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  • 6
  • Medium
  • 45 minutes
  • 20 minutes

"Poli is a popular deep-fried pastry made especially during Diwali. Filled with delicious toasted coconut, sesame seeds and semolina, it’s a firm favourite on our dessert table during this special time."


  • For the filling:
  • 80 g desiccated or fresh coconut
  • 30 x 30 g sesame seeds
  • 3 T butter
  • 135 g semolina
  • 160 g castor sugar
  • 1 t cardamom (elachi) powder
  • For the pastry:
  • 390 g cake flour
  • 150 g cold butter, cubed
  • Cold water
  • ½ t fine salt
  • oil, for frying

Cooking Instructions

1. Place the coconut and sesame seeds in a saucepan on medium-low heat, and lightly roast until the coconut turns a light-brown colour. Set aside.

2. In another pan, heat the butter and lightly toast the semolina. Set aside to cool.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the toasted coconut, sesame seeds and semolina. Once the mixture is completely cool, add the castor sugar and cardamom powder.

4. To make the pastry, sift the flour, add the butter and work the mixture into fine breadcrumbs. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time until a smooth dough forms.

5. Split the dough in half, wrap one half in clingwrap, and set aside.

6. Roll out the other half of the dough, making sure it’s smooth and evenly thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

7. Spoon a tablespoon of filling in the centre of the pastry cutouts. Fold pastry in half, and press around the arc of the semi-circle to seal the filling. Use a fork to thoroughly seal the edges. Do this with all pastry and filling.

8. In a saucepan, heat the oil to 180°C. Fry the poli in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, until golden-brown, then place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

Find more Diwali recipes here.

Photograph: Toby Murphy
Production: Khanya Mzongwana

Landi Govender Recipe by: Landi Govender
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Landi is a mother, baker, blogger, and food photographer. She loves sharing creative ideas and fresh takes on her favourite foods. (Jalebi ice cream sandwiches, anyone?) "A lot of my recipes are inspired by my childhood and of course my grandmother who taught me the importance of cooking with love," says Landi. Follow Landi on Instagram @thetockablog.

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