…and stomachfill…………..

    Wish the roti maker was there in those days…the earlier generation people would have made polis in 1000s!!!!

    1. dosaikal Post author

      Oh yes… Our grannies would have certainly done that…but thanks to bigger and extended families, the need for roti maker would have never been felt! Thanks. Keep reading and let me know your feedback too.


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