Boli! Poli! Obattu! A Rose By Any Other Name…

Boli or poli or obattu or other names, depending on which part of India you call home, is a type of paratha (flat, unleavened, wheat-based bread) with sweet fillings.  We usually make them on the first day of Pongal (harvest festival), and sometimes on other holidays.  This boli is filled with lentils and jaggery.  It can be a pain in the neck to make, so adjust the recipe proportionately to make just what you need (recipe below makes about 8 to 10, with some filling left over).  It is definitely worth the work, though.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup wheat flour

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 cup cooked and mashed channa dhal

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup jaggery

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Ghee (optional)

 

Directions

1.  Place the two flours, turmeric and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together to distribute salt and turmeric.  Add the oil and one cup of water.  Combine by hand until the ingredients come together relatively cleanly.  Add water as needed.  Do not over-knead.  The dough should be soft and a little bit more wet than bread dough.  Cover with a wet dish cloth or several wet paper towels, set a plate over the bowl and set aside for at least an hour.

2.  While the dough is resting, place the jaggery in a medium saucepan with one or two tablespoons of water and set over low heat.  Allow the jaggery to melt.  Let the liquid jaggery thicken slightly and remove from the heat.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any impurities.

3.  Return the jaggery to the saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the cooked channa dhal, shredded coconut and cardamom powder.  Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened and much of the excess liquid is gone.  A spoon should stand up straight in the mixture.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

4.  When the jaggery mixture is cool enough to handle, roll it into balls the size of golf balls.

5.  After the dough has rested, roll it into balls about one and a half times the size of of a golf ball.

6.  Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium flame and allow the pan to heat. Lightly dust a clean surface with all-purpose flour and keep a small pile of all-purpose flour in a plate near you.  Press both sides of a dough ball into the flour, making a small disc.

7.   Roll out the dough into a 3 or 4 inch circle.  Place a jaggery ball in the middle of the dough and fold over the edges of the dough until it covers the jaggery ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Gently roll out the boli, dusting the surfaces with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the rolling surface.  It’s okay if the surface breaks.  Simply dust with some extra flour.

9.  Cook the first side of the boli in the frying pan until small bubbles start to appear across the surface.  Flip it and cook the second side until it puffs up.  (It won’t always puff up like this… small puffs work too.)

10.  Remove from pan, spread a small amount of ghee on the surface and serve warm.  If you are making many at the same time, put them in a covered dish as you finish cooking them, replacing the cover between adding bolis to retain both heat and moisture.

11.  Allow to cool completely before storing in a tightly-lidded container.  These boli may be stored for up to a week.  To re-warm the boli, wrap in a wet paper towel and microwave each boli to 10 to 20 seconds, depending on your microwave power.

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Four Rice Recipes to Fill Your Fridge… Well, Your Belly Anyway

Pongal (harvest festival) was just a few weeks ago.  Many people celebrate it as three or four separate days.  Each day has different purposes/meanings, different traditions/rituals and, most importantly, different menus!  I guess I’ll get most of the recipes online eventually, but for today I’ll focus on mixed rice recipes made on the third/fourth days.  The basic ingredients in these four recipes are quite similar, but a few different ingredients in each recipe make it eminently distinguishable from the others.  The ingredients should all be available at your local Indian or other Asian grocery store.  These can be served with any combination of veggies, salads, chutneys, pickles and papad/chips.

 

Coconut Rice

Ingredients

2 tsps canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp urad dhal

1 tbsp channa dhal

2 dried red chillies

Pinch of hing (asafoetida)Handful of cashew nuts, halved

2 to 4 small green chillies (Thai or other hot green chilli peppers), to taste

7 or 8 curry leaves

1 cup shredded coconut

3 cups cooked rice (about 1 cup uncooked)

Salt to taste

 

Directions

1.  Put the cooked rice in a large, shallow bowl that is easy for mixing.

2.  In a small frying pan or saucepan, heat the oil until hot.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the seeds start popping, add the urad dhal, channa dhal, dried red chillies and hing.  As the dhals start to brown, add the cashews and saute until the cashews begin to get a golden color.  Add the green chillies, curry leaves and shredded coconut and saute for just a minute or two.

