Tag Archives: diwali sweets

Deepawali – The Victory Story

Deepawali in the south of India or Diwali in the north, the festival signifies victory of good over evil. In the north, it is Lord Rama’s homecoming, after his victory over Ravana; In the south, it is the day of Lord Krishna’s victory over demon Narakasura.

Now, my victory story, doesn’t involve any such philosophy. It is the victory of perseverance, victory of persistence, diligence, commitment and the list is endless. Why have I suddenly drenched myself in a sea of boastfulness? Let me elaborate. Exactly on the victorious day of Deepawali – I was a changed person. I suddenly felt my soul reached an unexplainable ecstatic state – with my victory over two things.

One – victory over the tricky Athirasam and Two – victory over the complicated Boondi Laddu! Doesn’t that sound awesome??

Athirasam

Athirasam has always been a tricky affair, since my first article on Athirasam in November 2011. It seems to have been a long journey, but this time, I am a contended soul.

I prayed very hard to all Gods, not for me, not for Athirasam, and also not for the Gods to whom I devoutly offered…. but extensively for my family. They are super appreciative of my efforts in the kitchen. A few times, I succeeded making replica of flattened pumice stone with the athirasam batter. Though it was capable of breaking any tooth, as strong as diamond, they appreciated the polished texture of the thing I made.

A few other times, the batter disintegrated in oil, they sweetly commented, it looked like blooming flowers in a lake. I was smart enough to stop with the first batch. I converted the batter into Appam with Banana or sweet Paniyaram. I even got hugs and kisses for being so very innovative.

Though, my heart brims with pride, having made them proud, on such countless occasions, I could somehow feel they were worried souls, on the eve of Diwali. They were in fact getting panic attacks, when I was preparing the Athirasam batter. With a true feeling of helping them out of this stressful situation, this time I prayed to all Gods, with utmost Devotion.

Thankfully, the Gods didn’t drop – good looking, perfect athirasams from Heaven. That’s when, I started to think, and hence, got so much stories to share with you guys.

So what made the difference? There were a few things I thought I should re-analyse. All numeric ratios were checked and they seemed just right. The measurements were perfect; the ingredients were exact; the procedure was flawless. I felt like a school going kid, with my math problem gone wrong. All formulas right, done in the exact step by step procedure, rechecked several times….. but the answer went wrong. All my teachers stood in front of me, and seemed to be telling me – Maths is all about Practice. Not only Mathematics, anything in life comes with a price – and the most important of all might be…. Time – Devoted Time to practice and practice again.

I realised, making Athirasam was more than a tough mathematical calculation. Practice was not enough. But, learning new nuances from continuous practice helped. What I learnt from continuous Practice is listed below-

  1. Rice flour used for Athirasam needs to be moist and not too dry. That’s why, raw rice is soaked, dried at home for an hour or so, and powdered in the mixer while slightly wet.
  2. Jaggery used should be the darker variety and also one which is right for syrups – we call it the ‘Paagu Vellam’ in Tamil.
  3. Though the ratio is provided, always keep additional rice flour. Because, some varieties of jaggery might take in more flour. If there isn’t enough flour, the mixture would be watery, a consistency not suitable to make athirasam.
  4. Also, always mix rice flour to syrup and, do not pour the syrup into rice flour. This helps in binding the mixture well, and gives room to add more rice flour if needed. But, while pouring syrup into the flour- one might end up having a very thick batter. And, if there isn’t more syrup in hand, it would be difficult to alter the consistency of batter.
  5. The most important of all – THE SYRUP…. that makes the difference. What we need, is a single-string consistency or soft ball consistency syrup.

Soft Ball consistency – How to make the quintessential syrup?

  • Heat jaggery with 1/4 cup water in a vessel to dissolve
  • Filter when jaggery is dissolved and make a syrup.
  • Check for Soft ball consistency? When the jaggery is boiling well in the vessel – keep a bowl of water and add a few drops of the syrup. The drops should settle in water and one should be able to make a soft ball out of the droplets.
  • Soft ball consistency is same as single string. Take very little syrup in between thumb and index finger (be cautious… the syrup is too hot), now, single string should be formed. This is the right consistency of syrup.

Now, after getting the consistency of syrup right, add the rice flour to the syrup and let the batter ferment overnight.

