Our ancestors were super smart people. They knew which foods would give them health benefits needed for a particular season. Now when you hear gul poli or gulachi poli, you wouldn’t necessarily know that it contains sesame seeds unless you’ve eaten one. Sesame seeds are known to help fight cold and traditionally sweets made from sesame seeds are eaten during winter. Come Makar Sankranti and you are sure to find tilguls and gulachi poli in most Maharashtrian homes. As a child, I have gobbled both in obscene quantity during this time of the year.
Last year, I made tilgul vadi for Devansh as I thought the tilguls (ladoos) would be hard for him to chew. This year I decided to make gulachi poli. My mom hasn’t made gulachi poli for quite some time now, our cook used to make it for us. So I decided to look up the recipe on Google. My heart sank when I saw dozens of recipes all with refined flour (maida) as an ingredient. Not that I don’t give food made using maida to Devansh at all. Occasionally, he does have biscuits, few pieces of paav, a sandwich or pasta at some birthday party or when we eat out. But I have never used maida while cooking and I wasn’t keen this time either.
I searched for “gulachi poli recipes without maida”, but couldn’t find any such recipe and thus decided to use regular chapati atta and see how the parathas turn out. I Googled one more time to see the recipe for the stuffing and came across one which used atta made using only wheat flour. This put my mind at ease as earlier I was really worried about the stuffing oozing out if I didn’t use maida in the atta.
I made four parathas in all and I planned to give one to Devansh as a pre-meal snack. When I gave him a piece and asked if he like it, no, he shook his head emphatically. Now if this had happened a year back I would have been super dejected. But with experience I have learnt to press on. Upon persisting and feeding him nonplussed, the nutcase finished one entire gulachi poli. Had he actually not liked he would have just clamped his mouth shut and not eaten it at all. If you’re used to the regular maida-wala gul poli, this one will taste a bit different. Once I got over the difference in taste, I enjoyed the flavor of jaggery and sesame seeds, their combined taste is simply awesome.
Health benefits of Gul Poli / Gulachi Poli
I looked up health benefits of sesame seeds to know why they are used extensively in food during cold weather. Found out that sesame seeds are given great importance in Ayurveda. Regular consumption of these seeds increases our immunity against various diseases. In winter especially, sesame seeds reduce our chances of catching cold. I came across another interesting fact which some moms might find useful. Apparently, sweets made using sesame seeds should be given to children who suffer from bed-wetting problem in winter. I hope you and your kiddos enjoy the gul poli or, gulachi poli this Makar Sankranti and if you like them, you can repeat them while the winter lasts.
Gul Poli | Gulachi Poli | No Maida
- 4 tbsp jaggery powder grated jaggery
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour besan
- 1 pinch nutmeg powder
- 4 ball-shaped portions of kneaded wheat dough roti ka atta
- homemade ghee
- Heat a pan and roast sesame seeds in it till they turn golden in color. Transfer the roasted seeds to a bowl and allow them to cool.
- Add 1 tbsp ghee in the same pan and roast besan in it till it changes color. (This should take about 3-4 minutes.)
- Grind the roasted sesame seeds using a mixer to make coarse powder. (I must admit that I ground them a bit much and they turned into a fine powder. I wanted a coarse powder.)
- Mix jaggery powder, powdered sesame seeds, roasted besan, nutmeg powder in a bowl.
- Make four lemon-sized balls of the mixture. (I added about a tbsp of ghee to bind the mixture together.)
- Take one ball-shaped dough (atta) and roll out into a small circle (about 5” in diameter).
- Place the lemon-sized portion of the jaggery mixture in the middle of the rolled out dough.
- Bring together the sides of the dough in the center like a potli and seal tightly. This again will be ball-shaped. Flatten it slightly so you can roll out to make parathas.
- Roll out the dough by applying minimal possible pressure to ensure that the stuffing doesn't come out.
- Heat a non-stick tava and place the rolled out paratha on it.
- Cook till one side is almost done and then flip the paratha.
- Apply ghee to the side that's on top and then flip again when the other side is almost done.
- Repeat this so that the other side gets cooked after applying ghee.
- Transfer the paratha onto a serving plate.
- Serve hot or cold along with some homemade ghee.