By – Veena Sashikumar
The journey continues on our series of festive food. It is time for veneration of the beloved diety, Ganesha (one of the most peaceful gods of divine galaxy). Ganesh Chaturti means modaks. In south, sweet and salty steamed modaks or kozhakattais pleases the lord. In Maharashta, apart from the modak, puranpoli is one of the mouth-watering delicacies.
The kozhakattai recipe is from my grandma and the puranpoli recipe is a compilation from Madhura’s Kitchen, a little recollection & tattered notes from one of my neighbour in Mumbai.
My grandmother, mother and aunts made 3 kinds of fillings for kozhakattais for the Ganapathy poojai: coconut and jiggery; sesame and spiced lentils. I am covering the coconut and jiggery one here.
- Raw Rice – 1 cup – soaked for 1 hr
- Pinch of salt
- Oil – 1 tsp
- After soaking the rice for an hour drain out the water and spread it out in a muslin cloth or kitchen so that the excess water gets absorbed in the cloth.
- Grind this rice into a fine powder
- Pass this through a sieve so you get a fine rice powder.
- Take one cup of fine rice powder and mix it with half a cup of water and make it into a paste and set aside. This basically makes sure there are no lumps when you make the dough
- In a wok / kadhai add half a cup of water and heat it. Once it starts to bubble take out 3 tbsp of water and keep aside.
- Now add the pinch of salt, oil and the rice paste and mix well. I find it helpful to mix with a whisk initially. The rice paste will form into a lump and you would see the colour of the dough change a little. If you think the dough is too dry and it needs more water then add the water you have set aside (1 tbsp at a time).
- Keep stirring so it cooks evenly.
- Once it is cooked you will notice a slight change in the colour and the rice starts to leave the sides of the vessel. At this point turn off the heat and keep the vessel closed for a about 5 minutes so the dough cooks in the residue heat.
- Put the dough in a plate and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Grease your hand with a little oil and knead the dough well.
- Your covering for the filling is ready to go.
- Use half the rice dough for the sweet one and half for the salty one.
- Generally cooked grain items have to be made on the day of the pooja. So the powder can be ready the previous day but you can cook it only on the day of the pooja.
POORNAM / SWEET FILLING
- shredded / finely grated coconut – 1 cups
- powdered Jaggery – ¾ cup
- Water – 1/3 cup
- Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
- Ghee / clarified butter – 1 tsp
- In a pot add water to the jaggery and boil. Once its dissolved then strain through a muslin cloth so you can remove any stones in the jaggery.
- After straining the jiggery, put it back in the pot and get this back to boil.
- Add the shredded coconut to this, let it cook a little don’t make it too hard. It should look like fudge. If you cook it too long it will get very hard when it cools. Add ghee & cardamom powder at this point and mix well.
- You know it is done when you take it in your hand you should be able to roll it into balls.
- Spread this mix in a plate to cool it down. Once it cools down, roll it into small balls & keep it ready.
- You can make this a day in advance so you are making everything on the morning of the pooja. Do not put it in the fridge unless it is very hot day.
- Take a small piece from the rice dough and roll into a ball. It should be at least double the size of the coconut ball. Make a cup from the rice ball like how to do for making a paratha put the ball in and close it from the top. It should look like a pyramid with a curved bottom.
- Once have enough to fill your steaming trays then put them in the cooker and steam for 10 minutes
INGREDIENTS FOR PURAN
- Chana Dal – 1 cup
- Jaggery – 1 cup
- Nutmeg powder – 1 pinch
- Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
- Ginger powder – ½ tsp
- Ghee – 1 tsp
INGREDIENTS FOR DOUGH
- Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
- Maida / All Purpose Flour – 1/2 cup
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric – ¼ tsp (optional, gives it a light yellow colour)
METHOD – PURAN
- Wash and soak chana dal for at least 2 hours.
- Put the chana dal in pressure cooker with a cup of water and pressure cook until 4 whistles.
- If you don’t soak the chana dal for very long then add 2 cups of water and can put it in the cooker for a little longer e.g. for 6 – 7 whistles
- Mash boiled chana dal and set aside
- In a pan add the mashed chana dal and jaggery. It helps if you powder the jaggery in the beginning. Mix well and cook till mixture becomes thick and dries out.
- Add ghee, cardamom powder, nutmeg, ginger powder mix well.
- The puran is ready
METHOD – DOUGH
- In a mixing bowl add maida, wheat flour, salt, turmeric powder, oil and mix well.
- Add water little by little and start to knead the dough. It very similar to the chapathi dough you make.
- The dough has to be little loose and soft. Cover it and leave it for about 30 mins.
METHOD – PURAN POLI
Assembling the Puran poli is like making a paratha.
- Grease your hand with a little bit of oil or ghee then knead the dough well.
- Take small ball from dough and make a cup
- Take smaller ball from Puran
- Stuff puran in to cup and seal the edges.
- Roll in circular direction like paratha. Keep some flour on the side so that the dough doesn’t get sticky.
- Heat up a non-stick pan or flat pan on medium heat, roast puranpoli from both the sides till it gets nice golden spots.
- When Puran poli is about to done, apply ghee or butter.
- Serve hot with a smear of ghee.
(Veena is a food and nutrition enthusiast. Who loves baking and experimenting with new recipes while learning and trying the traditional ones. Check out her blog: cookwithveena.blogspot.com.au)
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