Ugadi meant Poli for me for many years. Yes, Amma used to make Poli only on Ugadi day as it is an elaborate process and she used to make for our neighbors and friends. I have always helped her in making these Sweet Poli. I used to love these so much and it was surprising that I never got around blogging on this favorite Indian Sweet, so special to Andhra.
Of course, now I know it's common to all states. But all of us want to think of it as our very own, right. While it was the custom to make Polis especially for Ugadi, at my in-law's place, all and any festival is marked by making Poli and a unique combination. Athamma makes Vankaya Urlagadda Kura (Brinjal Potato Curry) as a combination for the Sweet Poli. I must say it goes quite well.
And as usual, this Ugadi too was the same at home. I didn't want to post our Ugadi lunch as it's the same lunch that we prepare for all festivals. Though we might be preparing these separately on other days, for any festival, these items are paired together. We planned the previous day for the pooja preparations.
Though we had everything prepared on time, as hubby was held up at the office we couldn't get it done on time as planned. So I was really exhausted and didn't have the energy for a photo session. So only have the polis to share with you.
Polis, always brings back those wonderful memories of childhood. I can still remember the many occasions when I have waited patiently for Amma to finish her pooja, before I could enjoy this. This dish is very special and we take extra care to get it the right texture and taste.
The rolling out of the dough can be done in the banana leaf or plastic paper. In those days, the dal filling was ground in the stone grinder or Rubbu Rayie, as it was called. Now since we don't have the convenience of that, we grind the poornam in the mixer. Even Athamma used to make it only in that stone at her place, so she doesn't know about making it in the Mixer. So it surely falls on me to get the whole thing done.
We get the dough made much in advance and let it rest for at least 2-3 hours. Amma used to leave it covered with a wet muslin cloth, whereas Athamma would have a lot of oil on it and allow it to get soft. I make it both ways depending on my mood.
Sweet Poli ~ Ugadi Special
All purpose Flour / Maida - 3 cups
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Salt a pinch
Oil - 1/2 cup
For the Dal filling
Bengal Gram / Channa Dal - 2 & 1/2 cups
Jaggary - 2 & 1/2 cups (Can add more if you want it to be sweeter)
Cardamom powder a pinch
Oil for frying
Method to prepare:
For the dough
Take the maida in a big bowl, where it's easy to mix well. Add a pinch of salt, turmeric, and mix well. Slowly add the oil to the flour and rub well. If you prefer ghee, you can add the same amount. Then add water slowly to get a soft pliable dough. Knead well. The consistency should not be sticky but rather very loose but soft.
This needs to be kneaded well Add some more oil on the top and let it rest for about 2-3 hrs. Alternatively, you can cover it with a wet muslin cloth. Amma always adds turmeric to give it a nice yellow colour.
For the Dal filling
Wash and soak the Bengal Gram for a minimum of 15 mins. Then pressure cook it with enough water to get soft dal.
Normally we get two varieties of jaggery, one type will have a lot of impurities in it. So we grate and cook it in water and sieve the impurities before adding to the dal.
Add this jaggery to the cooked dal and pressure again. This will make both the dal and jaggery well mixed.
Once it's cooled, grind to a smooth consistency but though not like a paste. Most times, the water content will be more, this can be handled by sauteing this dal paste in a pan. Heat the pan, and add the dal paste.
Sauté to remove the water content. But keep an eye to make sure it doesn't get burnt. You will know it's ready when the paste starts coming off the pan. We also need to make sure it's not too dry.
Divide into equal balls to be stuffed into the dough.
Heat a tawa and simmer it so that it's hot by the time you have the poli rolled out. Smear oil every time before placing the uncooked poli. This way it will not get stuck to the pan.
Smear oil on the banana leaf or the plastic sheet, whichever you are using. Take a portion of the dough, spread it on the plastic paper, and place the dal filling in the middle. Cover it with the dough, remove the excess dough.
Add oil, and using fingers, slowly spread them out. This will get spread well, provided the dal filling is a little soft and not too dry. And the maida dough has to be elastic.
Traditionally, we spread ghee on each poli after removing it from the tawa. Allow it to cool on a plate before storing it in a box.
This can stay good for about a week when stored in the fridge. Microwave before eating.
Allow it cool for a while. This stack of polis is a great attraction for kids. My Konda loves polis and the days I make this, she only has this and nothing else for lunch or dinner, at times she even has it for breakfast. That is her love for this sweet dish. Since this is the only dish she loves that I know of, I just allow her to indulge.