Another month, another installment of the Indian Cooking Challenge when I gamely attempt a cuisine quite different from my own, usually blunder somewhere along the way but still manage to come up with something tasty. This month’s suggestion came from Nithya andÃ‚Â we madeÃ‚Â Suruttai Poli–a rolled dough with a sweet nut center.
As usual, I had to adjust some of the measurements but this time absolutely no ingredient substitutions were needed. Technically, at least.
1.25 c All-Purpose Flour
a pinch Salt
1.25 c Roasted chickpeas
1.25 c Sugar
1.5 tsp Ghee
20 Cashews, chopped
1.5 Tbsp shredded Coconut
1.5 tsp ground Cardamom
Please don’t turn away at the thought of sweet chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). I was a bit skeptical, myself, but it makes an amazing base for the filling. Trust me and try it for yourself. This is also where the not-technically-a-substitution occurs and where my results end up vastly different from the original. More will be revealed.
Making the Dough
|Combine the flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl and mix together. Add water, about a teaspoon or two at a time, and stir until a shaggy dough starts to form. I found the best way to do this was just to stand at the sink with a little trickle of water running and pass the bowl under it periodically as my hand tossed the ingredients together. It prevents over mixing and over-watering.
Knead it a little bit until it holds together fairly well, form into a ball and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. I realized I was almost out of frying oil so had to run to the grocery store so mine sat for closer to an hour. Made no difference than I could tell. If it’s going to be quite some time, though, you may want to cover it just so it doesn’t start to air-dry on you.
|Making the Filling
|And here’s where I unintentionally detoured. The original recipe called for Roasted Gram, which is chick peas, but I didn’t want to start with dry so I opted for canned. I drained and rinsed the beans, spread them out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roasted them in the oven for 20 minutes or so. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
|Then the instructions said to powder together the roasted gram and the sugar. Hmm. Canned chick peas, although roasted, do not powder. They mush. This was fine by me, though, as I’d burnt out the motor on my food processor with the last ICC recipe and had yet to replace it. Mushable gram meant I could go low-tech and bash them around with a rolling pin before adding the sugar. It worked.
|Heat the ghee in a small frying pan and add in the cashews and coconut, stirring over medium heat until both are lightly toasted.
|Combine the chickpea/sugar mixture with the contents of the frying pan and the cardamom and mix together well. The first thing I thought when it was all put together was Apple Jacks. Todd thought Fruit Loops. Now, I’m betting Big Cereal isn’t using an expensive spice like cardamom in their breakfast formulas, but it made me wonder what chemical combination produced that same aroma.
The filling is done, you can set it aside until needed. Realizing, around this time, that the filling is probably supposed to be more of a dry powder than the paste I ended up with, I put my filling into an pastry bag to make the filling step, ahead, easier to accomplish.
Making the Poli
|Divide the well-rested dough into 24 equal portions and roll each out to about 4 inches on a floured board, the rounder the better. They will be thin but that’s what you want. Too thick and they will puff like poori and make it tough to finish the dessert.
Let the rolled dough rest for another 10 minutes while you get everything ready for the final steps. I laid mine on sheets of wax paper (counter space is at a premium) and stacked them 4 to a layer. This worked out okay, though some wanted to stick. It’d probably be best to give them a bit of airing time before covering them up, just to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
Heat a small amount of oil–maybe an inch, if that–in a small frying pan. Slide a round of dough into the hot oil, give it a second or two to cook then flip and remove. You don’t want them to get crispy or to brown as then you’ll never be able to roll them.
Immediately top the fried dough with “3 spoons” of filling. The 3 spoons makes more sense if your filling is powdered though I really loved my paste filling–I could squeeze it out along one side and go on to the next step without worrying about spilling anything.
Starting from the filling end, roll the dough into a tube, enclosing the filling, and place them seam-side down. You’ve got to work fast or the dough will firm up on you and you’ll end up with shards instead of a cigar-shape. As they cool, the poli will firm up.
Now, I would never be so bold as to call my accident with the filling an improvement on a traditional recipe that I know nothing else about. However, the filling step was much expedited by the use of the pastry bag (only possible since the filling was a paste) and I’m a bit puzzled how you eat one filled with powder without it becoming like a pixie stick and spewing sugar everywhere.
Because of the speed of finishing them, I think it would be best to have 3 people at that step: one to fry, one to fill, one to roll. That way you can just bang out enough for a party in no time flat.
To see how other ladies (who, ahem, actually know what their doing when it comes to Indian food) made Suruttai Poli, check out the linky over on Spice Your Life.