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Flaky Poli Recipe

Flaky Poli Recipe

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Flaky Poli Recipe is an Indian sweet treat made with a flaky deep-fried pastry and filled with coconut, sesame seeds, cardamom and almond. it is usually prepared for a special occasion.

Flaky Poli Recipe

Flaky Poli on a white cake stand

This brings back memories of my childhood. I remember my mum making this for Diwali. She never made it quite the same, she used a more nutty filling.

However I prefer this filling without the addition of nuts.  My mum-in-law makes her filling this way and she is a great cook so I have learned a few tricks from her over the years. 

This Flaky Poli can be deep-fried immediately or can be frozen. Be sure to separate them with some plastic or cling wrap so they don’t stick together.

Festival Treat

Deepavali or Diwali, and Indian festival where Indians celebrate light over darkness, it was really festive when we were younger. It was a grand occasion.

I remember our families preparing for the occasion days in advance and they baked every sweet treat they could, we always had new clothes and lit clay lamps and firework and all our family came together on this special occasion.

Over the years it has changed, kids have moved away from their hometowns and are now living miles apart from parents and siblings.  Diwali is not declared a holiday in SA so most people work and can only celebrate in the evenings.

Families are so far apart so we also don’t get to spend it with every member of our family, like in the old days. It is a sad reality, but it is how the world has changed.

Although we miss our parents and siblings we do try to keep it festive and make it as special as we can.  Diwali will not be the same if there’s no sweet treats so I am sure to make a few of my families favourites.

I do share with my neighbours and friends because it’s what I do best, and as they say “sharing is caring”.

How to make the Flaky Poli Recipe

This Flaky Poli Recipe is light and crisp as I increased the quantity of butter, in my previous recipes I used a little less butter. It wasn’t bad but this was perfect.

An overload of sugar I cannot handle. However, I increased the amount of condensed milk for this recipe as my family thought it wasn’t sweet enough before. Although I must admit I prefer the not so sweet version.

You make the Poli by first making a light, buttery pastry. It is fairly easy to make. It is then filled with a mixture made with coconut, sesame seeds, condensed milk, cardamom and almond.

It can be made ahead and frozen or you can fry them immediately after filling them.

Freezing the Poli

When freezing the Poli please ensure each layer is separted with cling wrap or wax paper. If you do not separate them they stick together and will become a disaster.

They are best fried when frozen. Always remember pastry and cold work together. No need to thaw them.

Flaky Poli on a white plate

Perfect little sweet treat with your favorite tea or coffee! In India they make a similar treat but they call it Karanji. This looks like a great tasting Karanji Recipe from Veg Recipes of India.

More Sweet Treats to try:

Easy Gulab Jamun

Easy 5-Minute Rose Pistachio Burfee

Easy Penda Truffles

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4.5 from 2 votes

Flaky Poli Recipe

A delicious South African Indian pastry filled with coconut, sesame seeds and condensed milk
Cuisine Indian
Keyword indian pastry, poli
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 28


  • 125 gram butter
  • 1&1/2 cup cake wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cold milk you may need more or a little less
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp elachie/cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp almond powder
  • 12 tbsp condensed milk depending on how sweet you prefer it


  • Fry the coconut and sesame seeds in a pan, on low heat, until it turns slightly brown. Add condensed milk, cardamom and almond. Mix well and set aside
  • For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it forms fine breadcrumbs
  • Pour the milk, a little at a time until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough. Remember you want a flaky pastry so overhandling the dough will result in a stiff pastry. Roll out the dough, about 3mm thickness, and cut out round circles with a cookie cutter
  • Place a teaspoon of filling onto one side of each circle and fold it over, press it down with the fingertips and press the edges with a fork or you can twist the edges like a rope. I tried pressing my pastry with a dough press that I purchased but it wasn't the result I expected so my polis are not as pretty but still tastes delicious.
  • Fry the poli in hot oil over medium heat. Serve warm


Please note you may need to double the filling recipe depending on how small you make the polis.
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Recipe Rating

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Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Hi . I tried the recipe. Was excellent. Although my poli did open a little . I will use flour paste in future. But excellent recipe. Thank you for sharing with us

Ashlyn Ramnaraj

Monday 8th of November 2021

I made these for the first time this Diwali. Absolute perfection! It was flaky, light and full of flavours that brought to focus all the beautiful Diwalis of the past. I received many compliments on this little wonder treat - even made it better than most of the seasoned bakers in the family :) Thank you Lorraine, for sharing this gem. Definitely trying out more of your lovely recipes!


Tuesday 9th of November 2021

Thank you so much Ashlyn. I'm really happy to hear that. At least you got to be the star:-)


Friday 12th of February 2021

The filling was spot on but the pastry was like a biscuit dough and wasn't quiet right.


Monday 15th of February 2021

Hi Pria! I am not sure why the pastry turned out like a biscuit dough. Maybe you can try reducing the amount of butter if you prefer a stiffer dough. It's one of our favorite recipes and I make it all the time and it is definitely not biscuit like.

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