Puranpoli for Holi – Maharashtrian style- A Step-by Step Recipe | How to make Puranpoli

  • Yield : 20
  • Servings : 10-12
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 1:25 h

Holi celebrates the arrival of spring… and what a celebration! It is the most colourful festival in India.  We play with colours, and there are bonfires at night.

And of course, no festival is complete without food. Every festival has its own special delicacy.

Different states make different sweets for this occasion. In Maharashtra, Puranpoli, a sort of paratha with a sweet dal stuffing is made  specially  for Holi.

Puran is the sweet stuffing made with dal and jaggery, while the outer cover is the poli!

“Holi re holi, puranachi poli..” is a song sung in Maharashtra, which implies that Holi is not complete without eating puranpoli!

How I miss those childhood songs and the bonfires..

This is a time consuming recipe, but not very hard if you follow all the steps. Specially lovers of Puran poli like myself, will go that extra mile to make it.

Do try it, it is delicious, I promise!


  • For the Puran ( Stuffing )
  • Chana Dal - 1 kg
  • Jaggery - yellow- best quality - 1/2 kg
  • Sugar - 1/2 kg
  • Cardamom powder - from 10-12 cardamoms about 1 tsp
  • Saffron - 1 pinch
  • Salt - 1 pinch
  • For the Poli ( Roti )
  • Suji - 1 cup ( the smallest you can find )
  • Atta ( whole wheat flour )- 1 cup
  • Flour ( maida) - 2 cups
  • Oil - 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste


For the Dough

Puran poli dough in oil

Put the semolina (suji) in a flat dish or a large bowl that you can use to knead  later and soak the semolina in 1 cup of water. After an hour, mix in the flour (maida), whole wheat flour (atta) and salt. Knead to a loose dough. Keep adding a little oil while kneading. Pour over the rest of the oil after you have finished kneading. It may look like of a ton of oil, but remember this is what keeps the dough so stretchy. You will soon find out why you need an extra stretchy dough. Cover the bowl with a cling film and leave to rest for about an hour.

For the Puran

Wash the chana dal. Add turmeric and oil and pressure cook till soft. Make sure you add enough water, as the chana dal tends to swell up while cooking and becomes very hard if there is less water and is then unsuitable for making puran. Adding 3 times as much water, is good . If there is excess water, it can then be drained out after the dal is cooked.

Cook the chana dal in a pressure cooker. Remove the extra water. Put the dal with the jaggery in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Making the puran is quite laborious, as it involves a lot of stirring to prevent the dal from getting stuck at the bottom. As the jaggery melts, the mixture has more liquid than before and is now dangerous as it starts  to caramelise at the bottom. This is to be prevented at all costs as it could make the puran very hard and bitter.

20130323-Puran with wooden spoon

So the key is low flame and constant stirring. Slowly, the mixture will start thickening again. Continue stirring till it is thick enough. Remember that the mixture still continues to thicken after it has been switched off, so a good test to figure whether the puran is done is to throw a heavy flat ladle into it. It it stands upright, the puran is done it is thick enough; but if it falls , then the puran still needs thickening.

When done, and cooled, the puran is put through a machine called a puran yantra, quite like a potato ricer or a mincer, that ensures that the mixture that comes out is very soft, without any hard bits or uncooked dal. I tend to simplify this process by putting it into a food processor. Notice the consistency of the puran in the bowl, that is what you are trying to achieve.. very very soft.


Another shortcut is to make the puran a day ahead. It stays well in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight box. Please remember that at no cost is the puran to be left open, as air starts hardening the chana dal.

The Preparation

Size of the dough

Make equal numbers of balls of of the dough and Puran. Notice the difference in size of the balls you need to make. The puran ball is 3 times larger than the dough.

Now the key to a good puran poli, is the amount of puran that is put in. Although this looks like a paratha, note that the paratha has much less stuffing than the puran poli. A good puran poli has 3 times as much stuffing as the cover.   Only this ensures a fabulous tasting puranpoli.

Make as many as you want. It is very difficult to match the amount of puran with the dough, Sometimes, you will have puran left over, sometimes dough. The dough can easily be made into puris some other day, and the puran gets happily eaten away or converted into Karanji, unless you want to make puranpolis again.

At this stage you realise, that your puranpoli is the product of your karma. If you have been very diligent in making the puran and have a very soft puran, rolling out the puran poli is going to be a very easy task.. But beware, if your puran has poky hard caramelised bits, it is going to break the puran poli.

Rolled poli and puran

Anyway, enough of philosophy. Roll out the dough into a small disc. Put puran on top. Gather the ends around at the top ,as you would for a paratha and pinch out the excess.

Puran poli.

Flatten and roll it out very thin. Do not bother about the shape. Without putting too much pressure, roll it out as thin and as large as you can. Now you realise the why you need those copious amounts of oil. If you have been stingy with the oil , you will face a problem at this stage when you need a very very stretchy dough. Sprinkle a bit of rice flower, or atta, on the rolling surface to make it easier.

Picking roti    Lifting roti

Now the cooking bit. As the poli is so fragile and large, it is not recommended to lift it up as you would a roti.

Instead, roll it onto the rolling pin and then transfer delicately onto a hot tawa (griddle). While putting it onto the tawa, unroll it from the pin.

Cook the puran poli on each side till it has large brown spots. In Karnataka, they fry the puran poli in oil, like a paratha. However in most Brahmin households in Maharashtra and Goa, the poli is roasted dry and served with some hot ghee (clarified butter).

20130324-Poli cooking

Roll out as many as you can and have a stack of polis ready. Believe me, these disappear very very quickly.

Finished puranpoli

Most would agree that it is best eaten with a dollop of ghee. Although to be honest, I haven’t quite been able to decide what tastes best with it — a bowlful of milk or just the ghee!

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