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Magic of Maharashtrian: Puran Poli

Posted on March 9, 2012 in Specials

By Amrita Nayak-Dutta:

As the festival of colors arrived once again in its full splendor, the long forgotten taste of Puran Polis rushes me back to the memory lane. I fondly recalled how I eagerly waited for the polis to be made and served hot with a big dollop of clarified butter in the Maharashtrian mess. The same mess where I used to have my shoestring budget-fitted meals as a student in Pune. And the heavenly taste once made us girls stop counting the calories and indulge and eat our fill till we let out loud belches.

Puran Poli, an indigenous Maharashtrian food, loved and devoured in every household in the state, is made in huge quantities during festivals like Holi and Gudi Padwa (Maharashtrian New Year). It is the traditional flat sweetbread stuffed with a delicious jaggery-roasted split yellow gram-nutmeg mixture, loved by kids and elders alike. People from all parts of the country who have spent some amount of time in Maharashtra must have tasted this and would have inevitably loved it. With this, a bowl of milk is served and at times spiced dal water, known as Aamti to the masses, is served. The greatest advantage of the dish lies in the fact that it tastes equally good when stale and can be preserved for days. This in turn makes it an excellent food to be carried easily while travelling as a filling snack.

The food has been attached to the deep-rooted Maharashtrian tradition for years. It usually stands for celebrations and is immensely popular in the other states surrounding Maharashtra with a little variation in flavouring agents and texture.

It is surprising how your sense of smell or taste can suddenly transport you back to a moment in your past that you cherished. As I sat down recalling my years, I asked my maid if she could make some Puran Polis for me on this occasion. She sounded very excited and tossed out some of the delicious sweet cakes for me in a jiffy. As I took a bite of the sinful sweet, I lost control of my mind again, which ran back again to those carefree days of college; days which forms the fabric of what I am today.