‘Kaayi holige’ is a sweet, stuffed with a mixture of fresh coconut and jaggery. The trick to making a good holige in general, is to be able to make the outer covering, called ‘Kanaka’ in Kannada, as elastic as possible. This makes the cover of the holige extremely thin and almost transparent. This dough can then be rolled into disks as thin or thick as needed. Kaayi holige is supposed to be thinner than the Bele holige and a bit harder.
Anyone who has tried baking Bread from scratch, knows that it is imperative to knead the bread very well, so as to develop the gluten in the flour.Gluten is the protein in flour that gives elasticity to the flour. It is absent in rice flour, which is why a dough made of rice flour is not elastic. The same rule of kneading applies to making the Kanaka. A mixture of fine semolina and all purpose flour, has a good gluten content. The dough needs to be a bit sticky, and needs to be kneaded very well to make it elastic. I have tried using a food processor with a kneading blade, and succeeded with great results.
Coconut oil is used very extensively in Udupi cuisine. The unrefined oil has a very distinct aroma. In this recipe, I used a little to bring out the flavor of the fresh coconut, and the taste was simply excellent. It is strictly optional, and can be substituted with refined oil.
So without further ado, let me get down to the recipe
Ingredients for the stuffing( Hoorna)–
1. Finely grated coconut- 2 cups
2. Jaggery- 1 1/2 cups
3. Cardamom Powder 1/2 Tsp
For the outer cover( Kanaka)
1. Fine semolina 3/4 cup
2. All purpose flour( Maida)- 1/2 cup
3. A pinch of salt
4. 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
5. Refined oil – 1/2 cup
6 Coconut oil – to taste( optional)
Additional materials needed-
1. Parchment paper or a Banana leaf( avoid plastic because it might burn and turn toxic)
2. A Non stick Tava- This works well, because jaggery tends to get a bit sticky with heat.
For the outer cover( Kanaka)
Mix together the semolina, flour, salt and turmeric and make a slightly sticky dough with some warm water. Start kneading the dough by hand adding about 6-7 Tbsp of refined oil, a Tbsp at a time in short intervals. The dough will completely absorb all the oil. At this stage, either continue to knead by hand for a further 10 minutes, or put the dough in a food processor with a kneading blade and run the machine for about 3-4 minutes. This the how the dough turns out-
It will be shiny, soft and very pliable. Put some oil on the dough to prevent crusting, cover and let the dough rest at room temperature for about an hour. After 1 hour, knead the dough well again. Adding a Tsp of coconut oil at this stage gives a nice aroma to the dough. This is how elastic the dough becomes after an hour-
Notice how the dough can be stretched, without tearing, and how it coats my fingers. That is the sign that the Kanaka is ready.
To make the Hoorna-
While the Kananka is resting, the hoorna can be made. Grind the coconut without adding any water. I did not do it, and regretted a bit. Take the Jaggery and coconut in a thick pan and keep stirring on a medium flame till the mixture starts thickening, add the cardamom powder. Add a tsp of coconut oil or ghee and keep stirring. The mixture should form a soft lump and leave the sides of the pan. Jaggery has a tendency to become hard, so it is a good idea to use a medium flame. Let the mixture cool and make small balls approximately the size of a small lemon.
To make the Holige-
Keep a small bowl of refined oil( in Udupi, coconut oil would be used) for dipping. Take a small amount of kanaka( smaller than the Hoorna ball) spread it wide on your palm, keep the hoorna on it and cover with kananka completely. Dip the ball in oil, and roll out on a piece of parchment paper, as thin as possible.
Transfer onto a hot tava, and cook well on both sides on a medium flame till both sides are slightly golden. No need to add ghee or oil again-
Serve the Holige with some warm milk and ghee. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, after a day.