Delicious traditional sweet lentil stuffed flatbread made with chanadal and sugar . Usually served with palpayasam.
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.
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[table id=1 /]The Brahmins from the Mangalore region migrated to Kerala, and brought their traditional recipe of Mangalore holiage/ Mangalore Puran Poli to Trivandrum region. As it was passed from generation to generation the method of making changed a bit compared to the traditional version. I also found similarities between boli and mangalore puran poli in the making of outer cover and stuffing, and also the final brushing of ghee in the cooked boli.
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
Boli /Sugar poli/ Poli: Sweet Lentil Flatbread Thiruvanthapuram Style
For the filling
- 1 ¼ cup Chana dal/Split chick peas/Kadala parippu
- 11/4 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg powder
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder 3 no of pods
- Few pinch of yellow food color if using, I didn’t
For Outer cover
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour/Maida
- 3-4 drops of yellow food color
- ¼ cup gingerly oil / Nalla Enna
- ¼ cup water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For making boli
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 2 tablespoon ghee
To make the Filling
- Wash Chana Dal/split chick peas with running water and cook it with 3 cups of Water in a pressure cooker. (Cook on high till one whistle; then lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes and then crank up the heat till one whistle.)
- Once the pressure is gone, drain the excess water in the dal and wash with running water once again drain it in colander.
- In medium saucepot cook the dal together with the Sugar ( and food color if using) on medium heat .First sugar melts and it become watery .But with continued cooking it will form a thick mass
- Add Nutmeg Powder and Cardamom Powder; mix well and switch off the heat.
- Grind them into fine paste still it is warm, as it cools it get thickens.
- Divide them into 13 lemon sized balls and set aside.
To make the dough for the covering
- Mix together Flour, Salt and Yellow Food Color and make soft dough using enough Water. (The dough should be really soft; softer than a Poori dough)
- Keep it in a bowl and cover it with Oil .The dough should be covered completely with the Oil. Let it rest for 30 minutes at least.
- Pinch out 13 balls from this dough and set aside.
To make the Bolis
- Divide the filling into 13 equal lemon sized balls.
- Take a small portion (the size of a marble) of the dough; flatten it in your palm; place a Dal filling in the middle and cover it with the dough.
- Flatten the balls and keep it aside on Rice flour and repeat with all the other portions.
- Roll out each Dal filled dough into 7 inch circles with the help of Rice flour to avoid sticking.
- Heat a tawa/ griddle on medium heat and cook the Boli on both sides till it starts to change the color here and there. When both sides are cooked brush with ghee, that will help to remove the flour and increase the flavor.
- Serve with Palpayasam.
The prepared dough should be covered in Oil. This together with the resting time gives elasticity to the dough which is very essential.
Try to make it thin as possible, traditional bolis are paper thin and melt in mouth.
This Boli is only very lightly sweetened and when it combines with sweet Palpayasam, so they go well together.
You can store the boli at room temperature for 4 days. If you want you can also freeze them.
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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.