Puran Poli - Stuffed Chapatti - is a flat bread native to Southern India that involves a sweet dough that is later stuffed with a chick pea paste. It is served as a celebration bread during the Hindu festival of Holi. Indian Jews, known as Bene Israel, also serve this bread during their Spring holiday, Purim, which, coincidentally, falls on the same day as the Hindu festival. There is no connection between the two holidays except this - puran poli are served at both. Go figure! Some of you may be tempted to adjust the sugar in the dough. Locals in Southern India, however, prefer their puran poli sweet!
Here's what you'll need:
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
¼ to½ cup sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups white flour
½ cup water, about
Melted margarine, oil or ghee
Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Cover the chickpeas with water again and cook over moderate heat until soft, about ½ hour. Drain and cool. Remove as much of the loose skins as possible. Whirl the chickpeas until fairly smooth in a food processor or a blender.
2. Heat the margarine in a skillet, add the mashed chickpeas, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom and stir-fry over low heat until the mixture is dry. This will take about 10 minutes, then set aside.
3. Mix the flour and water together into a firm, not sticky, dough. Knead well, then cover and set aside for 1½ hours. This is to let the dough rest. It will not rise, since there is no yeast. However the dough will relax and be easier to roll out later.
4. Roll a heaping tablespoon of the dough into a ball then, roll the ball out into a pancake 5 inches (12½ cm) in diameter. Put 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center, then roll the pancake into a ball again. Finally, roll it out again into a pancake 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.
5. The puran poli are cooked like many flat breads world-wide, in a dry skillet much like a tortilla. Heat a large dry skillet over moderate heat. Put the outer side of the pancake, the side that you have rolled, face down into the skillet. After 10 seconds turn it over and cook for 2 minutes. When you flip it over, add about 1/2 teaspoon butter or ghee to the pan to make it crispy.
Server warm with a nice, warm vegetable curry. Makes 12 pancakes.