Holige / Bele Obbattu or Puran Poli – A Traditional Festive Indian Dessert

Holige / Bele Obbattu or Puran Poli – Festive Dessert from Karnataka

The festival season has begun with Shravan Month and until Navratri, we have one festival after the other lined up. Every reason to make sweets at home and share with family and friends. I certainly don’t want to be left behind and since I celebrate and welcome both Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi at home, I have a very busy next 2 months ahead of me, which I am thoroughly excited about.

When the Shhh Secretly Cooking Group announced the region for the month as Karnataka and when my partner gave me 2 secret ingredients to cook with, I knew that very moment, Holige or Bele Obbattu or Puran Poli would be my ultimate choice of festive dessert or sweet.

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Holige is very similar to Puran Poli of Maharashtra which is a festival favourite. Be it Holi, Gudi Padwa or Sankranti, making of Puran Poli and serving it with tup or ghee and some Warm Milk is customary. Holige on the other hand is slightly thicker than Puran Poli like Boli. Both the recipes require some expertise in handling the dough and the filling, not to forget tons of patience in rolling and shaping the bolis, cooking them slowly with ghee or clarified butter. Please don’t shy away from using ghee and be very generous. In fact, dip the Poli in some ghee or heat it slightly in the microwave, spread a good 1 tblsp of clarified butter on top and have it with warm kesar (saffron) milk. Your breakfast is sorted! Some Classic Festive desserts are to be enjoyed traditionally and not remember the fact that these are neither gluten free or vegan. They are comfort in every bite, reminds you what festivals should be all about – Celebration and Sweetness!  

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Holige or Obbatu is the sweet boli or poli which means stuffed sweet flatbreads that are traditionally made on the Karnataka New Year i.e. Ugadi Festival. Holige is made using Whole Wheat Flour and has a stuffing made with Chana Dal or split chickpeas, Jaggery and few aromatics like Cardamom, dry ginger powder or Saunth and Nutmeg. Though the dish requires some expertise (I decided to click the step by step pictures for convenience), the end result is a treat.

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Maharashtra calls this dessert as Puran Poli and so does Gujarat. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala it is referred to as Boli. The stuffing is primarily sweetened with Jaggery, lentils like chana dal. Some add a mixture of Coconut and jaggery with the aromatics as a filling too. The outer covering too varies, while some in Maharashtra make it with Refined flour or Maida, these days with growing awareness towards health, many have switched over to Whole wheat flour. Frankly speaking, I enjoy both. In fact, the filling is so good that it really tempts you to eat the same on its own.

I usually shy away from making elaborate desserts simply because with the two of us, it gets difficult to control and consume. However, this time, I wanted to just enjoy the challenge and not restrict myself to only doing a healthy take on the recipe or avoiding desserts. Call it the Festival Fever or the fact that its my birthday month, I was keen to do something different for a change.

Ironically, my partner, Seema Doraiswamy Sriram who Blogs at Mildly Indian also gave me 2 secret ingredients i.e. Wheat Flour and Jaggery that immediately made me plan the Holige or the Karnataka Version of the Puran Poli from Maharashtra. Do check out some lovely recipes and pour some love on Seema’s blog.

Every time I make Bolis, I remember my mother immensely. She was a keen lover of desserts, just like me and these were one of her favourites. The very first time I tried this, I was in my early 20’s and the result was a very hard puran poli which my mother happily ate as it was my first attempt. I kept improving since then and when I made this last week, thoughts moved back to the times when Ma always advised me – Never settle for anything less in life! Find your worth, keep moving and improving yourself. Remember, the day you stop learning, is the day you are dead! Every single time I try a recipe or create one, I always remember her words.

Do read the recipe, the step by step pictures which make it easy to attempt the dish and the notes too.

Are you interested in festive sweets similar to Holige, Do check out the Ukadiche Modak or Steamed Stuffed Rice Modaks that are made during Ganesh Chaturthi Festival and the Pal Payasam which is Lord Krishna’s Favourite during Janmashtami or Krishna Jayanti.

Enjoy the festive season and if you try making this at home, please do share your feedback. Would be happy to hear from you.

