Dudh Puli is a classic Bengali milk based dessert that we specially prepare during winter season to celebrate Makar Sankranti. Stuffed with coconut, sweetened with the perfumy date palm jaggery this rice flour sweet dumpling is so satisfying at every bite.
What is Dudh Puli?
To break it down, dudh or doodh is milk and Puli is dumpling. Dudh Puli falls in the category of "pithe" which is a type of dessert that we prepare using rice flour, jaggery, coconut. It is very popular in the region of West Bengali, Orissa, Assam, the general Northeast Region of India.
Most of the pithe calls for rice flour, which makes it gluten free.
Ingredients for Dudh Puli
Rice Flour - You want to use good quality rice flour. You don't want something that is too fine like all-purpose flour or too grainy, either.
Coconut - We make the filling using freshly grated coconut. You can use frozen too, but avoid using dry desiccated coconut.
Date Palm Jaggery - Since Date Palm Jaggery is a winter specialty, we use it a lot a. a sweetener in our desserts. Outside India, you can find this particular variety of jaggery in Indian or Bangladeshi store. Ask for "Patali Gur/ Nolen Gur/ Khejur Gur"
Khoya - Khoya or Mawa is solid milk, and it is not always added in the filling. I like the taste of Mawa with coconut, and so I add it all the time in the filling.
Milk - It is a milk based dessert and I like to use only whole milk. You can definitely switch it up and try different variety of milk.
You can find the exact measurement in the recipe card below.
Steps to prepare Dudh Puli
Preparing the filling
Step 1 - In a skillet and the freshly grated coconut along with grated patali gur. The filling will not taste good if you use dry coconut flakes. Patali gur is date palm jaggery and traditionally used in this filling, but you can use other variety jaggery too.
STEP 2- Using your clean hand, mix the jaggery with coconut. This step will make sure that the jaggery and coconut is mixed nicely before you start cooking them together.
STEP 3- Add the chopped or grated khoya (solid milk) if using and then cook the mixture in low heat for 5 minutes. As you cook and stir, the khoya and jaggery will melt, and all the ingredients will come together evenly.
Preparing the rice flour dough
STEP 4- In a heavy bottom pan, add water and a pinch of salt. Bring it to boil and then add the rice flour.
STEP 5 - Switch off the heat and cover the pan for 3 minutes. Don't stir at this step.
STEP 6 - After 3 minutes, open the lid, and stir the mixture with the back of the spoon. It will form a crumbly texture.
STEP 7 - Transfer the crumbly texture to a plate and keep a bowl of warm water ready. Sprinkle a little amount of the warm water and start kneading the mixture. You have to knead while it is still warm.
STEP 8- You have to knead for roughly 10 minutes to from a smooth dough. Keep in mind, you might need to add more water or a little bit of extra rice flour to form the smooth dough.
STEP 9- Cover the dough with a damp cloth for 15 minutes.
Shaping the Puli
STEP 10- Divide the dough into 16 to 17 small portions and shape them into tiny balls. If your hand gets sticky, just wet your hand. Avoid adding extra flour. Cover the dough balls as you shape one portion at a time.
STEP 11- Rub the small ball with a little rice flour and start flattening it buy pressing and rotating as you go.
STEP 12- Add 1 tablespoon portion of the filling and then seal the edges gently. Be gently as you do this step, as rice flour can easily break apart. Make sure to cover the shaped puli and as you shape the rest of them.
Cooking the Dudh Puli Pitha
STEP 13- Simmer the milk in a heavy bottom pan for 15 minutes to thicken the texture of the milk. Keep stirring in between to avoid the milk for getting burnt at the bottom of the pan.
STEP 14 - Gently slide the shaped puli in the milk and cook for 10 minutes in medium heat. Gently stir in between.
STEP 15- Switch off the heat and sprinkle the grated jaggery. Cover the pan and leave aside for 5 minutes. This will melt the jaggery.
Mix it around and serve warm!
The filling that I used here is the same that I used in Patishapta. You will need half a cup of the filling for this recipe.
Remember to always keep the dough covered with a damp kitchen towel as you shape, or else it will dry out easily.
Dudh Puli tastes best when served fresh. It tastes very satisfying and comforting while it's warm.
Storing and Reheating Dudh Puli
Often we prepare Pithe in small batches and serve it fresh. If you, however, make in big bulk, then store in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that since it is prepared with rice flour, the dough will feel hard as it sits in the fridge. I prefer to bring it to room temperature before reheating in the microwave to soften the dudh puli.
It makes 17 Dudh Puli and the size is neither too small nor too big.
Yes, you can make it in advance. But Dudh Puli is tasted best when served fresh soon after preparing it. You can definitely make the filling a week in advance and store in the fridge.
Dudh Puli is prepared using rice flour, which makes it gluten free.
I am sure you can prepare the same using almond or oat milk, however the authentic taste comes from only using dairy whole milk.
Try these Bengali winter specialty
- 1 cup Rice flour
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 Cups Whole milk
- 1 cup Date palm jaggery (grated )
For the filling
- ¼ cup Solid milk (khoya/mawa)
- ½ cup Grated coconut
- ½ cup Date Palm Jaggery
- 1 tablespoon milk
Prepare the Filling
- In a non stick pan, add the grated khoya/mawa (solid milk) along with grated jaggery, milk and coconut.
- Keep cooking in medium low heat until it all combines. Taste for sweetness and if you prefer more sweet, add more jaggery.
- Once done, keep aside and let it cool downThe filling can be made a week in advance and kept in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
Prepare the Rice Flour Dough
- In a heavy bottom pan, boil the water with the salt.
- Add the rice flour, switch off the heat, cover the pan and set a timer for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, stir the rice flour using the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the crumbly rice flour to a place or kitchen counter and take a bowl of hot water.
- The dough has to be prepared while the rice flour is still hot. For the perfect texture of the dough, you have to let it absorb enough hot water. So add water little by little with your hand and keep kneading.
- You have to be patient as you form the soft dough. It will take roughly 10 minutes for the dough to come together. Watch the video to understand this step better.
- Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp towel and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Shaping the Puli (rice flour dumplings)
- After 15 minutes, divide the dough into 16 portions.
- Shape the portions into round balls and keep it covered with a damp cloth as you shape. The dough will feel a little sticky, but avoid adding extra flour, instead wet your hand with water if needed.
- Traditionally, the tiny balls are rolled out with a hand and then a small portion of the filling is placed in the center. Fold the rolled dough in half and seal the edges by pinching gently. I use a tortilla press for all my gluten free dough recipe, and it becomes very effortless to roll the balls into tiny perfect circles.
- Shape all the dumplings and keep covered with damp cloth to avoid it from getting dry.
Preparing the Dudh Puli
- In a heavy bottom pan, pour the milk and let it simmer for 15 minutes in medium heat. Keep stirring, so it doesn't get burnt at the bottom of the pan.
- After 15 minutes, place the puli (the filled dumplings) in one layer without crowding the pan. Let it cook for 10 minutes, stir occasionally, but gently as these are fragile and can break apart.
- After 10 minutes, switch off the heat. Sprinkle the jaggery all around and cover the pan for 5 minutes. This will help the jaggery to melt.
- After 5 minutes, stir everything to incorporate the jaggery evenly.
- Dudh Puli tastes best when served warm and fresh. Enjoy!