Friday, January 12, 2018

Puran Poli (Vedmi)

An Indian flatbread made from wheat flour dough and stuffed with sweetened lentil filling, Puran Poli is a must have for the festive season or otherwise!


Makar Sankrant is a around the corner and I am getting ready with all my Chikkis, Undhiya, Ponk vada and of course kites. This Indian festival is celebrated in different parts of the country as Makar Sankranti in Gujarat an Maharashtra, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Lohri in Punjab. While the names and traditions vary, the theme of celebrating is to make something from the fresh produce in the farms. 

Plus, it is winter in the country and a perfect time to have dishes that boost immunity and provide warmth. Sesame, jaggery, rice and sugarcane are the most popular ingredients used to make the dishes. 


In Gujarat, the most popular dish enjoyed with all the colorful kites is Undhiyu. A combination of winter special vegetables, a special spice mix and deep fried gram flour dumplings, this delicacy is enjoyed by everyone. Along with that another dish that is commonly made is Puran Poli. This is a form of sweet bread, wheat dough outer and lentil and jaggery stuffing. The translation of the term is rather straightforward; puran means stuffing and poli means roti. So basically it is a roti stuffed with a sweet jaggery filling. It is also called Vedmi in some parts of Gujarat. 

Though Puran Poli is a little tricky to make, patience and practice will help make it perfect! The recipe has two main elements, making a perfect puran or stuffing and making a pliable dough that is not very dry. Once these two elements are made well, dishing out the polis is pretty easy. 


In the last few years I started making Puran Poli by myself and learnt a few things each time I made mine. From the puran being very thin and not great to roll out the puran polis to it being overcooked and chewy, I have done it all. Using some of my grandma's tricks and learning from my mistakes, I now make them pretty well. 


My learnings

There are few things I learnt over the years and here they are: cook the stuffing till it is thick. To make sure it is done right, place a spoon in the pan of stuffing. If it stands without falling, shut off the gas immediately. 

Do not skip the oil and salt in the dough. The oil makes the dough easy to roll and the salt helps balance the sweetness of the stuffing. They play an important role in making delicious Puran Polis.

Do a taste test of the puran while it cooks. Every jaggery is different and the puran should taste a little extra sweet by itself. That way when stuffed in the rotis, it makes perfect puran polis. If the puran is less sweet, the final product will be bland.

While I made it using tuvar dal, the Maharashtrian way of making it is using Channa Dal. While all the steps remain same, the dal needs to be cooked for 5-6 whistles as it is harder than tuvar dal. These puran polis are generally served with Aamti and taste amazing too! 

I hope you try this at home and do share how they turn out for you. wishing everyone a Happy Sankranti, Pongal and Lohri! 


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Ingredients

For the stuffing

Tuvar (Arhar) Dal 3/4 cup
Jaggery 3/4 cup
Water 2 1/2 cups
Ground Cardamon seeds 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg Powder a pinch
Saffron a few strands

For the outer covering

Whole Wheat Flour 1 cup
Water 1/3 cup
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt a pinch
Ghee/Clarified butter to top


Method

To make the stuffing

In the pressure cooker base add the dal and wash it several times till the water runs clean. Soak the dal in enough water for 30-35 minutes. 

After 35 minutes, drain the water and add 2 1/2 cups water. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles till the dal is cooked but not mushy. Once the pressure releases, drain the dal using a sieve to remove all the excess water. Mash the dal while removing all the moisture. 

In a pan heat jaggery with the mashed dal. As it cooks, the jaggery melts and becomes syrupy. Mix well and keep cooking on medium flame till the mixture thickens. It takes about 30-35 minutes, ensuring the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Once cooked, remove a tsp of the mixture and try to form a ball. If it stays, the puran is cooked. If it falls apart, cook a little more. Alternatively, try to place a clean spoon in the puran. If it stands in the mixture, the puran is done. Once cooked well, add ground cardamom, ground nutmeg and saffron strands. Mix well and let the mixture cool.



To make the outer covering

Mix together wheat flour, oil, and salt. Using water as required, bind the dough to make a smooth soft ball. Do not use extra water else the dough will be sticky. About 1/3 cup should suffice. Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

To make the Puran Poli

Once the puran has cooled and the dough has been standing for a while, it is time to start making the puran polis. To do so, divide the dough and the puran into six equal parts. Heat a tava on the side.

Using a dough ball and some dry flour, roll out a 3 inch circle. Place a puran ball in the centre and seal the dough edges. Use little fry flour and roll this out to a disc 5-6 inches in diameter. Repeat for the remaining 5 dough and puran balls. 

Once the tava is hot, place one puran poli on it. Once it starts to puff, turn it over and apply some ghee. Again turn over and apply ghee. Once you see brown spots on both sides, remove from tava and apply ghee on top. 

