Bol de Gram – Weekend Kitchen Experiments

A few weeks ago I had attended an East Indian Food Festival. The East Indian community is considered to be among the original inhabitants of the city of Mumbai (along with the kolis). They were known as the ‘native Christians’ in the 18th Century, and were among the earliest residents of the islands of Bombay, Salsette and Thana. They lived in territories controlled by the Portuguese, before the latter handed over the islands to the British as dowry for the wedding of Catherine of Braganza to Charles II. The East Indians speak a dialect of Marathi that is different from the one spoken in the rest of the state of Maharashtra. (The vocabulary is said to be a mixture of 70% Marathi and 30% Portuguese). The community’s customs – especially the cuisine – have heavy Portuguese influence. The visit to the East Indian Festival got me interested in their traditional cuisines, so today I tried out one of their dessert preparations – Bol de Gram.

Bol de Gram incorporates eggs, sugar, butter and semolina, along with coconut and chickpeas, and rose water and nutmeg for flavoring. The recipe requires overnight fermentation of the sugar, butter, eggs and semolina mixture. Since I tried it on a holiday, I did the mixing in the morning, and continued with the rest of the preparation seven hours later in the evening. Grated coconut and cooked and mashed chickpeas were added to the morning mix, along with the rose water and nutmeg. The entire mixture was then baked for about fifteen minutes. (The mixing and baking don’t take time; the fermentation time needs to be considered if you do decide to try this out.) The baked product had a cake-like consistency and texture, and tasted yum. 😍

The baking dish I used was too large for the amount of batter, causing the slices to flatten out.
The batter does not rise while baking, so it can be filled higher up in the dish.

The link below features the original write up from my visit to the East Indian Food Festival that got me curious about the community’s cuisine.


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