Poornam boorelu or poornalu are a popular delicacy from Andhra cuisine made with chana dal, jaggery, cardamoms, urad dal and rice. Poornalu are commonly prepared during festivals, weddings & other special occasions. Most telugu speaking homes prepare poornam boorelu for varalakshmi vratham & Durga Navratri to offer as naivedyam to the Goddess. These are then shared with family, friends & neighbors.
Poornalu are also made in other neighbouring states are known as sukhiyan in malayalam , suyam, suzhiyan or sugunta in other regional languages.
To make poornam boorelu, chana dal and jaggery balls known as poornam is prepared first. Then these balls are dipped in rice & urad dal batter. Lastly deep fried until crisp and golden.
It’s definitely an art to master these boorelu. Getting them in the right shape and crust that isn’t hard is something that comes by practice.
More about poornalu
Traditionally the outer covering batter was made with homemade pound rice flour which was later mixed with ground fluffy urad dal batter.
The rice and dal were soaked for a few hours. Then the rice was drained completely. Next while still moist it was pound to a fine flour & sieved.
These days since it is a lot of work, more women prefer to just soak rice and urad dal separately. Then blend them to batter. This is a short cut method without having to dry the rice and pound it separately.
Yes the traditional ones taste much better and the crust is light and delicate than what we get by following the shortcut method.
In this post I have shared the later method which is much easier even if you are a newbie.
This recipe was passed on to me by a group of Telugu speaking friends in Singapore which we all have been religiously following for years.
1. Soak urad dal and raw rice in enough water separately for 4 to 5 hrs.
Making poornam for burelu
2. In a heavy bottom pan, Cook channa dal with water till just cooked not mushy. You can also pressure cook but it may make the dal mushy. Keeping an eye on the dal is easy if cooked in a pot.
3. To check you can take little dal in between your thumb and forefinger and mash it, you must be able to mash the dal fully and easily.
Or you can even take a tablespoon and try to mash few grains of dal against side of the utensil, the dal must get mashed well and easily. If the mentioned water is not enough sprinkle little more water, cover and cook.
4. Drain the excess water to a separate bowl. Mash the dal slightly with a dal masher or cool & pulse it in a blender (mixer). You can even use the base of a stainless steel glass to mash. I mashed it coarsely because we like it that way.
5. Optional – Add grated jaggery and 45 ml of water (3 tbsp.) to a utensil. Heat up and stir till the jaggery melts off completely. Set this aside. You can even heat up in a microwave. You can skip this step if your jaggery is free from stones and debris. You can also use the dal cooked water to dissolve the jaggery.
6. If using jaggery pour the jaggery syrup through a filter to remove impurities or debris. Do not add jaggery syrup or sugar in under cooked dal. Partially cooked dal turns hard. I added jaggery directly here as the one I used as clean free of any impurities.
7. Mix dal and jaggery well. Begin to cook to dissolve the jaggery. It dissolves and the entire mixture turns gooey. Cook until the moisture evaporates and the entire poornam mixture turns dry.
8. Turn off when it is completely dry.
9. Mash it as much as you desire. Then add cardamom powder and coconut (optional). Ideally poornam mixture is not smooth but coarse with some whole chana dal here and there.
10. Make small lemon sized balls keep aside. You will be able to make 14 to 16 depending on the size.
Blending batter for poornam boorelu
11. Drain off the excess water from urad dal completely.
12. Add it to a mixer jar along with little salt and cold or chilled water just enough to cover the dal. Grind till smooth, fluffy or frothy. Do not add too much water.
13. The batter has to be thick, fluffy and of dropping consistency or ribbon consistency. It should not be of free flowing consistency. Transfer this to a large pot.
14. Drain off the rice in a colander, make sure there is no water in the rice.
15. Add it to the ground dal batter. Grind again by sprinkling little water as and when needed.
16. We like to blend the rice slightly coarse as you see in the picture, this slight coarse batter gives a nice crust to the poornam boorelu without making the outer shell hard. The consistency must be like a thick dosa batter. If needed sprinkle little water while grinding.
Do not make the batter runny.
17. Mix both the urad dal and rice batter. The consistency should be thick as you see in the picture below. If the texture does not match that means the batter is runny and you will need to add some dry rice flour.
How to make poornam boorelu
18. Heat oil in a deep fry pan till hot, reduce the flame to medium, add one ball each time to the batter, dip , roll it in the batter gently with the help of a tablespoon.
