11 November, 2007

Dates Obbattu

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Dates Obbattu

Winter is beautiful in India. This is the time when dawn is lightly touched with frost; a soft new light appears from heavenly sky. The thundering monsoon and damp earth give way to ‘Kartika Maasa’, the golden season of October and November. Kartika is a season of silky and golden sunlight and blossoming trees. There is the shivering anticipation among every form of life waiting in anticipation for what mother earth has to offer. It is the season when the mother earth is all dewy and she takes on a delicious newness. The sun turns pleasing honey-gold spreading golden sparkles to whatever he touches. It is the season of festivals, and it is the time to celebrate Deepavali, a festival of lights.

Diwali is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali’, meaning "row of lamps". It is a time for feasts, fireworks, remembrance, forgiveness and a renewal of life. Clay lamps of all size and shape are lit along verandas, on rooftops, on windowsills, along driveways, in gardens and courtyards and colourful paper lanterns are strung to the high roof. All pooja utensils, the prayer room is washed and cleaned to their sparkling best. The pooja mantap with all kinds of god and goddess radiates a different glow of energy decorated with colourful array of marigolds, roses and jasmines and the heady aroma of incense sticks and dhupa. Each and every streets and nook ‘n corners are decorated with bright colourful lights and paper lanterns, shops are dressed in shimmering golden streamers, and fairy lights are wound around trees transferring the whole world to festive season.

For three little kids, the Diwali day would start at the very wink of dawn with sandalwood and oil bath called ‘Abhyanga’. Although it was not one of the things they enjoyed, just the thought of the day ahead would make it for getting up that early and oil baths. Their parents would exchange smiles looking at their kids smeared in oil, yawning and rubbing their eyes to get rid of slumber and lightly shivering to the cool breeze of dawn tickling their scantly clad bodies. After hot water bath the kids were dressed in their new and crisp cloths ironed by their father and ready to receive their family and friends. While their mother created beautiful Rangolis, colourful geometric and floral patterns made from coloured rice flour, at the entrance to the house; the kids were given the task of making small S-shaped foot prints with five dots on top arch from door step to pooja room. It is believed that these prints represent the little feet of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, who makes a trip to every home on Diwali night to survey family fortune and decides whether they need any boost. The little kids made it sure that they painted it well so that the goddess didn’t get lost on her way to pooja room.

After heavy breakfast, mother would start cooking special treats apart from the one’s which she had prepared days before with the help of her mother and cooks to send it to relatives and friends. Different sizes of colourful boxes of dry fruits and nuts, sweets, gifts wrapped in colourful papers would sit in corner table to be given to the guests visiting. It is the day when foe becomes a friend and generations of hatred seems to dissolve in the soft glow of light from diyas. It is the day when tradition is passed from one generation to the next while the lamps illuminate quietly, shimmering over night, encircling the parents and children in its golden glow. As the late night approaches and as the harsh electric lights are switched off, small quiet flames from diyas and candles flicker amid bunches of marigold, hibiscus, roses and jasmines. While whole street sleeps under the dark blanket of glittering stars, the kids dreams of goddess Lakshmi emerging from the soft glow of diyas and stepping into home bringing wealth and well-being with her.

For three days and nights families and friends gather to celebrate the festival of lights. While the kids set off fireworks, elders sit behind, keeping an eye on kids and chat about passing years. The smile on every kid’s face matches that of sparkling diyas. Sparkles, rockets and torches explode in the sky, shedding red-orange, blue-green flames. When the noise of bursting fire crackers drowns conversations, the ladies bring out the feast to be devoured. There is no dining table with silver cutleries and delicate china sets. Families and friends sit together under the sparkling sky and eat from green banana leaves which looked like an artist’s colour palette with different savouries and sweets and with range of curries, rice and roties… The noise of Diwali does not distract from its serenity. This is the festival which brings together families and friends and thus brings happiness and content of being with your loved ones and sharing that joy. Diwali is the time to stop, to sit back, to gaze at the sparkling sky and to allow ourselves to be braced with the love and affection of our loved ones.

