Monday, January 8, 2018

North Arcot Special Jeera Poli | Bombay Khaja Recipe |Bogi/ Bhogi Special Recipe

Jeera Poli

Hi Supermoms,

Pongal is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. It is a 4 day 'Thanksgiving' festival , where we thank Nature ( Sun , Earth and Rain Gods) for their generosity and kindness , blessing the people with great harvest and good health.  The Cattle are also thanked and then there is also  a day to have a picnic and get together with relatives and extended family. 

Many people who have migrated to the city for work and various other reasons, visit their native village for this big festival. The  festival has lots of significance . First of all, it a festival that has been celebrated for more than 1000 years  and  is followed in all it's glory till date. Thanking and loving  'Nature' for it's kindness is the most humbling experience for anybody. It is also a day to remember all the farmers for their tireless efforts.  It is because of their hard work and dedication , we get food on our plate. So proud to be a part of this tradition and festival. 

The first day of Pongal celebration starts with the Bhogi Festival. A day that starts with  bonfire early in the morning ( as early as 5 am ) in front of every home. I have so many childhood memories of this day. My parents, my brother and myself used to tidy up our respective rooms/ shelves and collect some things that would go into the bonfire. My mother would collect old fallen leaves and branches mostly from the Neem tree for bon fire.  This bonfire and the cleaning of the house has a spiritual message.  " Pazhayadhu Kazhidhalum, Pudhiyadhu Pugudhalum", that signifies getting rid of any bad habits, vices and the entry of new thoughts, fresh ideas and give the added motivation to work harder in the new year. 

Now, moving to the exciting part of my post. 

Mrs. Parvathi Kailasam ( Janaki Paati doing what she likes the most)
Food plays a major role in all our festivals.  Along with the festival, certain dishes are also celebrated  with them. They have been made for so many years and is a kind of tradition now.  I am so happy to share the  family recipe  of Jeera Poli by Mrs. Parvathi Kailasam aka Janaki Paati (My Maami/aunt's mother). Janaki Paati is a simple, soft and gentle person and she loves to cook and feed everyone. She loves preparing food and distributing it to the needy. Even today, she frequently prepares two types of rice varieties for 25-30 people , beautifully packs it herself and distributes it to the poor.  

Bombay Khaja is her signature dish that she makes for  special occasions and everyone in the family simply loves it. She makes it for Bhogi without fail. This is a Kalambur  ( North Arcot ) Speciality dish and I am so lucky and grateful to get this recipe from her. 

She shared that Jeera poli can be made instead of the regular paruppu poli and the best part is that it can be made one or two days in advance and this sweet keeps good for upto 15 days when stored in a clean and odour free airtight container. This Poli is also known as the 'Bombay Khaja' . 

The poli is made using rava/semolina (Bombay Rava works best) . The semolina is mixed into a stiff dough using ghee and milk and rested well before they are shaped into triangles, fried in oil and then soaked in the sugar syrup. A delicious dessert that simply melts in the mouth.

My Khaja/Jeera Poli came out well and tasted delicious though I still have to work harder to get Janaki Paati's perfection. Do try this recipe for Bhogi and enjoy it with family and friends. 

Bombay Khaja Recipe

North Arcot Special Jeera Poli | Bombay Khaja Recipe :

Recipe Courtesy : Mrs. Parvathi Kailasam

Preparation time : 2 hours 
Cooking time : 25-30 minutes
1 cup = 250 ml cup
Makes : 25 small Jeera Poli/Bombay Khaja
Storage : Keeps good for upto 15 days when stored in a cool place in a clean, dry , odour free container. 

Ingredients :

For the dough :

1 cup Bombay Rava/Chiroti Rava 
2 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter
1/4 cup milk 
1/4 cup water
a pinch of baking soda
oil for frying 

For the sugar syrup : 

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water 
10 strands saffron/kesar ( powdered and soaked in 1 teaspoon hot water)

For garnish :

5-6 pistachios ( finely chopped, optional)

Method :

1. In a wide bowl, add the dry ingredients given under ' for the dough' and mix well.

2. Now add the ghee, milk and start to knead the dough.

3. Add water little by little and make a smooth dough. 
4. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest for at least 2 hours.

5. In the meantime, make the sugar syrup by adding sugar and water in a wide, heavy bottom vessel or kadai.

6. Place this vessel over low/medium flame and allow the sugar to melt completely.
7. Add the powdered saffron water to the syrup and continue boiling till you get a one string consistency of sugar syrup.

Chef tip : To check for one string consistency, just take a small drop of the syrup on your thumb ( be careful of the heat) and press with the index finger and release. It will form a thin string. Immediately switch off. 
8. After the resting time, divide the dough into small equal size balls.

9. Using a rolling pin, form a thin circle and fold it into half.

You can make a thinner circle

10. Now, fold it again into a triangle and press gently. 

11. Repeat the same with  the remaining dough balls.
12. Heat oil in a pan or a wok.
13. Once the oil is hot, drop the shaped khaja in batches of two or three and fry till they are cooked and float on the top of the oil.

14. Drain them from oil and drop them into the sugar syrup. 

15. Let the khaja soak in the sugar syrup for 7-10 minutes. 

16. Remove them from the syrup and store them in an airtight container. 

Your Bombay Khaja delicacy is now ready. 

North Arcot Special Jeera Poli

You can serve Jeera Poli along with other special bhogi dishes like the paruppu vadai, Quick paruppu poli ( easy and low oil version) and payasam

Wishing you all a blessed festival - 'Pongal Nal Vazhthukkal'.

Happy Cooking !

With love,


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