When I was a kid (read less than 5), me and my friends on the day before Gudi Padva, retorted to anyone who mentioned the festival, with ‘neat bol gadhva’, which loosely translates to ‘say it right you ass (the synonym for donkey, just FYI). Every time we said it, we would giggle. Yeah, we had a rather silly sense of humour then.
But waking up on a Gudi Padva morning meant a waft of delicious aromas slowly engulfing my home from our neighbours, the Waklekars. The regular feast that Mrs. Waklekar prepared for the festival would consist of: Puran poli, katachi amti, batatechi bhaaji, masale bhaat, kakdi koshimbir and kairi chi chutney. Let me elaborate on these delicacies; puran poli is like a stuffed paratha, only, it is not overtly, but, oh so perfectly sweet and much thinner. The stuffing or puran is made with boiled Bengal gram, jaggery and a hint of cardamom. Katachi amti is made with the leftover water from boiling the Bengal gram for the puran and is delicately spiced with a load of spices (ironic but true), coconut and ground peanuts. Batatechi bhaaji is essentially a simple potato sabzi, tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Masale bhaat; now this one is an all-time favourite, loaded with vegetables and mildly spiced with a mouth- watering mix of spices, this makes for a power packed serving of rice. Kakdi koshimbir is finely chopped cucumber laced with creamy curd and sprinkled with roasted ground peanuts. And finally, the tang for the meal comes from kairi chi chutney, a simple but palate tickling chutney made with raw mangoes.
That was the meal in a nut-shell. Sumptious, nutritious, filling and oh so satisfying. Every Padva, we were invited to the Waklekars and I would greedily gorge on this feast, while my mother looked on, with a hurtful come anger filled expression; because she would typically tell people “My daughter is a very fussy eater.” which I was. But I would just act like a starved child, much to her annoyance!
While I did manage to make the entire fare this year,
it got me thinking; for all you working moms out there it is almost impossible to put up this fare for your kids on a weekday, especially if you don’t have an off on Gudi Padva. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t add a twist to it and still serve it to your kids. So here goes, a simple but extremely healthy puran poli tart with a mango jelly.
Puran poli tart with mango jelly
- To make the tart shell use 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 egg, and 3 tbsp. of ghee (clarified butter). Crumb the ghee and flour. Now add the egg and a pinch of salt and knead the dough. It should be fairly smooth, but a roughish dough. Cover it with cling wrap and set it in the fridge for about 30 mins.
- For the filling, boil 1 cup of Bengal gram. Once boiled strain the water (you can save the water to make a savoury soup to go with the sweet pie) and coarsely grind. Bengal gram is a wonderful source of vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorous. So, I’d say save the liquid too.
- Now, in a pan take 2 tbsp of ghee. Ghee is very good for everybody. It actually helps transport the nutrients of other ingredients to your entire body. True story.
- To the ghee add the drained Bengal gram and 3/4th cup jaggery and ½ tsp of ground cinnamon. Now jaggery is this magically sweet treat that is good for immunity, constipation, flu and well for ladies, a small piece of jaggery when you have your period can save the others from our mood swings. Trust me, this is a wonder sweetener.
- Now’s the part which lets you skip your gym training for the day! Keep stirring it over medium heat until the mixture is dry and all the water has evaporated. Trust me your arm muscles get worked out like never before.
- In the meantime, ask your little one to help roll out the dough for the tart case. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and ask them to roll it into a nice roundel about ½ a cm thick. That should keep them busy while you work out!
- Once rolled, bake the tart (blind) in a floured tart shell in an oven at 180 degrees, until very light brown. Do not forget to pierce the base of the tart with a fork so it doesn’t rise. Also, as we are using whole wheat and not self- rising flour keep an eye out for that tart, or it might go hard.
- To add the jazz to the tart, take one largish or 2 smallish ripe mangoes and make a pulp out of the flesh. About 1 cup.
- Blend it well with about ½ a cup of water.
- In a thick bottomed pan, add the mango pulp. Into this add 1 ½ tsp of agar agar and let it come to a very subtle boil on a simmer, until the agar agar melts. I used agar agar because it’s natural and sets at room temperature, v/s gelatine which sets at a much lower temperature.
- Once the tart shell is done, layer it with a generous amount of puran and pour the mango pulp mixture over it. Leave it to cool at room temperature for about 20 mins.
- Decorate with a sliced mango and a dusting of ground sugar and serve.
This may not be traditional enough, but it has all the goodness of the original. The ingredients are the same, but have a playful twist so your child can enjoy a really sweet and healthy tart. The slight tartness in the mango pulp dances on your palette with the goodness of the puran. Also, mango and cardamom going brilliantly well together as flavour profiles. Plus, you have the option of making all of this in advance, like the tart shell and the puran. But you’ll have to freshly make the jelly, which doesn’t take more than 15 minutes. And then it’s just about bringing it all together.
The reason I used agar agar instead of gelatin for the jelly, is, because it needs to be poured over the tart for it to set. And cold puran is not very pleasing (though I must admit some people like it, but not my style). Agar agar is made from sea weed, whereas gelatine is made from collagen in pork bones, skin and/or cattle hide; which may not be a very viable option for many.
With the water that is left from the boiled lentils, you can store it for later (in the form of ice cubes if later means more than 1 day, or in a glass bottle in the fridge, if until the next day.) and make a hearty soup. In a thick bottomed pan, add ghee and finely chopped garlic and thinly sliced onions, cook until caramelised. To this, add thinly sliced vegetables of your choice. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes and add roasted powdered cumin, roasted coriander powder and mix well. To this add the leftover lentil water season with salt, pepper, jaggery to taste and lime juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer. After it has simmered for about 5 mins add chopped coriander and grated coconut, simmer for a couple of minutes more and serve.
There you see, not everything sweet gives your kids cavities! Some of them actually pack in a punch good enough to boost their system. Cook with them that will enhance their interest in food and make your task of feeding them, easier. That said, you know your kid better than anyone else. Savour each moment with them, as you together savour this recipe!
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