Serve with Sookhi Moong Dal, Cabbage stir fry, steamed rice, Gujarati kadhi, extra ghee and salad. 


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cheese Jalapeño Stuffed Pretzel Rolls for #BreadBakers

These Cheese Jalapeño Stuffed Pretzel Rolls are SO GOOD; you can have them for breakfast, as an appetizer or a perfect Game-Day snack!


I cannot believe we are only a few weeks away from Super Bowl and it is time for us to start planning recipes for the big game! I am still think of the nail biting finish that the New England Pats had last year and here I am with my first Game-Day recipe for this year. 


Just in time for this post we have this amazing theme for Bread Bakers this month; Pretzels. Thanks to our wonderful hostess for this month,Stacy of Food Lust People Love for this theme. A few months ago I baked my first pretzel as part of another theme and have been in love since. After making different kinds of long, short, twisted and cheesy pretzels, I decided to make a stuffed pretzel recipe this time.




And when it is time for game-day, what's better than cheese and jalapenos? These pretzel buns have everything delicious packed into small parcels of yumminess! Starting with the basic pretzel dough and a stuffing from home-grown and pickled Jalapeños with pepper jack cheese; the combination was perfect for any kind of get together. 


Can you guess what I liked best about these buns? The spicy cheesy filling that oozes out of the buns when they are enjoyed straight from the oven! Any kind of stingy cheese is awesome for these buns. And the signature pretzel crust that comes from the soda bath is yummy too. I did not bake them till very hard as we enjoy a golden brown crust. And yes, the sea salt on top completes the look of these beauties! 




I made a BIG lot of these, yet we finished them off in no time. While the pretzels taste best the day they are made, we don't mind enjoying them the next day too. They get a little soft because of the salt getting absorbed in the dough, yet taste amazing. As the cheese tends to harden on cooling, I like to heat the pretzels for 3-4 minutes at 350 F before serving. That is enough to make the cheese melt and ooze out once again! 


The day I made them we had crazy downpour in the Bay Area! These buns turned out to to the PERFECT evening snack. I had them with some Jasmine Tea by the side. It felt like a great rainy day at home! 




Variations


The soda bath used in the recipe is to get the signature pretzel crust. Make sure the buns are in the bath only for a few seconds, else it will develop a metallic taste. Also, do not add more soda than described below, to avoid the sharp metal taste.


I used enough jalapeño to make them medium spicy. Adjust the quantity based on the spice level you like. Also choose a cheese of your choice, any stringy cheese is perfect! 


If serving at a party, make the buns smaller to make them into bite size appetizers. I made them slightly large and got 15 buns from the amount specified in the recipe. 


Last, modify the stuffings based on what you like! Pizza stuffing, onions or just cheese would work really well!




Ingredients

For the Pretzel

All purpose Flour 3 1/2-4 cup
Water 1 1/2 cup
Instant or Active Dry Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp)
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter 1 tbsp
Coarse Sea salt to sprinkle

For the Filling

Jalapeño slices 3/4 cup (Fresh or canned)

Garlic 3-4 pods, minced
Cheese of your choice 1 cup ( I used Pepper Jack)
Dried Oregano 1 tsp

For the soda bath

Baking Soda 1/2 cup
Water 10 cups



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Method

In a bowl heat 1 1/2 cup water with salt and sugar. Mix well and add yeast. Let the yeast bloom for 8-10 minutes. 

In the base of a stand mixer or a large bowl mix together 3 cups flour, bloomed yeast and water and unsalted butter. 

Mix together till it comes together as a soft dough. If it is very sticky, add 1/2 cup flour. Use as much dough as required to form a smooth soft dough. Cover and let it rise for 10 -12 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 F/ 320 C. Line a cookie tray with a baking sheet and set aside.



Prepare the filling. To do so mince the jalapeno and shred the cheese. Mix all the ingredients and keep ready. 


Also, prepare the soda bath by boiling the soda and water mixture. Keep a slotted spoon ready.

Divide the dough into 15 equal parts. Using each part roll out a disc. Place a tbsp of the filling and fold the edges to make a smooth ball. Repeat with the remaining dough and keep the breads covered with a moist cloth. 

One by one drop the pretzel rolls into the boiling soda bath and let them be there for 10-15 seconds. Flip and remove from the bath using a slotted spoon in another 10-15 seconds. Leaving them any longer will give them a metallic taste.

Place them on the baking tray and sprinkle coarse sea salt on them. Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the crust is golden brown. 

Remove and serve with olive oil, ranch or a marinara sauce.








    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

    BreadBakers


    Check out the Pretzel themed breads that our fellow #BreadBakers have baked this month: