Indian Sweet Flatbread

Roopa

My mother is visiting me in Vancouver to help me get my life together before I start working, and she brought me one of my favourite foods. Obottus (uhh-but-toos) or holigas (whole-ih-gaze) are a type of sweet flatbread dessert from India. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make them, so she spent an evening teaching me! They are a bit involved, and getting textures right is pretty critical, so I thought it would be strategic to make them with my mom for the first time. 

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Obottus have two components: a flour based dough, and a lentil based paste. The dough is flattened out and a ball of lentil paste is placed inside. Then, the whole ball is rolled out and roasted on both sides. 

Some of you may feel a bit skeptical about the lentils, but rest assured, these don’t taste remotely healthy. 


DOUGH

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour*
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup of water (add more as needed)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sift flour into a bowl, and add butter and salt.
  2. Mix the water in with turmeric and add it to the flour mixture.
  3. Mix together until the dough is sticky and holds together. Add more water as needed. 
  4. Add the oil and roll over the surface of the dough. Cover and set aside. 

PASTE

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g bengal gram lentils
  • water
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 5 cardamom pods, ground (or ½ tsp cardamom)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the lentils 3-4 times. 
  2. Cook the lentils with water until they are soft. I used a pressure cooker and a 1:3 ratio of lentils to water, but they can be done on a stovetop as well.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked and cooled slightly, drain out any excess water.
  4. Add the lentils and sugar to a food processor and mix until a paste is formed.
  5. Reduce the lentil paste until the most of the water is gone and you can roll it into balls. This can be done on a stovetop, but I used a microwave at 50% in 4 minute intervals (~20 – 25 minutes total). Use a spatula to mix the paste between each interval. 
  6. Stir in the ground cardamom, and form into 1.25″ balls. 

MAKING THE OBOTTUS

  1. Form the dough into 1.25″ balls and flatten out slightly.
  2. Place a lentil paste ball into the flattened dough and cover.
  3. Flour a surface and roll the balls out. 
  4. Roast both sides on a frying pan at medium heat until slightly browning. 

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Balls of dough and lentil paste.

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Flattening out the dough.

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Ready to roll!

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