Recipe for Holige / Obbattu or Puran Poli – Festive Dessert from Karnataka

Soaking time – 6 hours + Dough Rest time – 45 minutes

Cook Time – 45 minutes

Serves 12 nos. Polis or flatbreads

Ingredients for the covering

  1. 2 cups Whole Wheat flour
  2. ¼ tsp of Turmeric Powder
  3. ¼ tsp of salt
  4. 2 tblsp Ghee or Clarified butter
  5. Water to knead the dough as required

Method to make the covering –

  1. In a large bowl, add flour, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.
  2. Add water slowly to form a soft dough.
  3. Add a tblps of ghee or clarified butter and knead this dough lightly for atleast 5-10 minutes.
  4. Now smear 1 tblsp of ghee over the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, knead it again for another 5 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes and then you have your covering ready to be filled and shaped.

Ingredients for the filling

  1. 1 cup Chana Dal
  2. Water as required for soaking the dal
  3. 1 cup crushed Organic jaggery
  4. ¼ tsp cardamom powder or elaichi powder
  5. A pinch of nutmeg or Jaiphal
  6. A pinch of Saunth or dry ginger powder
  7. 1 tblsp ghee or clarified butter

Method –

  1. Soak the chana dal for atleast 5 to 6 hours, preferably overnight as I always do.
  2. Drain the water completely, add just 4 tblsp of water, cover and cook it in a pressure cooker for 5-6 whistles. The cooked dal should be completely mushy when pressed lightly. If it is dry in the centre, cook again for 2 whistles.
  3. Drain the water completely and mash the dal well.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan or kadhai, add the mashed dal, crushed jaggery and ensure the gas flame is low. Stir it continuously to avoid burning of the jaggery at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add ghee and keep stirring the mixture.
  6. The mixture will firstly turn completely runny but will eventually start cooking and thickening before turning into a blob at the corner of the pan or kadhai which is the exact moment you switch off the gas flame and add the aromatics like Elaichi powder, saunth and nutmeg.
  7. Mix well and allow it to completely cool down.
  8. Make balls of equal quantity and be ready to make the polis or holige.

Key Steps to make the Polis or Holige –

  1. Ensure you have melted ghee or clarified butter with you at all times during the making and cooking of the polis since it involves greasing of the surface and cooking the polis in a tawa or griddle.
  2. Make equal balls of the Whole wheat flour dough and keep aside.
  3. Smear some ghee in your palms and take a dough ball.
  4. Now grease either a plastic paper or I simply make do with my good quality marble base that I use to make rotis etc.
  5. Pat the dough ball into a small thick circle on your hands and place the filling (which are also made into balls) and try to cover and seal. Similar to making parathas with filling.
  6. Dip your finger tips in ghee and apply on the disc which will now be patted slowly on the marble surface. Do it slowly, applying pressure at all corners lightly ensuring the filling doesn’t sneak out from the edges nor does the polis tear.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a griddle and once the bolis are done, place them lightly on the hot griddle. Ensure the flame is low when cooking them.
  8. Gently coat all the sides with ghee and smear on the top as well while they are cooking. Turn them over / Flip and cook on the other side too by once again pouring few drops of ghee on the edges.
  9. Remove from griddle and serve hot.
  10. These flatbreads remain good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Recipe notes

  • While making each and every boli or poli, ensure the marble top, the fingertips and the dough with the filling are all smeared with ghee. This enables you to shape and also prevents the boli from tearing while being shaped.
  • Ensure good resting time for the wheat flour dough. Never be in a hurry to make it quickly as soon as you knead. It would turn to hard polis. Always cover the dough with a damp cloth while it is resting to ensure the dough doesn’t dry out. Smear the ghee generously while it is being rested, you will see that the dough absorbs all the ghee which in turn ensures your polis are soft and manageable to knead.
  • If you are using a plastic sheet, grease the sheet after every boli in the similar way.
  • Don’t make ahead and keep these polis in advance. They tend to give out moisture due to the melted jaggery so, make one at a time and cook. Patience is the key.
  • Apply ghee generously while making this. It turns out very soft. If you try and shy away from adding ghee, it would lead to very hard polis.
  • Ensure your gas flame is always low while cooking the polis. They usually puff up slightly which indicates they have cooked well.
  • I have added only 1 cup of jaggery as we don’t prefer the polis to be too sweet. You can however, go upto 1.5 cups which actually taste delicious.

Vidya Narayan

57 thoughts on “Holige / Bele Obbattu or Puran Poli – A Traditional Festive Indian Dessert

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  1. Absolutely love this yummy dish and it has been a while I had this .So tempted to try this out. Thanks for the share Vidya with the detailed step by step pictures , it is very useful!

