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Teel Poli (Sweet Sesame Seed Flat Bread)

The combination of sesame seeds and jaggery is a very common one in India and is used to make many traditional sweet dishes. Sesame seeds contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats and are rich in calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral that supports the health and function of muscles, hormones, blood vessels and nerves. One tablespoon of sesame seeds provides 87.8 mg of calcium. Both the calcium and magnesium in the seeds may help to reduce blood pressure. Sesame seeds also provide B vitamins, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Sesame seeds are eaten as they are or are added as an ingredient to meals. Sesame seed oil is also used in cooking. Jaggery is made using traditional methods of pressing and distilling palm or sugar cane juice. In India it is mainly made from sugar cane juice. Though jaggery contains more nutrients than refined sugar (which is only empty calories) because of its molasses content, it is still mostly sugar. The nutrients it contains are in small quantities and so any extra nutrients you get from jaggery come with a lot of calories and so should be eaten in moderation.

This is a very simple and easy to make sweet bread that can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack and is great to carry while traveling. The sesame seeds in this bread makes it very filling and just one small bread is usually enough to satiate those pangs of hunger. However, the jaggery in it is quite addictive and so one tends to have more than one.

Recipe Credit: Darshana Muzumdar

Makes 4 medium sized polis


  • ½ cup teel (sesame seeds)
  • ¼ cup jaggery/palm sugar
  • ½ tsp badishep (fennel seeds)
  • 1 ½ cups wheat flour
  • Salt to taste


Dough: Make a relatively soft dough with the wheat flour, a little salt and water. Knead it well, cover and keep it aside ready to use.

Filling: Roast the teel in a thick bottomed steel pot on low heat, sautéing it continuously till they start to pop. This will take less than 5 minutes so do not leave the teel unattended. Turn off the heat immediately and transfer them onto a plate to cool off immediately to prevent them from roasting more because of the heat of the pot. Once cooled, blend them along with the fennel seeds as fine as possible. (It is okay if it remains a little grainy.) Grate the jaggery to ensure there are no lumps. Put the jaggery and the teel mixture in a bowl and knead it to get a uniform mixture. You may need to add a tablespoon of water if it is too dry and doesn’t mould easily. Keep it ready to roll by making 4 balls out of it.

Rolling: Make four parts of the dough and again cut each part in half to get a total of eight small balls of dough. Heat an iron frying pan to medium heat. Roll out or flatten two halves of the wheat flour dough or press with your fingers to get two circles of around three to four inches diameter. Take one sesame mixture ball and flatten it out to fit on one of the circles of dough. Place the second round of wheat dough on it and press the outside edges firmly to seal them. Dip both sides of this prepared circle in dry wheat flour and roll it out with a rolling pin till it is around ¼” in thickness. You can make it as thin as you prefer. Place this rolled out flat bread on the heated frying pan turning down the heat to let the poli roast well on one side. While it is roasting prepare the second poli in the same manner as the first one. Turn the heat up to medium or a little more and flip the poli on the pan over to allow the other side to roast. You may choose to apply a little coconut or groundnut oil on the surface of the roasted side if you wish, but since the sesame seeds have enough fat this is not really required. Once the other side of the poli is golden brown, flip it over once again and allow the lightly roasted side to brown a little. Remove and allow to cool on a plate before transferring to a steel or glass container. This will stay well for one day outside the fridge and for up to 5 days in the fridge. Warm it gently on a frying pan after removing it from the fridge.

NOTE: The polis will become slightly chewy when cooled and kept for a day or more.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Replace jaggery with soft dates mashed well with your fingers while mixing the roasted sesame seed powder in.

Do not use any coconut or groundnut oil on the bread or while making the dough.

Use unrefined or rock salt.

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