I always loved quiet Diwali than noisy firecrackers where I would light the clay lamps with my siblings and parents. I guess I am among the few who liked noiseless Diwali with hundreds of small lamps glittering like stars around me. With the electric lights switched off, these small diyas radiated sense of calmness and serenity which I always feel is the true meaning of Diwali, a festival of lights. Sitting under an open sky, laying my head on my Appa’s lap, we kids enjoyed stories of Lord Rama, devil Narakasura, goddess Lakshmi with keen interest even though we had heard the same stories for zillionth time. With all these fond memories and nostalgia K and I made Kharjura Obbattu (Date stuffed Poli) on Deepavali eve. I have many sweet memories attached with this dish and I couldn’t think of any other thing to cook for this Diwali. Steam cooked sweet dates is ground with dash of jaggery and lightly spiced with cardamom and nutmeg is stuffed between the maida dough and tawa fried with ghee is one dish which sure to win everyone’s heart. Looking at the picturea you can easily guess that its my first attempt at making Obbattu ;) True to my Flow Chart, I am sending this to Vee’s Jhiva Special Edition-The Festive Series, Meeta’s MM-Traditional Feasts and Chandrika’s AFAM-Dates. Ek teer, teen shikar ;)

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Dates Obbattu (Date Stuffed Indian Flat Bread)
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Makes: 5-6

For Kanaka/Dough:
1 heaped cup Maida/All Purpose Flour
A big pinch of Salt
2-3 tbsp Oil
Ghee for frying

For Hoorana/Stuffing:
1 cup Dates, deseeded and quartered
1 tbsp Jaggery (adjust acc to taste)
1 tbsp Ghee
¼ tsp Cardamom Powder
A big pinch Nutmeg
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Kanaka with Dates Hoorana
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Dates Obbattu

Place plain flour and salt in a vessel and make it into stiff dough of chapatti consistency by adding little water at a time. Keep it aside covered with wet cloth for around half an hour.
After ½ to 1 hour, add oil and knead the dough till all the oil is absorbed and the dough becomes soft and elastic. Keep this dough aside for another half an hour or so.
Mean while, steam cook dates for around 10 mins till they become soft and mushy.
Cool these dates and place them in a blender with jaggery and blend them without adding any water.
Heat ghee in a pan and to this add ground paste and keep stirring on moderate heat for around five minutes. Make sure to stir at medium flame so that the stuffing doesn’t stick to the bottom of pan.
Mix in cardamom and nutmeg powder and switch off the flame. Let the stuffing mixture cool for sometime.
Make golf sized balls of dough and date stuffing by applying little ghee to your hands.
Grease an aluminum foil/banana leaf/thick plastic wrap with little oil and place maida dough ball in center.
Press the dough with your fingers and start spreading it to a circle stating from center, working towards the edge. Make poori sized circle of about 3 inch diameter and place date hoorana/stuffing ball at center. Close the hoorana/stuffing by pulling the dough on all sides.
Slowly press the dough with your fingers to about ½ cm thick and 6 inch diameter. Use little ghee/oil if the dough sticks to your fingers.
Heat griddle/tawa and gently transfer the obbattu to tawa and cook on both sides by applying little ghee till little brown patches appear and they are cooked well.
Serve warm with ghee and enjoy.

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Dates Obbattu with Ghee

If you find it difficult to spread the dough with your hands then place another greased sheet on top of the dough and roll it gently using rolling pin.
The left over obbattu can be freezed once it is completely cooled down for about 3 weeks in freezer. Place a parchment paper in between each obbattu and place them in zip lock bag and freeze. When required, thaw and heat it using a griddle/pan and serve.
You can replace jaggery with honey or sugar based on your preferance and maida with wheat if you are health conscious.

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Dates Obbattu

Another Sweet recipe on Monsoon Spice using Date is Kharjura/Date Payasa.
Here is Richa's recipe for Poli where she adds pistachio powder to dates stuffing.


  1. WOW!!!! That looks fantastic.

  2. Hi Sia,
    Dates hurana is looking so rich and delicious very creative recipe.Mouthwatering pics.

  3. oh wow!!!!!! this sounds and looks delicious.... I made dates payasa for diwali this time!!! Will post my recipe soon

  4. oh yes! that is one tasty poli, looks so good! when i made this, i also added some pista pwd, here:

    those are some lovely diwali memories from ur childhood, very sweet :)
    hope you had a good time on diwali, sweetie!

  5. Lovely Idea Sia and the Dates Obbattu look delish..:))

  6. SO lovely! I have never tasted this before, but I love date. Will have to clear time to try this.

  7. Hey sia, so yummy obbattu.. lovely presentation..hope u had great diwali..

  8. Three events in one!! Glad they didn't restrict us!:)
    Good one Sups. Looks like a delicious Hoorana, sweet and with Tuppa on top, heavenly! Glad you had a good Deepavali. Hugs. Have a great Sunday!:))

  9. loved your description of diwali, sia:) & your dates obattu looks delicious:)

  10. Loved the story and the recipe...

  11. Sia, Never heard of bobbattlu with dates. would like to give it a try dear! Im drooling looking at the pics!

  12. I love Poli and I always used to have it from Krishna Sweets in chennai...but never tasted this one with dates....you should send me some :D


  13. That's a wonderful description followed by a yummmy recipe..Bobbattlu with dates is new to me...'ll try it soon

  14. I've never had kharjura obbattus before. Must be delicious! I'm with you on noiseless Diwali. Growing up, my neighborhood had too many boys - all high-noise firecracker lovers. I was all for sparklers and 'fountains" - anything that was pretty and non-noisy! Hope u had a fab Deepavali, Sup! :)
    BTW, we may be in your neck of woods for a few days in Jan/Feb. Wonder if the weather will be wet and cold or just cold that time of the year?

