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The south celebrates the new year with Ugadi

The southern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana celebrate Ugadi as the Hindu New Year, while Maharashtra observes it as Gudi Padwa. The word Ugadi comes from the Sanskrit “yuga” or era and “adi” or new beginning, based on the belief that this is the day when Lord Brahma created the universe. 

Like all festivals, food is an important part of Ugadi festivities. One tradition involves preparing an offering of neem flowers and jaggery. The bitter-sweet beverage symbolizes the highs and lows of life through the year, to be accepted together with grace. 

But no celebration passes by without a sweet dish or two, and Ugadi is no exception.

Here are two recipes from Satya Pandhari, Executive Sous Chef, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre

Bobbatlu

The picture shows two bowls of foos and chapatis on a green leaf
Bobbatlu (image courtesy: Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre)

Ingredients

For the outer Layer

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour or maida
  • 5 tbsp oil divided
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ cup water to knead or as required

For the stuffing or Poornam

  • 1 cup split bengal gram, chana dal or chanaga pappu
  • 2 cups water to pressure cook lentils
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1½ cups powdered jaggery
  •  1 tsp cardamom powder

For frying Bobbatlu

  • 1 tsp oil/ghee for each bobbatlu
  • ¼ tsp ghee to drizzle on top after frying optional

Method

For the outer layer/dough

  • Mix all-purpose flour (maida) with a pinch of salt, two teaspoons of oil.
  • Add water to it little by little and knead to a very smooth dough. The consistency of the dough should be looser than the regular roti dough, this is the most important step otherwise you will not get softer polis.
  • Now place this dough in a deep vessel and pour the rest of the oil over it until the dough is completely soaked in oil. Let the dough rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  •  In the meantime, prepare the filling or poornam.

For the filling or Poornam

  • Wash and soak Bengal gram for a minimum ½ an hour.
  • Discard the soaked water, add fresh water and pressure cook over high heat for three whistles. Then simmer to low heat for five minutes and turn off the heat.
  • Once the pressure subsides. Drain any excess water from the dal and mash it. Transfer to a wide pan.
  •  To this add ½ cup of desiccated coconut and jaggery syrup.
This picture shows a man in white chef attire.
Chef Satya Pandhari, Executive Sous Chef, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre (Photo courtesy: Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre)

For the jaggery syrup

  •  Add jaggery powder to a saucepan and add ½ cup of water to it. Heat over medium heat till the jaggery melts and then strain into the pan with the dal.
  • Heat this mixture of dal, desiccated coconut and jaggery syrup till all the moisture evaporates and you get a thick consistency. Turn off the heat.
  • Now add cardamom powder and mix well. The filling or poornam is ready.
  •  Let the mixture cool completely and then make small-sized balls out of it.

To prepare Bobbatlu

  • Take a butter paper and grease it with some oil.
  • Drain all the excess oil over the dough and use.
  • Pinch a small marble-sized dough and flatten it a bit using your hands and place one ball of filling and seal it properly from all the edges like how we do for parathas. Now flatten it slowly with your hands to get a 5″ diameter circle.
  • Alternatively, you can roll or spread with your hands between two greased transparent sheets.

Frying Bobbatlu

  • Gently remove the bobbatlu from the sheet and put on the griddle when it is hot enough. Now simmer to low heat.
  •  Now fry it on both sides applying oil/ghee until light golden in color. Do not fry it for a long time, it will make the bobbatlu a bit hard. So quickly remove it from the griddle when you get to see the brown patches on it.
  • Smear some melted ghee and serve the bobbatlu warm or hot with melted ghee.

Bellam Pulagam

The picture shows three bowls of food.
Bellam Pulagam ((image courtesy: Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre)

Ingredients

  • Rice
  • Full-fat Milk
  • Grated Jaggery
  • Ghee – 1 tsp
  • Split Cashews
  • Pacha karpooram, edible camphor (optional) – a tiny pinch
  • Cardamom powder
  • Sesame powder

Method

  • Wash the rice thoroughly.
  • To a large, heavy-bottomed vessel, add rice and milk.
  • Over medium flame, steam the mix for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker till the rice is well-cooked. You can also cook in a heavy-bottomed vessel till the rice is mashable and all the milk has been absorbed.
  • Next, mash the rice lightly with a heavy ladle.
  • Let this cooked and mashed rice cool till it is just warm to touch or to room temperature. This step is important as the milk in the mix will curdle if it is hot when the jaggery syrup is added.
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the ghee.
  • Split and add the cashew pieces to the ghee. Fry the cashews till light brown.
  • Add ¼ cup water to the ghee and cashews. Use less water if you want your paramannam to be thick. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the grated jaggery.
  • Over medium heat, stir the jaggery continuously till it thickens a bit.
  • Turn off the heat and let the jaggery syrup cool till it’s lukewarm or at room temperature.
  • Add sesame powder and mix it well.
  • Add the cardamom powder and edible camphor and mix well.
  • When both the syrup and the rice are lukewarm, mix them together.
  • Mix well till the syrup is well incorporated.

Bindu Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and photographer from Bangalore who likes taking the offbeat path when traveling. Birding and environment are her favorites and she documents her work on www.bindugopalrao.com.