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.
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.
- 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
- Sift flour into a bowl, and add butter and salt.
- Mix the water in with turmeric and add it to the flour mixture.
- Mix together until the dough is sticky and holds together. Add more water as needed.
- Add the oil and roll over the surface of the dough. Cover and set aside.
- 250 g bengal gram lentils
- 300 g granulated sugar
- 5 cardamom pods, ground (or ½ tsp cardamom)
- Rinse the lentils 3-4 times.
- 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.
- Once the lentils are cooked and cooled slightly, drain out any excess water.
- Add the lentils and sugar to a food processor and mix until a paste is formed.
- 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.
- Stir in the ground cardamom, and form into 1.25″ balls.
MAKING THE OBOTTUS
- Form the dough into 1.25″ balls and flatten out slightly.
- Place a lentil paste ball into the flattened dough and cover.
- Flour a surface and roll the balls out.
- Roast both sides on a frying pan at medium heat until slightly browning.
Balls of dough and lentil paste.
Flattening out the dough.
Ready to roll!