Boli (Puran Poli)

Last year during Diwali, I got a comment from an unhappy reader. She wasn’t unhappy about any particular recipe. Curious to know why she was unhappy?

Well, she was kinda upset about one of my Diwali write-ups. I wrote in a Diwali post, that I came to know more about Diwali after coming to Bahrain since my North Indian neighbours are celebrating it big time. The reader got the feeling that I consider Diwali as a North Indian festival. She wrote to me in an elaborate mail / comment / FB messenger that Diwali is celebrated widely in South India as well and it’s not fair on my part to associate it with just North of India.

The thing is, whatever I write here is based on my experience, thoughts and feelings and I like to keep it as a chat between friends. While I like to pretend that my life is “happening right now” or a storehouse of wild or enchanting or exciting experiences, let’s get real.

My life is pretty basic / routine sprinkled with occasional doses of excitement, happiness, sadness and whatever that comes with the usual cycle. After all, I’m a kind of person who has to go “grocery shopping” to meet people ;)

What am trying to say is, I write based on my experiences and my experiences are not so far and wide, it’s kinda minimum. So please forgive me, if my ignorance or lack of experience hurt your feelings or opinions. It’s not intentional.

During the time I lived in Kerala, not many people that I knew celebrated Diwali and I haven’t lived in other Southern states except Karnataka. The thing is, during my limited stay in Bangalore (Karnataka), I used to run home to Kerala during Diwali holidays, so I missed the action there also.

The very first time I happen to see Diwali celebration up, close and personal was after coming to Bahrain! As I already said it was mostly celebrated by my North Indian neighbours here and I happened to share that experience.

Anyways, this year I wanted to make it up to the “unhappy reader”. It doesn’t sit well with me when somebody is unhappy because of me. So, I’m sharing a Popular South Indian sweet recipe this time to celebrate Diwali. A quick google search tells me this is a common sweet in South India and Maharashtra. The thing is it doesn’t matter to me where it comes from, because I love this sweet!

For me what matters most in a good Boli, is it’s texture. It must be flaky, with a soft melt in the mouth texture, with a hint of sugar and cardamom. I dont like overly sweet Boli. Also for me the texture is perfect, if I can just tear it with my two fingers. If you need to use force or your whole hand to break it, the texture isnt right. Yeah, I’m kind of obsessed with it, it’s because I’m in love with this sweet ;)

In Southern Kerala, Boli is served in sadya along with Semiya Payasam. Honestly I’m not a big fan of that combination. I dont like to share my Boli with anything else ;) However if you find that combo interesting, you can see Semiya Payasam recipe here.

I do hope you get to make this recipe and like it too. You can see other Diwali recipes here.

We, Jose and Maria, wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Diwali! May this festival of lights bring light and happiness in your life! Stay Blessed!

Here is the recipe…

Make a soft and sticky dough with plain flour, turmeric powder (if using) and 3/4 – 1 cup water. Pour sesame oil over the dough. Make sure the dough is completely covered in oil. Let it rest for half an hour -1 hour…


Soak chana dal overnight. Drain the water and rinse 2-3 times. Pressure cook chana dal with 5 cups water for 2 whistles on high flame (refer notes). Once the pressure drops naturally, open the cooker and drain the excess water…


Take a deep and wide pan and add cooked chana dal, sugar, crushed cardamom and 1/2 – 1 tbsp ghee. Cook till the mixture becomes thick, around 6-8 mins. You should be able to roll it into balls. If it’s not thickening even after 8-10 mins, add 1-2 tbsp Besan (gram flour) and cook till the raw taste of besan goes. Let the mixture cool completely…


Make lemon size balls from the chana dal mixture. Divide the dough soaked in oil to equal size balls. The dough balls (plain flour) should be smaller in size than the chana balls. Stretch the dough balls on your palm and make a thin layer. Place the chana dal ball in the middle and cover it with the stretched dough…

