Looks like a wheat flour Cheela and tastes like a deliciously sweet Malpua, Meetha Pooda is a dish that is traditionally cooked in Punjabi homes for the festival of Baisakhi. Mildly spiced with fennel seeds and packed with sugar, this delicious Indian pancake is a must-have this Baisakhi. Here’s the recipe.
If you have ever celebrated the harvest festival of Baisakhi with a Punjabi family, then you would know just how well-loved Meetha Pooda is especially on this occasion. There is no dearth of Indian pancake varieties in this country, from South India Dosas to North India Cheelas or Chillas. But when it comes to Meetha Pooda, the confusion can be quite apparent if you have tasted many of these varieties. Here’s why.
Traditionally, Pooda refers to a sweet Cheela—and the sweet and savoury versions of this dish also look similar to each other. These are flat pancakes made with a thin batter that spreads easily. While the savoury version of Cheela is made with everything from besan or gram flour to amaranth flour, buckwheat flour and even quinoa or oats these days, the sweet Pooda is made usually with whole wheat flour or atta, or refined flour or maida. And that’s where the confusion arises, because when made with whole wheat flour and spiced with fennel seeds, Meetha Pooda can easily remind us of Malpuas.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Nirmal Bhoj
In case you didn’t know, Malpuas are sweet pancakes made of whole wheat flour, bananas, milk, sugar and fennel seeds—which makes the flavour profile of both Meetha Pooda and Malpua quite similar to each other. In fact, apart from the fact that Meethe Pooda is flatter and looks like a Cheela, the similarities with Malpua are more remarkable. In many households, Meetha Pooda is actually made in a fatter version which resembles Malpuas even more!
So, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that Meetha Pooda is a deliciously sweet Baisakhi dish cooked up in Punjabi households that tastes like Malpua despite the fact that the looks are clearly more similar to the North Indian Cheela. This Baisakhi, prepare this sweet Punjabi pancake and wonder at the similarities of Indian cuisines that prove unity in diversity is truly our main motto. Here’s the recipe.
Image courtesy: chefstoppe.com
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp fennel seeds powder
3 tbsp sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup water
Ghee, for frying
1. Sift the whole wheat flour into a large bowl using a sieve.
2. Add the fennel seeds powder, sugar and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and water.
4. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, whisking constantly to ensure no lumps are formed.
5. The batter formed should be slightly thin after the sugar dissolved.
6. To make the Meetha Pooda, heat a non-stick pan or tawa.
7. Pour a ladle or two of the Meetha Pooda batter and spread it around evenly.
8. Apply ghee on the sides and let the Meetha Pooda cook until the sides turn brown.
9. Flip the Meetha Pooda and apply more ghee if needed.
10. Cook the Meetha Pooda on both sides, then fold it into quarters or serve as is with yoghurt and pickles.