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.
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!
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.
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
- 2 cups Whole Wheat flour
- ¼ tsp of Turmeric Powder
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 2 tblsp Ghee or Clarified butter
- Water to knead the dough as required
Method to make the covering –
- In a large bowl, add flour, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.
- Add water slowly to form a soft dough.
- Add a tblps of ghee or clarified butter and knead this dough lightly for atleast 5-10 minutes.
- Now smear 1 tblsp of ghee over the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- 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 cup Chana Dal
- Water as required for soaking the dal
- 1 cup crushed Organic jaggery
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder or elaichi powder
- A pinch of nutmeg or Jaiphal
- A pinch of Saunth or dry ginger powder
- 1 tblsp ghee or clarified butter
- Soak the chana dal for atleast 5 to 6 hours, preferably overnight as I always do.
- 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.
- Drain the water completely and mash the dal well.
- 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.
- Add ghee and keep stirring the mixture.
- 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.
- Mix well and allow it to completely cool down.
- Make balls of equal quantity and be ready to make the polis or holige.
Key Steps to make the Polis or Holige –
- 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.
- Make equal balls of the Whole wheat flour dough and keep aside.
- Smear some ghee in your palms and take a dough ball.
- Now grease either a plastic paper or I simply make do with my good quality marble base that I use to make rotis etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from griddle and serve hot.
- These flatbreads remain good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- 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.