Paal poli recipe, a classic South Indian dessert where pooris are dunked in cardamom flavored, reduced sweetened milk
Paal poli is a rich, milk-based, delicious South Indian sweet. It is a special sweet item offered on many a Tamilian wedding menu. I have been fortunate to savor this classic sweet at a friend’s wedding eons ago. In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, it goes by different names like paal poori, milk poli, halu obbattu, poori payasa, and halu holige. Halu holige is prepared slightly differently from the Tamil Nadu version. In Karnataka, the reduced sweetened milk has poppy seeds or gasagase and fresh coconut instead of milk. I will blog halu holige recipe in the near future.
Paal poori is prepared for the Tamil New Year, Ugadi, Bhogi, Avani Avittam and festivals like Krishnashtami, Navratri, and Diwali. I prepared this delicacy for Diwali this year and it made for a perfect festive sweet.
Paal poli recipe though simple to make is slightly labor intensive but definitely worth the effort. You need to prepare the dough, rest it and roll out lemon sized dough balls into thin concentric circles. The rolled out pooris are deep-fried before dunking them in sweetened reduced milk. The pooris meld in all the aromatic goodness of cinnamon and nutmeg.
How to make paal poli that’s delicious
Traditionally, this rich South Indian sweet is made with chiroti rava (very fine semolina). It is also made with a mix of maida or plain flour and sooji or with just plain flour. I have found success when I make the dough with plain flour and fine sooji. The dough should be smooth yet slightly firm like you’d make poori dough. The prepared dough should rest for a few minutes before rolling them into 4″ to 5″ concentric thin circles.
The deep-fried pooris should not be too soft or too crisp like a papad. The puris should have a slightly crunchy texture.
I recommend you prepare the sweetened milk with full-fat milk. You should simmer the milk and allow it to reduce to three-fourths of its original quantity. Usually, it is flavored with cardamom and/or nutmeg and saffron. The sweetened milk tastes heavenly with hints of cardamom and nutmeg. If you do not have the time to reduce the milk, you can make a paste of a few cashew nuts or almonds and add to the simmering milk and sugar mixture. This will thicken the milk slightly and give it a rich flavor.
The deep-fried pooris should be dunked in the sweetened reduced milk for a few minutes so that it can soak up the flavors. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it until serving time. Milk poli is best-served chilled which makes it an absolutely irresistible dessert. Your family especially kids will relish it with joy. Yes, it is a perfect kid-friendly dessert. And do add it to your list of festival food recipes.
How to make milk poli