November 8, 2010

Obbattu/holige/puran poli - Lentil and sugar stuffed flat bread


This is my favorite sweet of all times. It is sweet stuffed flat bread made for festivals.
It is so ironic to see a reverse culture trend taking place in my mother land. Many of today’s generation, don’t know how to make traditional food, because, they are all available at the store.  All they do is buy it and serve it on a platter. Growing up, as a child, I remember mom making everything from scratch, saying, no food tastes better than homemade, especially festive food.  Sad to see it is not that way anymore.
             It is different when we migrate to foreign land; we rarely find them in the store.  The only way, is to learn to make it. Good or bad, trial and errors, we master the art over time. Thanks to moms and friends who come to the rescue.
What I use: Makes 20 medium sized obbattus
For the filling
2 cups toor dal or channa dal (or 1 cup each)
2 cups jaggery powdered (whole cane sugar)
2-4 green cardamoms
5 cups of water
For the covering
2 cups all purpose flour/maida
1 cup warm water
½ cup oil
Pinch of salt and turmeric.
To make the stuffing:
Soak the dal in water for an hour. In a large pan, add the dal, water and cardamoms, bring it to a boil. When the dal begins to crack on the sides, and is soft to touch, turn off the heat. Drain in a colander and set both the water and dal aside.
In a thick bottom pan, add jiggery and water. On medium heat, bring it to a simmer. Test to see if it has reached a ball consistency. Add a small amount of the syrup in a bowl of cold water. Touch it with your finger, and slowly roll it, if it’s runny, it is not ready. If the syrup forms a soft ball, we are good. Filter the hot paste in a metal filter, to get rid of any fine sand.
Add the drained dal, and jaggery together and cook till the watery liquids evaporate. Let cool, and grind it in a processor.  Set aside.

To make the covering:
In a processor, using the dough blade, add in the all purpose flour, salt and turmeric and 2 tsp oil. Pulse it 3 times.  Now add in ¾ to 1 cup water and turn it on, to make a gooey smooth paste. The consistency should be elastic (like soft chewing gum). Now add in ½ cup oil and finish it with 3 -5 quick pulses. Set aside. You can do the whole process by hand, you will have to knead it with greased hands, for a really long time, say 15 minutes, to get the same elasticity.


Rolling it out:
Take the filling dough. Make medium lemon sized balls and place it on a plate. Take the covering dough, grease your hands (by dipping it in oil), pull out a small lemon sized ball, and, on a greased paper, flatten it out to look like a cookie. 





Place the sweet filling dough in the center. Pull the covering over this from the edges, around, to the center, start layering the edges, on each other. Use the other hand to hold it, if it’s your first time, just till you get the hang of it. 





Completely cover the filling. Press any excess covering dough into the top center to form a pit.







Dip this white dumpling in a little oil. Invert the sealed pit face down, and gently pat it down with greased hands, flattening it out evenly to look like flat bread. You may also use a plastic sheet on top of the greased dumpling, and roll it with a rolling pin if you like.






Use a flat bread making pan, turn it on medium heat. When it starts to smoke, gently and quickly, invert the greased paper on to the pan. Peel the paper from one edge to the other. Let it cook on low heat.







Slightly lift the edges, if it’s a golden brown, make a quick and gentle flip. Cook it the same, on the other side. It is served with ghee/milk/mango puree or just eaten as is. Yum!