Flatten the covered ball between your palms. Coat the flattened disc in rice flour and roll it out as thin as possible. If it tends to stick, sprinkle some rice flour and continue rolling…


Heat a Tava and cook the boli on both sides, till the colour changes and brown specs appear. Make sure you dont overcook it. Drizzle some ghee on both sides while cooking…

Boli / Puran Poli Recipe
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Boli

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Course: Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Author: Maria Jose Martin

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups Chana Dal
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2.5 cups Plain flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder (optional)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Sesame oil (refer notes)
  • 3 Cardamom (seeds crushed)
  • 2-3 tbsp Ghee
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup Rice flour

Instructions

  • Make a soft and sticky dough with plain flour, turmeric powder (if using) and 3/4 – 1 cup water. Pour sesame oil over the dough. Make sure the dough is completely covered in oil. Let it rest for half an hour -1 hour.
  • Soak chana dal overnight. Drain the water and rinse 2-3 times. Pressure cook chana dal with 5 cups water for 2 whistles on high flame (refer notes). Once the pressure drops naturally, open the cooker and drain the excess water.
  • Take a deep and wide pan and add cooked chana dal, sugar, crushed cardamom and 1/2 – 1 tbsp ghee. Cook till the mixture becomes thick, around 6-8 mins. You should be able to roll it into balls. If it’s not thickening even after 8-10 mins, add 1-2 tbsp Besan (gram flour) and cook till the raw taste of besan goes. Let the mixture cool completely.
  • Make lemon size balls from the chana dal mixture. Divide the dough soaked in oil to equal size balls. The dough balls (plain flour) should be smaller in size than the chana balls.
  • Stretch the dough balls on your palm and make a thin layer. Place the chana dal ball in the middle and cover it with the stretched dough. Flatten the covered ball between your palms.
  • Coat the flattened disc in rice flour and roll it out as thin as possible. If it tends to stick, sprinkle some rice flour and continue rolling.
  • Heat a Tava and cook the boli on both sides, till the colour changes and brown specs appear. Make sure you dont overcook it. Drizzle some ghee on both sides while cooking.
  • Prepare the remaining dough in the same way.

Notes

I got around 20-25 small-medium size boli from the above qty.
It is important that you should not over cook the dal. So keep a close watch while pressure cooking it.
You can add turmeric powder to the maida (plain flour) or dal mixture to get a rich yellow colour.
If the dal mixture tends to become dry while cooking, add a tbsp of ghee and mix well.
Make sure the maida ball is stretched very thinly. If it’s thick, boli will not be soft. Though sesame oil is traditionally used for soaking the dough, you can substitute it with sunflower oil.
When you are rolling out the flour-dal mixture, make sure the edges are not thick, otherwise it become rubbery when it cools down.
Store the boli at room temp in an airtight container for 2 days. Refrigerate for longer shelf life and microwave the boli for a few seconds before serving.
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  • Hi Maria, as a fellow Mallu, I can completely relate to this…I truly understood the importance of our Hindu festivals after moving abroad. The truth is, in Kerala, even Hindu households rarely celebrate Diwali.,even if they do, it will be a very spartan affair at home, with a simple puja. The only festival that is celebrated in Kerala in a grand way is Onam. That is why many people from other states think we are a boring lot with just a single festival with no singing or dancing:-)

  • Hi Maria,
    I have tried many of your recipes and found them to be very accurate(Tasty too!!).
    I kinda got curious about this particular recipe. I would like you to look up the blogs of authentic karnataka recipes wherein you will find that the water used to boil the dal is used to make a rasam/saaru, which is trust me, yummm! Of course again a question of taste and liking of little spicy, little tangy and a hint of sweetness!

  • I was so excited when I saw this recipe in your blog and its my ultimate favourite…So, I started off with white kadla..but is that the chickpeas that you are referring to?

  • wow, nice way of presenting the recipe. I live in Mumbai and I have had many versions of this delicious dish. Haven’t tried this myself yet. Will surely try it now. Thanks for sharing.

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