For recipe and ingredients of Athirasam, and my initial stories on how I learnt athirasam from our family kitchen, visit – https://dosaikal.com/2011/10/25/the-tricky-athirasam/

RICE FLOUR

The next important aspect of this year’s Athirasam making was the rice flour. I had store-bought rice flour, that was Idiyappam maavu. While I was wondering, how to use this flour, as an easy option .. this website came to my rescue. https://www.sailajakitchen.org/2018/10/adhirasam-recipe-using-ready-made-rice.html

It had an answer to keep the store bought dry rice powder in moist condition. The author asked to sprinkle water little by little on the rice flour, and after mixing, powder the bread-crumb-like flour with dry ginger and cardamom in a mixer. The moist rice powder for Athirasam is ready.

Isn’t this super smart! I adapted this method, with a slight correction in the syrup consistency- accurately soft ball.

Thank You Sailaja! you made my Day!!

After allowing the batter to ferment overnight, I made athirasam on the day of Deepawali. Gods had answered the prayers of my family. My Athirasams were just perfect.

I had mixed feelings… Had I scored full marks in mathematics? Or was I an athlete, who has just reached the finish line, faster than ever? I touched my head…. do I feel a chef’s cap? I suddenly realised, my feet didn’t touch the ground, then, I pressed myself down.

It might sound like an exaggerated triumph, but, this is no mean feat either. My mother agrees with me. Since Deepawali until today, she has been the lone soul, to have listened each word of my triumphant story of Athirasam, in complete silence on the other side of the telephone. And just said, ‘I’m proud of you’ with tears in her eyes, that I could visualise through my BOTIM call.

Pottukkadalai-Nilakkadalai Urundai/Roasted Channa-Groundnut Laddu

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Happy Diwali!

Any happy festival is made happier when it is made healthy too. With varied sweets and snacks to eat and greet, it is also important to include a few healthy sweets and snacks to reduce the damage already created by fatty intake of delicacies. After all the goodies have been stuffed and the digestive system has had over loaded duty to perform,  there is always the kashayam/poshion for stomach cleaning (dosaikal.com/deepavali kashayam), which is given as a damage control mechanism.

Yet, this is my contribution to a healthy sweet for the festival of lights, especially suitable for kids and due to the Clarified Butter/Ghee content- in limitations for adults too.

Pottukkadalai/Nilakkadalai Urundai/Roasted Channa-Groundnut Laddu (Sweet Ball)

 

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These Urundais/sweet balls are made in combination with roasted channa, peanuts and palm sugar all in powder form.  It is an easy to make sweet as well as high in nutritional value due to the protein rich chick pea and peanuts. White refined sugar has been avoided as they have only empty calories. Palm sugar which is rich in iron and other minerals is an added source of nutrition in the recipe. If powdered palm sugar is not available, cane jaggery syrup, palm jaggery syrup or unrefined cane sugar which is ‘Naattu Sarkkarai’ in Tamil can be used.

Pottukkadalai/Roasted Channa

 

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Pottukkadalai is Roasted Channa, also called Chutney Dhal in the northern part of India. It gets this name as it is directly used to make chutneys/dips without the burden of frying/roasting the lentil at home. It is had as a simple teatime nibbler too in Tamilnadu. Combined with pieces of coconut and jaggery it can be a healthy munch suitable to curb hunger between meals.

 

  1. They are naturally fat-free, saturated fat-free, and sodium-free. Roasted chana helps lower your risk of heart disease and may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
  2. They help to keep blood sugar low as the carbohydrate present in them takes longer time to digest and hence it has a low GI which makes them a suitable snack for diabetics.
  3. Use them to add a protein boost to meals without introducing meat or unnecessary fat to the dish.
  4. Roasted chana contain 6 grams of dietary fiber, or 22 percent of the recommended daily requirement of 28 grams. Dietary fiber encourages regular bowel movements, prevents constipation and lessens the risk of heart disease.
  5. They are also a good source of calcium, potassium and magnesium.http://www.tarladalal.com/glossary-roasted-chana-1800i

 

Nilakkadalai/Peanuts

 

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Here are a few nutritional facts of groundnuts or peanuts-

  1. They are actually legumes but carry almost all the qualities of other popular edible kernels such as pistachio, almonds, etc.
  2. They compose sufficient levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), especially oleic acid. MUFA helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” level in the blood
  3. The kernels are an excellent source of vitamin E (a-tocopherol);
  4. The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. 100 g of peanuts provide about 85% of RDI of niacin, which contribute to brain health and blood flow to brain.
  5. The nuts are rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
  6. Just a handful of peanuts per day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.
    http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/peanuts.html

 

