Bele Holige / Obbattu

Holige or Obbattu is something that is very special and connotes a feast. It is generally reserved for very special occasions and festivals. There are also many varieties, including peanut holige, sugar (sakkare) holige, Coconut(kai) holige, tur dal (bele) holige, sesame seed holige etc. The principle is the same. Prepare a sweet filling using the key ingredient then stuff it inside a flour dough, roll it out and cooking it on a hot griddle with oodles of ghee! It therefore should taste good technically! and often it does.

Here is the recipe for Bele Obbattu or the Tur dal obbattu; for some reason unknown, Ihave a soft corner for this variety. While me and Mom prefer this variety, dad and sis prefer the Coconut holige, so during all major festivals, mom ended up making both varieties, phew! the very thought of making both the holiges makes me break into cold sweat. Any ways, this recipe could be tricky... but if I can do it, so can anybody.

You will need,
For the filling (Hurana):
Tur Dal 1 cup
Jaggery 3/4 cup (can use upto 1 cup, but that will be too sweet for my palate!)
Cardamom 2

For the dough (Kanaka)
Maida/ All purpose flour 1 (may be 1.5 cups)
Salt pinch
Turmeric pinch
Oil 3 tbsp

  • Sift flour with turmeric. Stir in the salt. Dump the flour on to a large plate. (something we call Harivana in Kannada.. it is nothing but a big plate with big slanting rim).Make a well in the center of the well. Pour water into the well and start combing the flour and the water, making a dough much softer than chapati dough. The dough needs to be so soft that it is rather sticky. A spatula can be used to kneed the dough if the sticky dough is annoying. Cover the dough with oil and cover the bowl with a damp cloth and rest it for at least 2 hours. Of late I am using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it works like a charm.
  • For the filling. Combine the dal and about 5 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Simmer and cook till tender. Drain save the stock and use it in curries. (we make obbattina saaru, a delicacy in itself).
  • Combine the drained dal, crushed cardamom and jaggery in a thick bottomed pan. Cook the mixture till the jaggery has become molten and has combined well with the dal and the mixture has come together. It should be slightly molten, not completely dry. It will harden slightly once it is cooler. Also, it is easier to roll out the Holige if the Hurana/filling is softer.
  • When cool transfer the dal mixture into a food processor and pulse till the mixture is smooth.
  • Knead the dough (Kanaka) once more and pinch small balls of dough. Roll the filling into small balls as well.
  • On a greased plastic sheet, roll out the dough balls into circles of 3" diameter using your fingers. Place the filling and pinch the dough to close the filling.
  • Using your fingers, roll the stuffed dough ball into a about 8-9" circles.
  • Ideally the filling should be uniformly distributed and the flour skin should be as thing as possible, so trying to achieve the ideal is a good idea. Mine is never perfect, but in my quest for the perfect, I end up making decent stuff..
  • Heat a griddle. When smoking, grease it with ghee. Place the rolled out obbattu on to the griddle. cook of both sides with oodles of ghee.
  • Serve hot with more ghee.
  • It is a tradition to eat holige with Seekarne or coconut milk or simple plain warm milk. I prefer mine with milk and ghee! Serve any which ever way you want, you will still get all the appreciation the dish deserves.

    Notes: (After a long series of replies to questions)
  • The proportion of Jaggery is kind of dicey. Some are too sweet and some are less so. The rule of thumb is the darker the Jaggery, sweeter it is going to be. So 3/4 for a cup of dal should do good. If it is lighter in colour, chances are that the Jaggery is not as sweet and 1cup to 1.5 cups would be ideal. I like to begin with 3/4 of a cup of jaggery for every cup of dal, cook the mixture and taste it before taking it further. If it appears less sweet, it is just a matter of ten more minutes to add a little more Jaggery and go ahead with the process.
  • I know if you are the more orthodox type checking the taste while cooking might not be an option, in that case start with 1 cup of jaggery for every cup of dal.         
  • Also when cooking the Jaggary and dal mixture, make sure that the mixture is not too dry or too sticky (as in it should not leave the sides of the pan like in a Burfi). The mixture should still be moist and sort of slightly molten. It will harden once it is cooler.
  • For the dough, I had the best Obbattu of my life at a friends place. It was thin like a roti but as large as a dosa. Boy! it was awesome. The tip my friends mom gave me was to not add oil to the dough at all but just water. Ah! there is the key. So What I do is I knead the dough using just water, no oil like I would for a bread. The more I need, the more elastic the dough becomes and I end up getting larger, thinner therefore better Obbattus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   This is my entry to the EFM -sweet


Savi-Ruchi said...

naanu adastu bega madbeku idannu, astondu tempt madidri neevu nanage..
same here.., me & my mom likes bele obbattu.., but my sis likes kayi obbattu.., nam mane story bareda hage ittu :)

Basale andre.., hege helodu??, adu India dalli yava market nalli sigalla.., it will be grown backyard. You can have a look at the picture & more information about basale here. It is usually available in Chinese Vegetable markets.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the awesome recipe! made some today and it turned out yumm! I think I used ore dough than required. guess next time it should be fine..

Anonymous said...


I tried obbattu today, it came out kind of hard no matter how much oil o used, could you please advise why.
I used 1/4 cup of chiroti Rava + 3/4 cup of maida for 1 cup of bele

Kannada Cuisine said...


Well, I cannot say for sure why it came out hard. I do not use Chiroti Rava at all. It is much easier to manage with just Maida. Also it does not matter how much oil you use, what matters is how elastic your dough is and also how pliable the Hoorana is. I am updating the post with some more tips. Do check it out.

Vani said...

Great! Thanks for the recipe. I'm going to try tomorrow

Unknown said...

Lovely Recipe! just one question though.. Even I have heard of using only water for making the dough. Can you please elaborate on how to do that? In the sense, do we make a soft dough with water and leave it to rest and then kneed it well and not immerse it in oil at all?