It will be hard to think about a marriage feast in the Thiruvananthapuram region of Kerala (my home state in India) without boli and payasam. It is a must to have 3-4 payasam/Sweet pudding, like Ada pradathaman, Palpayasam and kadala parippu payasam, which are most common of payasam. Boli will usually be accompanied by palpaysam. They are like husband and wife combo. Among the tamil Brahmin communities this boli or sweet stuffed lentil flatbread is most common during festivals like Deepavali, Avaniavittam etc. You can find them in bakeries too, and Appa used to buy it for us.
This week I got a sudden carving for boli. It was like movie flashback, eating them on friends marriage or on a deepavali day in house. Here in US you can’t find them even in Indian store. If you want it you have no choice you need to make it. My hubby was on business trip for last 3 days, so on Tuesday I need to cook for only 3 of us. Usually when I cook rice in pressure cooker, I would make 2 cups of rice in two pans. However on this day I made only one pan of rice and on the second pan I added chana dal/split chickpeas for cooking. This happened on morning for our lunch. Then I drained the chanadal and wash with running water and set aside to make boli. However that day my daughter had a field trip to Drewberry farm, and she came back only after 3 .00 PM. So my boli making extended for long time, finally I made them in the night after feeding the little ones and let them play and make mess while I am cooking.
In other parts of India, especially in Maharashtra they make a similar stuffed lentil flatbread called Puran Poli. In Karnataka it named as Holige or Obbattu, In Andhra Pradesh it is named as Bobbattu, where as it become poli in Tamil Nadu. My hubby is from Mumbai, and every time we visit, my mother in law makes sure that she makes puran poli for us. To make puran poli, first cook the chana dal then it is again cooked jaggery and until it becomes soft. Then they are made into small balls later used as stuffing/puran. Then an outer covering is made with all purpose flour, milk and ghee into smooth dough. Then equal number of small balls is made out from both stuffing as well as covering. The puran is stuffed inside the dough and then rolled out flat using a rolling pin. The poli /flat bread is then cooked on a hot griddle and served with ghee.
Also the type of lentil used varies, in Gujarat , Karnataka and Tamil Nadu they use Toor dal/split pigeon peas to make this sweet flat bread. In Andhra Pradesh, they use chana dal or moong beans to make this one. Where in Maharashtra it is made with chanadal, In Kerala boli is made with chanadal/ spilt chick peas. The main sweetening agent used is jaggery or sugar. Spices used also vary from state to state. In coastal areas like Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, nutmeg is used along with cardamom where as in rest of part only cardamom is used.
Comparison between Boli and Puran Poli
|Filling||Chana dal, Sugar|
Nutmeg powder, cardamom
|Chana dal, Sugar,Jaggery
Nutmeg powder, cardamom
|Outer cover||All purpose flour/maida, yellow food color/turmeric, salt, water and gingerly oil||Whole wheat flour or all purpose flour or Mix of both
yellow food color/turmeric, salt, water and ghee
|Spreading||Done with the help of rice flour||Whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
|Smearing||once it is cooked brushed with ghee to remove flour and increase the flavor ||once it is cooked brushed with ghee to remove flour and increase the flavor|
|Served with||Palpayasam||Katachi amti|
Here is an you tube video of making boli
In boli, the dough for the outer cover is made first with all-purpose flour, food color, salt and water and covered with gingerly oil for 30 minutes at least. When the dough is soaking in oil, you can prepare the filling.
Cook the chana dal in pressure cooker, and once it is cooked well wash it with running water and allow draining the water, later it is cooked again with sugar. Once the dal becomes thick, grind it into a fine paste while it is warm make balls out of both stuffing and cover and fill the stuffing on each cover and spread it into very thin flat bread. While spreading the flat bread you need to use rice flour liberally, to prevent from sticking to the board. Also try to make it as thin as possible. Then on a hot griddle cook flatbread until it has brown spots on both sides. Use low-medium flame. Once they cooked on sides, brush with melted ghee, enjoy with semiya sabudana payasam recipe coming next.
Here comes the recipe
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This is Swathi ( Ambujom Saraswathy) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.