polli (jaggery pancake)
at my cousin's wedding in bangalore, i rediscovered the delectable taste of polli, a traditional south indian pancake with a jaggery and coconut filling. best enjoyed when slightly warm and with dollops of ghee, i absolutely love the combination of saltiness and sweetness that you get in every bite.
i haven't yet tried to make this at home, but here's a recipe from chandra padmanabhan's dakshin that i will use when i do feel like giving it a shot.
prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 2 hours
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 cup sesame oil
water as required
a few plantain or banana leaves or oiled polythene sheets
for the filling:
1 1/2 cups chana dal, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup toor dal, picked over and rinsed
8 cups water
1 coconut, grated
1 1/2 kg jaggery, powdered
4-6 whole cardamoms, powdered
wash the chana dal and toor dal well. drain and place dals in a heavy saucepan. cover with 8 cups water and bring to the boil. when boiling, cover pan with a lid, leaving slightly ajar. lower heat, and simmer the dal gently for 1 1/2 hours. stir several times during the last 30 minutes of cooking. set aside dal without draining.
in a heavy saucepan, dry-roast the grated coconut for 2-3 minutes. add the powdered jaggery and simmer on a low heat until the jaggery completely melts.
add the cooked dals and continue to simmer until the mixture blends and thickens. set aside to cool. place the cooled filling in an electric blender or food processor. add the powdered cardamom. blend ingredients into a fine paste.
sift the flour, salt and ground turmeric into a large mixing bowl. make a well in the centre and add 1/4 cup sesame oil and sufficient water to make a kneadable dough (it should resemble a chapati or unleavened bread dough). knead slightly and form into a ball. pour the remaining sesame oil over thr dough. set aside for 20 minutes, then mix.
brush the plantain or banana leaves with sesame oil. take a small ball of dough and place it on an oiled leaf. flatten the dough with your hand, until it resembels a chapati. take a small lump of the filling and place it in the centre of the flattened dough. fold the dough over the filling. once again, flatten the pancake with your hand.
heat a tawa or griddle. add very little sesame oil and cook both sides until done, as you would an ordinary pancake.
serve warm with ghee!