    1. Thanks my dear for all the lovely words and I am sure you will try them soon. I thought of putting the step by step pics specifically as this dessert is slightly tricky to make. Glad you liked it

  2. I am drooling here as puranpoli is my absolute favorite sweet. Just when I thought I should seriously lose the extra pounds, you post this 🙂

    1. Talk about extra pounds – The next 2 months are the toughest for me with festivals lined up, visiting family / friends and not to mention, gobbling the sweets. Thanks so much and glad you liked them. Puran Poli ani tup mhanje life is sorted!

      1. I know what you mean about the festival season…and in US we add Thanksgiving feast to it too 🙂

  3. Such an irresistible Holige, all time favourite of our family. And that stepwise pictures tempts me a lot to dish out these ultimate traditional dish. Hard to resist Vidya..

    1. I am glad I made this Prathima, was happy with the outcome and family /friends enjoyed it too. Thank you so much.

  4. Absolutely loved this style of Puran Poli, I have never tried it. My mom in law make this during Ganesha festival. That’s a comfort food for me. Perfect share for this festive season!!

  5. As I have said before, I have not tried making many sweets as I alway felt they were difficult or needed a special knack. Poli is a great favourite and after reading this detailed recipe, Im getting ready to tackle this and make it for myself during this festival season. Thanks for the share.

    1. My pleasure and I am sure your results would be outstanding. You do cook with passion and tackle some never heard recipes so this would be a piece of cake. If you need any tips, would be happy to help you.

    1. All the right combinations Seema and such traditional beauties are simply divine. Thank you so much for the ingredients and the kind words.

  6. I’m a huge fan of puran poli, just love it and also love to have the filling on its own. We make the filling using tuvar dal and sugar. Must try this chana dal and jaggery filling one. Also like the idea of adding a bit of turmeric to the dough.Great share for the theme. We tend to serve it not as a dessert but as a part of the main meal with kadhi, sabjis, rice.

    1. Thank you so much and yes, this is part of the neivedya thali in Maharashtra along with Varan Bhaat and poori bhaji Srikhand combo. I ate the filling more than required actually that day. One ball was missing from the pic .. if you look closely.. ha ha.

  7. I love to see similar version of the recipe’s being used in different states with variations. I have never made puran poli and yet to attempt. You have made it to perfection, and the pic in which you have shown the filing, feeling like grabbing it and having it. Delicious.

    1. Renu, the filling is the actual bomb. I gobbled an entire ball myself as it was too tempting. There is a very slight variation of this recipe, in terms of filling etc as they do add khoya in Bengal, coconut jaggery too in Karnataka instead of chana dal combo. Wish I could feed you some. Thanks dear.

      1. Post by all means dear. The more such traditional recipes, the merrier. I make it at home too, the coconut version for Ganesh Chaturthi along with the Kozhukattai. Come over to Mumbai Priya, would be happy to treat you.

  8. With such a detailed post at their fingertips, anyone can make perfect Holige, Vidya. I doff my hat to you. I have never added turmeric to the outer covering but I can see it lends a lovely hue. Will try it this way when I make these for Ganapati.

    1. Thanks Aruna for all the kind words. Like I mentioned, this challenge I wanted to go all out and not restrict myself. The first time I made this years back, I didnt add the turmeric and it wasnt appealing visually. Wheat when cooked gives a darker colour combined with jaggery so the addition of turmeric helps in bringing out the mild yellow tinge. I am not sure how many add this. Also with Kesar you dont get the same effect, tried that too. I avoid food colours so turmeric works best.

  9. I must say Vidya,your photography skills are improving day on day! I commend everything in this recipe – the recipe itself,props,photography and the passion for cooking!

  10. Always an yes to poli, be it with paruppu filling or thengai or kadale yellu…it is a winner always and the and the pics that you have posted are so good that you are tempting me to make it right now. Looks amazing vidya

  11. thats an awesome recipe, so well made !! Amma makes it the simialr way, so I havent yet bothered to learn it 🙂 he he ! Holige this way is quintessentially Mysore 🙂 kudos on getting it so perfect …

  12. You know, among Karnataka cuisine, two dishes were on my to-dlist as this one and Mysore pak. This dish I have tried my hand sometimes before. So opted to mysore pak for theme 😉 These sweet flatbreads are absolutely perfect for the festive season !!

    1. Haha .. Sasmita, in my case, Mysore pak is already on the blog so I had to try this. Our story matches and I loved your post as well. Thank you so much.

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