19. Swipe off the excess dripping batter to the bowl and drop in the hot oil, repeat the process for the other balls.
20. Do not disturb them for few seconds, then stir gently for even frying. Don’t be harsh, they might break and the stuffing will come out messing up the oil.
21. Fry them in batches till golden color.
22. Once cool, fry them again for a min, this way they stay crisp for longer time and will get the right golden color. The pictures you see were after frying the poornalu once. However this step is optional.
You will be left with little batter, you can use up to make punugulu.
Cool them completely and offer to the goddess. We usually make a dent in the center and add hot ghee to it and serve.
- Always soak urad dal and rice separately as they need to be ground separately to different textures.
- Do not over soak the dal or rice as oversoaking will not make crisp poornam boorelu.
- Blend the urad dal batter to thick, fluffy & light batter adding cold water only as needed.
- Blend rice to a slightly coarse texture to give a crisp texture.
- The consistency of the batter must be thick and not free flowing.
- Salt should be added while blending the batter and not later as adding latter thins down the batter to runny consistency.
- As a quick fix, dry rice flour can be added to the runny batter. This helps to thicken the batter but the boorelu will come out slightly hard.
- To make these poornam boorelu, I feel a table spoon works better than using our fingers. If you are a first timer, just go ahead using tablespoon.
- Do not add jaggery to the chana dal unless it is cooked fully.
Homemade rice flour: (Make 1 day ahead) You can also soak the rice for 3 to 4 hours. Drain it completely and dry on a cloth. When the rice is slightly damp to touch you can process it in a mixer to fine flour. Sieve it and dry on a large plate without covering.
The next day just make urad dal batter as you would make for dosa. Then mix this with the dosa batter adding water just as needed.
Store bought flour: We usually do not use store bought flour to make naivedyam. But I have made it several times on occasions not for offering as naivedyam but for us. So store bought fine flour also works very well here. Just use 1:2 ratios for dal:rice.
Poornam boorelu recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for poornam
- 1 cup channa dal or senagapappu
- 1¾ to 2 cups water
- 1½ cup jaggery grated or palm jaggery or sugar
- 2 tbsps coconut fresh (optional)
- ¼ tsp green cardamom powder
Ingredients for outer covering
- ¾ cup urad dal or minapappu
- 1¼ cup raw rice
- 1 pinch salt
- Oil for deep frying as needed
How to make the recipe
- Wash and Soak seperately urad dal and rice in water for 4 to 5 hours.
Preparing poornam for boorelu
- Optional step – Skip this if your jaggery is clean & free from debris. To a large bowl, add grated jaggery and 45 ml of water (about 3 tbsps). Melt jaggery by placing this bowl on a low flame or microwave for 1.5 minutes. keep this aside.
- Cook channa dal with water until just cooked. Do not overcook and make mushy. The dal must still hold shape and when mashed it must turn soft. Drain off the dal in a colander. You can cook in a pressure cooker but it may mush up the dal so I prefer to cook in the pot.
- Mash or blend the dal to smooth or coarse mixture in a blender. I just mashed it. Put back the dal to the same pot.
- If using sugar, add it to the mashed dal. If using jaggery , filter the prepared syrup to the mashed dal. Discard the debris. Mix them well. Add fresh coconut if using and cardamom powder.
- Cook till the water evaporates completely and the dal looks dry and comes together like a mass.
- When it cools down, make 14 to 16 equal sized balls.
Make batter for poornam boorelu
- Drain the rice in a colander. There must be no dripping water.
- Add urad dal, little salt and little water to a blender. Blend till frothy or smooth. Adding too much water will make the batter runny, so use as needed only.
- Next add rice to the batter and repeat blending. Keep the batter slightly coarse , this helps the outer covering to turn crusty. The consistency should be like thick dosa batter. If the batter turns runny, add little dry rice flour.
- Heat oil for deep frying. Check if the oil is hot by dropping a small portion of batter, it must come up.
- Next drop one ball each time to the batter, take a tablespoon and coat it well and swipe off the excess drippings. Then drop it in the oil.
- Do not disturb for a min or more to prevent breaking. Fry till golden on a medium heat. Stir them in between. Fry them in batches till you finish off all the balls.
- Repeat frying poornam boorelu for a min or two for extra crust.
- You can make punugulu with the left over batter.
- Cool them completely and Offer Poornam Boorelu to Goddess Lakshmi. For serving – Heat up little ghee in a small bowl, make a small hole in the center. Pour little ghee and enjoy.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips.