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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

PURAN POLI AND GANESH CHATURTHI

PURAN POLI

Starting from today is Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi in the south. Its the birthday of our darling God Ganapati. Elephants are one of the most loved animals in India and all over the world. And our Lord Ganesha is half elephant and half human, so you can imagine how loved he is. Kids love this God. Lord Ganesha loves Bananas, coconuts and sweets. I was surprised to see a very big idol of Lord Ganesha at the World Trade Centre in Bangkok in Thailand and he was worshipped by the Thais with equal fervor, so is the charm of our darling Lord Ganesha.

Story of Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati. This is a very interesting story.

According to the legend, Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of resolution, was away at a war. His wife Parvati, wanted to bathe and having no-one to guard the door to her house, conceived of the idea of creating a son who could guard her. Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door and instructed him not to let anyone enter.

In the meantime, Lord Shiva returned from the battle but as Ganesha did not know him, he stopped Shiva from entering Parvati's chamber. Shiva, enraged by Ganesh’s impudence, drew his sword and cut off Ganesha's head. Pavarti emerged to find Ganesha decapitated and flew into a rage. She took on the form of the Goddess Kali and threatened destruction to the three worlds of Heaven, Earth and the subterranean earth.

Seeing her in this mood, the other Gods were afraid and Shiva, in an attempt to pacify Parvati, sent out his ganas, or hordes, to bring the head of the first living being with his head towards the north (the auspicious direction associated with wisdom). The first living thing they came across was an elephant. So they brought the head of this elephant and Shiva placed it on the trunk of Parvati's son and breathed life into him. Parvati was overjoyed and embraced her son, the elephant-headed boy whom Shiva named Ganesha, the lord of his ganas. (Info courtesy – Wikipedia)

Although Lord Ganesha has been worshipped from time immemorial it was Lok Manya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who was responsible for making Ganesh utsav into a public celebration in Maharashtra for the unity of the people.

Lord Ganesha loves sweets. In South India, the main sweet-dish during the festival is modakam which is Ganesha's favorite sweet. Modakam is a steam cooked dumpling made from rice flour, stuffed with coconut and jaggery. In Maharashtra also they make the modakam the same way and it is called “Ukdiche Modak”, it is either steam cooked or deep fried.

I made Puran Poli today. Puran Poli is one of the most liked dishes of Maharashtra. I find this one of the most tedious and laborious sweet to make. Puran Poli is Yo’s favorite sweet, Yo’s mami (Mother’s brother’s wife) dishes out one of the most fantastic Puran Poli’s in this world, the Puran poli literally melts in your mouth and so does Yo’s Kaku (Father’s brother’s wife). Puran poli is such an elaborate affair in Yo’s home that I probably got a phobia to try making it. I attempted it twice after my marriage and both times it failed, so I had totally given up on it. Yo told me, “Its such a waste of money, materials and efforts and don’t try it at home…..how typically male…..ha ha ha….This time I said I will patiently follow the recipe and see if it works…..and yipppeeeeeeeeeee it did….I was so proud that I asked Yogesh to call his home at Pune and tell my in-laws that finally I made the elusive Puran Polis.

Ingredients

Bengal gram (chana dal) - 2 cups,

Jaggery - 2 cups

Refined flour (Maida) -2 cups

Oil - 3 tbsp

Turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp

Salt – ½ tsp

Cardamom powder -1 tsp

Nutmeg powder 1/4th tsp

Dry ginger powder(soonth) -1/4th tsp

Ghee as required

Method

Grate the jaggery, keep aside. Soak the Bengal gram for about 2-3 hours. Then add water enough to immerse the dal completely and a bit on top. Cook chana dal in a pressure cooker for 5 whistles till it turns soft. Drain out excess water until the dal is absolutely dry. You can retain this water to make Katachi Amti (I will blog this recipe later). Mash the chana dal into a paste. In a wok, Add one tablespoon of ghee, then add the cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and dry ginger powder(soonth), Now add the grated jaggery, when the grated jaggery melts, add the chana dal paste and blend both well, and cook further. You will notice that the mix has become watery, which scared me out of my wits, thinking that this attempt is going to fail too. So I urgently called my mother-in-law in Pune and asked her what to do, she said don’t worry, it is like that, “ Don’t cook for too long in the wok, the chana dal paste will harden and you don’t want it to get hard. She said, immediately switch off the gas and wait for the mix to cool down, then put it in the mixie /blender and blend twice till you see it is completely mixed up, this mix, we must add in the wok and cook it on a low flame till it comes to a dough like consistency, which happens very soon, like in 2-3 minutes time. Once you see it has come to a dough like consistency put off the gas and Allow the mix to cool so you can make balls out of the mixture. Make 20 balls out of it and keep aside

Mix refined flour, turmeric powder, a pinch of salt, oil and water and knead the dough.

The dough will be very soft and sticky dough. Keep this aside for about half an hour till it sets. Then knead again, by punching it and folding it. You can remove all your frustrations on the dough…Imagine the joys of cooking….

Knead well and divide the dough into 20 equal portions.

With greased palms, take one portion of the dough and flatten it into a disc of the size of the palm. Place a ball of "chana jaggery" paste in the centre and fold the disc from all sides to cover the paste completely.

On a well-floured board, gently roll out each poli with the help of a rolling pin into a 6 inches disc. This can get tricky as the paste does try to slide out. Use a little flour if that happens.

Roast each poli on a hot, dry girdle.Add a teaspoon of ghee around the poli , once you see some spots on the backside flip over, you will see your Puran polis puff up. Once done, Remove on a plate. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee or a bowl of warm milk.

7 comments:

notyet100 said...

HAPPY GANESHA FESTIVAL,..POLIS LOOK YUM,..:-)

Suma Rajesh said...

poli looks fluffy and tempting..

SriLekha said...

it sounds delicious!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow puran poli looks awesome.

VEGETABLE PLATTER said...

puran poli looks delicious .. A fave in our family

sowmya said...

i love puran poli and long time I made them..seeing yours, has tempted me to do it immediately!!

Laavanya said...

Poli looks so yummy & tasty. It's been so long since I made it and have been wanting to for some time now.

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