  15. This recipe makes me want to run to the store and buy some dates and try it out as soon as possible! I LOVE dates, and this sounds sooooooo delicious! I am totally drooling here!

  16. Supriya, such a beautiful description of your Diwali traditions, you make me wish I grew up Indian -- dhanyavaad :)

  17. Simply beautiful, Sia! Diwali wishes to you and your family.

  18. dear sia,
    i used to go to mainland china restaurant just to eat thier date pancakes. this oe should be pretty close in taste. i love dates and will try it.

  19. This sounds delicious!:) One recipe for three events!:D

  20. That was a lovely story. I was wondering about the "early bath" ritual which I read in many blogs.

    Hope you and K could recreate some of that magic at your home too with this lovely poli

  21. Hi Sia,

    You are so creative:-)
    I am book marking this recipe.
    Thanks for sharing healthy "iron rich" recipe.

    Love the pictures.

  22. you look like a pro... I was thinking date pancakes for the event... let us see... bhel puri also seems apt :)

    Happy Diwali girl

  23. You drive me crazy over those creative ideas of cooking dishes. Clean bold Sia. Fantastic Entry. Trust you had a wonderfull time on Deepavali. :)

  24. Have never eaten dates obbattu, and only ever came across the recipe in the blogs. Reminds me of the dessert Chinese restaurants offer here - Date Pancakes with Ice Cream, yum!

  25. yum dates holige looks delicious :)
    chandakke barididde loved it

  26. Sia!! this is something very new to me!!
    I haven't heard of many recipes with dates in it!!Yours look absolutely delicious and that story of yours was so beautifully written!!

  27. @jaden,
    thank u:)

    thank you:)

    thank u madhu. i hope u do try this recipe. its absolutely delicious:)

  28. thts a lovely write up. and it definitely doesn't seem like you are doing it for the first time. lovely recipe and pics :)

  29. @ramya,
    dates payasa is our fav too. i have posted my amma's recipe some months back. will look forward to ur recipe:)

    darn!!! if i only remembered it wen making this polies, i too would have added pista. will provide a link for ur recipe here:) thank u sweetie:)

    thank u siri:)

  30. @anh,
    if u love date then u will love these too. they r not that difficult to make. this was the first time i tried making obbattu at home and they were not that bead;)

    thank u dear:) i had gr8 time.

    @kitchen scientist,
    thank u:)

  31. @ashakka,
    LOL... yeah if it was just one entry per event then i dont think we will be able to participate in many events;) hubby is complaining i cook for events not for him;) we had gr8 time... went to watch om shanti om, and what a dissapointment it was.

    thank u and a warm welcome to monsoon spice:)

    thank u suni:)

  32. @kalva,
    glad u liked the recipe:) i really hope u give it a try as its really delcious and special. u can completely omit sugar/jaggery and use wheat in place of maida for healthier option.

    send me ur address mishy and with in few days u will get a packet:)

    thank u:) and do let me know how u like it.

  33. Very touching memories you have shared with all of us...And your pictures looks superb!!!

  34. @vani,
    me and my dog could be found hidden under the cot during deepavali nights ;) the worst bit was the 'maale pataki' they would burst which always felt tlike never ending one. i too prefered all small non-noisy things:)
    thats gr8 to know u will be coming to UK:) but not a good time to visit this country:) it will be wet, cold, grey and dull. drop me a mail vani when u get time and let me know for hw many days and where all u planning to visit. let's see if we can meet. it will be really gr8 to meet u and little darling.

    LOL... r u still drooling or planning to try this? or do u want me to make fresh batch for u send?

    aww... thats so sweet of u linda. u r indian by heart:) and girl, r u learning hindi as well? i really admire u for not just ur love for indian food but its culture, people and everything:)

  35. Oh boy that really does look so mouthwatering!

  36. @tbc,
    thank you:)

    i have not tried dates pancake yet bee but after seeing ur comment i am craving for some. have u guys by any chance tried making them at home? obbattu was really delicious. i am planning to make them again just to make my handi work better and also we are craving for more:) they were so damn delicious and moist.

    he he he... it fits the bill;)

  37. @sandeepa,
    oh yes, except for early morning bath we almost followed the ritualas just for fun sake. but its not the same as in india. couldn't goto temple for pooja and fireworks display as by the time we reached home we were half dead. so it was on saturday we made these and relaxed at home:) oh yeah, and watched OSO, quite boring though;) hope u had gr8 time san.

