18 October 2018 Lorraine 2Comment
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Poli 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. 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. This is a filling my mum-in-law makes 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.

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 and 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.

I must say 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”.

This Poli recipe is light and flaky 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. I also increased the amount of condensed milk as my family thought it wasn’t sweet enough before although I prefer the not so sweet version.

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

Flaky Poli

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
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tspn elachie/cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp almond powder
  • 5-6 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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