In India, it is tradition to eat more flavors and high-fat foods than usual during festive seasons. Different states have different festivals, different specialties and different food items. Maharashtra is not an exclusion to that. The true and signature dish of Maharashtra is Puranpoli. It is a traditional sweet food prepared in most households during any significant occasions and the festivals like Holi, Shravan Maha, Ganapati-Gauri, Gudipadwa, Diwali, etc. The delicious Puranpoli has even reached to America and Europe, crossing seven seas.
Puranpoli is nothing but paratha that is stuffed with a mixture of jaggery and chana dal and is served with spicy curry, commonly known as Katachi Aamti or with Milk or thick Mango juice.During festivals, the dish is offered to the Gods and is referred as Nevedyam. This tradition is followed by Maharashtrians till date. Puranpoli is then offered to guests and family members. It is typically served with multiple snacks like bhajiyas, papad, ghee, etc.
With the changes in tradition, cultures and rituals all over the state, there are various types of methods available to prepare Puranpoli that varies according to states and regions. In Nagpur, use of sugar is common in Puranpoli, whereas in Kolhapur jaggery is used as a sweetener. In Vidarbha, stuffing is too much in Puranpoli, whereas in west Maharashtra, stuffing is quite less. In Khandesh, people use chana dal, instead of Tur dal or Mug dal. In the south, stuffing is filled with jaggery and coconut. The Parsi people use dry fruits and essence and wave it like a pudding with one layer on one side.
In Maharashtra, Puranpoli is commonly prepared with chana dal and half sugar and half jaggery is used to make the stuffing. Dal is firstly steamed in pressure cooker until it is completely soft to crush. A jaggery or sugar is then added to it. This mixture has to crushed a lot, so that no whole lentil should be present in the mixture. For the covering, whole wheat flour and maida is mixed with water and milk. The dough formed is used for the outer covering of the Puranpoli. Just like normal paratha, the stuffing of dal and jaggery, which is commonly known as puran, is filled inside the outer covering and is then pressed lightly with the roller in round shape. The poli formed, has to be roasted on a pan from both the sides until it is golden-brown. A homemade ghee is use for frying the puanpoli which adds a delicious taste to it. It is very easy to eat and also easy to make. It can be eaten for 2-3 days. Some people also use Khava, Cashews and Almond Powder and Cardamom Powder for the additional flavors.
Considering the huge fan following of Puranpolis, many people have invented Puranpolis with various types of flavors. Such as, Ravyachi Puranpoli which is made from Rava. Instead of wheat flour, rava is mixed with milk and is used for outside covering and stuffing is made like usual puran poli. Another is Strawberry Puranpoli, in which the covering is made of wheat flour like regular Puran poli, but stuffing is made from fresh strawberries and rava. It tastes delicious and is a treat for kids and strawberry lovers. Tikhat (spicy) Puran poli, which has spicy stuffing made from gram lentils, turmeric, chilly, cumin seeds, pepper, coriander and salt. Just like regular Puran poli, covering is made from wheat flour and maida.
Puranpoli’s nutritional value is very high. Additionally, it tastes heavenly. But making of a Puranpoli is a work of skill and some more muscle work.
There is one commonly used maxim for perfect daughter-in-law in Maharashtrian families about Puranpoli, which says, “Sun sugran aahe jar ti puran poli changli karte” (the daughter-in-law is perfect if she prepares good Puranpoli).