    thank u mt. i am really gald u liked the recipe. i learnt it from my amma:)

    oh!! thank u raaga. well, this was the first time i made obbattu and i am really glad u all liked it:) why dont u post both pancake and bhel recipes:)
    and diwali wishes to u too:)

  38. @lakshmi,
    and what abt u? i go ga-ga when i come across kannadiga dishes dancing rt in fromt of my eyes whenever i visit u:)

    ah!!! another date pancake fan. just heard bee's saga and now u;) i got to taste this pretty soon or else i wont be able to sleep thinking abt it:)

    thank u roopa. deepavali hengathu? hope u had gr8 time

  39. @padmaja,
    may be i will prepare this for u when u visit us with ur DH and noel:) did noel enjoyed his diwali?
    i have given a link to date payasa which is equally delicious. try it padma as its quite simple dish to prepare.

    thank u nags and so sweet of u to encourage me:) it took me 10 mins to pat first obbattu and then it was not that difficult:)

    thank u raks. glad u enjoyed the recipe and my story:) hope u had gr8 time.

  40. Dates as a filling must be just wonderful Sia... and it definitely does not look like a first-timer.. They look just perfect.

  41. Hi SIA
    dates obbattu looks great!!never heard of this.My sister makes date payasa.This is really interesting recipe.

  42. Hey Sia, this should be a yummy treat. Will surely try it. Dates have lots of fibre so this is a health dessert too. So unique. Thx for sharing

  43. hi i like ur way of doing it..i never heard of stuffing dates in it...hmm it looks grt...

  44. Lovely post.
    And the date dessert looks so good.

  45. Winter is also the season for Music concerts. God the whole season is festive... Dates in poli is a great idea. I have a similiar idea to try, just no time :(

  46. Hi Sia,
    Very sweet post, you've captured the essence of Diwali so well :) The poli looks great!

  47. Wow!!!hey Sups,this is really a good and healthy idea of using Dates.....I loved the picture, which you have presented as dates ball coveredwith dough:))

    How was your Diwali celebrations?

  48. You write so well... I love your dates obbattu. First time I'm hearing of it and seeing it.

  49. great memories and nice recipe..I enjoyed reading the post...sia..thanks

  50. Sia - this khajur obbattu looks delicious! I could easily pack a few for snacks every day. K is indeed very lucky.

    We are off to bharat next week - so perhaps when I return, we will make this at home.

    in the meantime, I'll salivate :-)

  51. dates obatu looks to sweetly tempting. It must taste fab. Never had anything like this, so it calls for a trial. Thanks for the recipe.

  52. Wow Sia, I have never heard of figs obbattu and glad that I learnt it here. Bele obbattu and Kai obbattu were the only ones in my repetoire. Pics and the story is beautiful as always!

  53. yumm thats a nice and creative recipe Sia

  54. I was looking at ur recipe and I din't realize that my husband was behind me... when I turned back the first thing he asked me was "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE THIS FOR ME"...
    looks beautiful and yummy. I should try.

  55. @meeta,
    thank you:)

    yes lav. there was a big pack of dates sitting in corner shelf and i was wondering what to do with it. then i remembered this recipe and was not sure if i'll be able to make it. thankfully the stuffing didn't come out and it was ok for my first attempt;)

    we too make dates payasa and i have given a link below. hope u give it a try and surprise ur sister:)

  56. @rina,
    thank u rina. we quite enjoyed it as it was not too sweet and heavy on our stomach:) let me know when u try it.

    thank u shanti:)

    @happy cook,
    thank you:)

  57. @suganya,
    oh yes... how can one forget abt music concerts:) will look forward to ur dates recipe when u get time to cook and post;)

    thank u shweta. diwali always takes me down the memory lane:)

    thank u dear:) the stuffing is surely haelathy but cant say the same with the amt of ghee used;) but once in a while its gd to forget abt it enjoy:) hope u had a gr8 deepavali.

  58. @cynth,
    thanks darling:)

    thanks sri:)

    wow... u r leaving to india? i am sure u will get to eat more delicious food than what i blogged;) have fun and come back with lots of pics to share with us:)

  59. @shella,
    thank u shella and a warm welcome to monsoon spice:) do let me know when u try it.

    @red chillies,
    its dates not figs:) bele obbattu is my fav too.

    thank u sagari:)

  60. @shivapriya,
    LOL... thats why i keep my hubby away from food blogs;) or else, just think of all the things we have to cook for them. sometimes i point out the recipe and he cooks for me;) now thats much better rt? he he he....

  61. You are so creative in using dates as a filling for the obbattu. Pics are making me to drool as usual.


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