A couple of months ago, a family friend of ours brought home a packet of Boli that became an instant hit. Even those of us who were pretty averse to anything sweet, savoured every bit of it and wanted more as well. Such was the taste that we had to find the place immediately and make a visit soon.
‘Ootupura Boli’, as the shop is called, is a small hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment that is situated at Puthen Street, Attakulangara, in Trivandrum. Ever since we found the place, we have made innumerable visits to buy our favourite Boli. I’ve also lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Amma describe how the Boli is made at her favourite place – how the Channa Dal ball is folded into the Maida ball, which is then pressed and made into perfect thin rounds that are fried on the Tawa and drizzled with ghee (lots of it!). The way she describes it makes you drool and if you are like me, you are sure to want the Boli right at that moment!
As soon as you enter the shop, you get hit by the heavenly aroma of ghee wafting through the air. In one corner of the shop is a grinder that is constantly grinding the Dal required for the Boli. There is a small L-shaped workstation in the front, part of which is used to make the Boli dough and there is a hot Tava on the other part where the rolled out, thin sheets of Boli are laid, flipped and fried to make the tasty Boli that has become our favourite.
The last time I made a visit, I found a different variant of the Boli. Known as Thenga Boli (Coconut Boli), the filling of this is a mix of coconut and jaggery, along with a pinch of cardamom. I picked up two packets of this as well, since it was highly recommended by the friendly staff there. In hindsight, I should have got more, as once the packet was opened, there was a tug of war among all of us for the last piece. If the Sweet Boli was perfectly soft and melts in the mouth, the taste of this Thenga Boli was out of the world. With the right amount of sweetness and the hint of cardamom giving an extra flavour, even those of us who just wanted one bite to taste, couldn’t resist taking another one, which went on until the Boli got over. The husband who proclaimed that he hated Boli and hence do not even want to taste it, asked me to carry ten packets (one packet contains five pieces) of the Thenga Boli for him the next time I went to Trivandrum.
There are even quite a few fans of these Bolis among our friends. Going to the “Boli shop” has become one of our favourite outings. However, the last time we went in the evening, the Thenga Boli was over. We were told that the Thenga Bolis are made first thing in the morning, since once it is made, the entire pan and the vessels that are used have to be washed before the Sweet Boli can be made. Otherwise, the jaggery that is used to make the Thenga Boli sticks to the pan, which in turn spoils the preparation of the Sweet Boli. Because of this, they make only limited quantity of the Thenga Boli, which is sold off like hot pancakes in the morning itself. If you miss it, you need to wait till the next day when a fresh set of these are made.
This shop features on our ‘do not forget to go there’ list while at Trivandrum. Even more, we never fail to tell anyone who’s visiting us from Trivandrum to get us a few packets of these delicious Bolis. My mother always makes it a point to stock these Bolis when we are expecting guests or well, even otherwise for that matter. She sends a few packets of these to her friends when she is sending them things from Kerala – every single time. In fact, she has even taken it on herself to take whoever says “tasty Boli’ to this favourite shop of hers and make them regular customers as well!
This place is a true delight for anyone who loves Bolis (and for those of you who don’t like them, you are sure to be converted). I’ve never had tastier Bolis.