3.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour the coconut mixture over the rice.  Using a large, flat spoon or spatula, gently toss the rice and coconut mixture until it has combined.  Salt to taste.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.  Can be kept refrigerated in a tightly-lidded container for several days.


Lemon Rice

Ingredients

2 tsps canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp urad dhal

1 tbsp channa dhal

Handful of peanuts, halved

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 to 6 green chillies, depending on taste

7 or 8 curry leaves

1/4 cup lemon juice, or juice of one large lemon

3 cups cooked rice (one cup uncooked)

Salt to taste

Cilantro, chopped for garnish

 

Directions

1.  Put the cooked rice in a large, shallow bowl and set aside.

2.  In a small frying pan or saucepan, heat the oil until hot.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the seeds start popping, add the urad dhal and channa dhal.  As the dhals start to brown, add the peanuts and saute until the peanuts begin to get a golden color.  Add the green chillies and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.  Add the turmeric powder and lemon juice, saute for a few seconds, and turn off the heat.

3.  Pour the lemon mixture over the rice.  Using a large, flat spoon or spatula, gently toss the rice and lemon mixture until it has combined.  Salt to taste.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.  Can be kept refrigerated in a tightly-lidded container for several days.


Tamarind Rice

Ingredients

2 tsps canola or other vegetable oil

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp + 1 tbsp urad dhal

1 tbsp + 1 tbsp channa dhal

1/4 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)

1 tsp coriander seeds

6 dried red chillies

Pinch of hing (asafoetida)

Handful of peanuts, halved

7 or 8 curry leaves

3 cups cooked rice (one cup uncooked)

Salt to taste

 

Directions

1.  In a small frying pan, dry roast 1 tbsp urad dhal, 1 tbsp channa dhal, 1/4 tsp methi seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 3 dried red chillies and hing.  Grind to a fine powder using a coffee or spice grinder.  Set aside.

2.  In the same frying pan, heat the oil.  Add the mustard seeds.  When mustard seeds begin to pop, add 1 tbsp urad dhal, 1 tbsp channa dhal and 3 dried red chillies.  Saute for a few minutes and then add the peanuts.  When the peanuts become golden brown, add the turmeric powder, tamarind paste, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture becomes a little thick.  Add the spice powder from the previous step and the curry leaves and mix well.  Remove from heat.

3.  Put the cooked rice in a large, shallow bowl.  Pour the tamarind spice mixture over the rice.  Use a large, flat spoon or spatula to gently mix the tamarind spice mixture and rice.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Can be stored in the fridge in a tightly-lidded container for a few days.


Curd Rice

Ingredients

2 tsps canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp urad dhal

1 tbsp channa dhal

Pinch of hing (asafoetida)

2 to 4 green chillies, chopped

7 or 8 curry leaves, chopped

2 cups cooked rice (2/3 cup uncooked), cooled

2 tbsp minced ginger (fresh)

2 to 3 cups of buttermilk or yogurt

Salt to taste

 

Directions

1.  Put the cooked and cooled rice in a large, shallow bowl.  Add the ginger and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Using your hand, mix the rice, ginger and salt.  Squeeze as you mix in order to break down the rice grains.  Slowly add buttermilk or yogurt, mixing with your hand as you go.  Put the curry leaves and green chillies on top of the rice mixture and set aside.

2.  In a small frying pan, heat the oil until hot.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds pop, add the urad dhal, channa dhal and hing.  When the dhals become slightly brown, remove from heat and pour over the rice mixture.  Mix well with a spoon.

3.  Serve with spicy, Indian pickles.  Can be stored in the fridge for a few days, but really tastes best and has the best texture on the day it was made.