- Food and Cooking
Boli; the South Indian dessert recipe
Desserts are invariably a part of a large meal in any culture. Cakes, ice-creams, pastries, pies all attract everyone with their colorful flavor and lingering taste. Boli is a South Indian dessert usually prepared during special occasions and festivals, which is taken along-with the sweet porridge, ‘payasam’.
History of Boli
I remember my mother making this dessert on the occasion of ‘Avani Avittam’. This auspicious day is meant for the gents in a household of Tamil Hindu Brahmins to do the rituals associated with their grandparents. My father used to go early in the morning to the temple for chanting the ‘mantras’ taught by the priest. Before he comes back, mom has to prepare the delicacies, ‘vadai’, ‘boli’ and ‘palpayasam’. She serves them to us remembering our grandparents. She learned preparing them from her mother-in-law who used to make several dishes. Also, boli is a dessert usually served in the marriage eves of the same community, called “Nischayathamboolam”.
Preparation of Boli is a little bit complex and time-consuming. The recipe is illustrated in detail here.
- 1/2 cup split Bengal gram
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup refined flour
- 2 tbs gingelly oil
- a pinch food color yellow
- 5 numbers cardamom
- 5 tbs clarified butter or ghee
Filling of Boli: gram batter(poornam)
Bengal gram needs to be soaked in water for about 5 to 6 hours. This ingredient is what gives the august taste for Boli. Drain the water afterwards and cook it in a cooker without water. This cooked content is then mixed with sugar and grinded in a mixer very well. As it is the filling of the boli ball, it should be free of any water content. Put this batter in a thick bottomed vessel or ‘kadai’ and stir well in low flame for about 5 to 10 minutes. Take it out of the stove and after adding cardamom, leave it aside to set. This is called "poornam" whose consistency is significant.
Outer part: flour dough
Dough is made using refined flour or ‘maida’. Sprinkle food color into it. Just like we make Chappathi dough, refined flour has to be kneaded well in water. After ensuring that the dough has become soft, add gingelly oil and knead it again. The dough has to be so soft that it can be rolled easily by spreading the filling uniformly all over its sides. Keep it aside covered for 2 hours.
Making the Boli ball
Make balls of both the dough and filling as shown in the figure. Then place the dough ball in a Chappathi board and gently press uniformly to form a small circle. You can do this by using a roller too. Then place the filling on the top of this circled piece and cover it by pulling up all the edges of the dough ball. The stretching nature of ‘maida’ makes this process easier. Now the boli ball is ready for rolling.
Final stage of preparation
- Boli ball has to be rolled using the roller on the board slowly. This step has to be done with extreme care for getting the Boli in shape. As the circle flattens each time while rolling, chances are that it may stick. Sprinkling some flour over it can prevent this. The batter should be spread uniformly all over the circle as well. Roll it as much as possible to get a thin, round piece.
- Heat a pan on medium flame and put the circled piece on it. When the layers start rising, reverse the side. See that it doesn’t get roasted. Boli is a soft and layered dessert that has to be prepared with much care in order to reach the right stuff. When layers are seen rising from both the sides, pour a little ghee onto it, spread using a ladle and transfer to a dried plate.
Rate this recipe please!
The complexity and time taken for making this traditional dessert is what gives it the extraordinary shape and relish. I learned to prepare this after a long trial and error method.
Do you like Boli?
Nutritional facts for Bengal gram dal
|Serving size: 100 g|
|Calories from Fat||36|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 4 g||6%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 47 g||16%|
|Sugar 0 g|
|Fiber 11 g||44%|
|Protein 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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