Pottukkadalai-Nilakkadalai Urundai/Roasted Channa-Peanut Laddu/Sweet Balls

 

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Ingredients (makes appr. 20-22 urundais)

 

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  • pottukkadalai/roasted channa – 1 1/2 cup
  • nilakkadalai/peanut – 1 1/2 cup
  • palm sugar (powder) – 1 1/2 cup
  • elakkai/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – appr. 1/4 cup

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast- roasted channa and powder it in a blender
  2. Dry roast peanuts, remove skin and powder it in a blender
  3. Take a wide bowl and place all the dry powders – channa powder, peanut powder, palm sugar powder, cardamom powder and dry ginger powder and mix well
  4. Heat clarified butter in a small pan and pour on top of the powder mix.
  5. Make lemon sized balls and they are ready to enjoy.

 

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Note:

  1. Be mindful of the roasted channa. Normal raw bengal gram is not the one to be used here. Go for the roasted gram available in south-indian groceries.
  2. Palm sugar can be substituted with ‘Naatu Sarkkarai’ which is unrefined cane sugar, easily available in local stores in tamilnadu.
  3. Another substitute can be jaggery syrup or palm jaggery syrup. In that case, usage of clarified butter can be reduced as the syrups act as binding agents themselves. A little touch of ghee should be enough.

 

Vaazhai Pazha Appam/Banana Wheat Flour Fritters (south indian style)

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Appam is a simple sweet that can accommodate itself into any occasion… household snack or a festive sweet. Like the Vadai, this one is a comfort food for all purposes. The distinguishing quality is the simplicity involved in the making of appam. The versatility of vadai was written in the post on vadai (dosaikal.com/ulundhu vadai); I shall call Appam the sweet version of salted vadai in terms of Versatility.

It is also a healthy snack with whole wheat flour and jaggery. A plain appam can be made with whole wheat flour and jaggery as main ingredients. This one has the added flavor of banana. It is almost a fried version of banana cake. Hence, it can also be a remedy for finishing off those over-ripe soft bananas left in the fruit basket, not fit to be had as a fruit anymore.

It is certainly a quick sweet for unexpected guests. It can be made very fast, with jaggery syrup ready in fridge. Even without the syrup, appam batter can be mixed in a jiffy with or without blender, with hands or egg beater too. It can also be an awesome holiday snack or a rainy day comfort snack.

Apart from the special sweets made for specific festivals, Appam can be a sweet made for many festivals and orthodox prayer days as a quick morning Puja Delicacy.

 

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Jaggery Syrup

  1. In a pan/vessel, immerse jaggery in just enough water
  2. Once jaggery is dissolved, strain for impurities
  3. Keep the strained jaggery water in a pan on stove, add cardamom powder and dry ginger powder
  4. Boil the mixture till it thickens a bit, say for 5 mins till the syrup takes the flavor of the powders well
  5. Cool and store the syrup in fridge
  6. Use when needed in sweets.

Vaazhai Pazha Appam/Banana Appam  (Banana Whole Wheat Fritters)

Ingredients (makes appr. 40 appams)

 

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  • vaazhai pazham/ripe banana -2 no.s
  • gothumai maavu/whole wheat flour – 2 cups
  • arisi maavu/rice flour – 2 tblsp
  • vellam/jaggery – 1 cup
  • uppu/salt – a pinch
  • baking soda – 1/2 spoon
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • water – as much required for dissolving jaggery
  • oil – for deep frying

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Method of Preparation

Different Versions of Appam

I. Deep-fried Appam

 

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The below given recipe is the deep fried version.

  1. Dissolve jaggery in just enough water and filter for impurities
  2. Mash the well ripen bananas
  3. In a mixer-grinder bowl, mix whole wheat flour, rice flour, mashed bananas, jaggery water, salt, cardamom powder, dry ginger powder and baking soda and blend to a fine paste
  4. Use little water initially to dissolve jaggery, so that if more water is needed to make a medium consistency batter, water can be added then
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan
  6. Pour the batter through a spoon and fry till done
  7. Appams would be soft and fluffy because of the addition of baking soda.

II. Less oil Appam – Vaazhai Pazha Paniyaaram

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Paniyaara Chatti/Pan used to make Paniyaaram (dosaikal.com/paniyaram), can be used for a low fat, less oil Appam. Just grease the moulds of pan with little oil or pour 1/2 tsp of oil in each mould and fry both sides. The non-fried appam is called inippu paniyaram/sweet paniyaaram.

 

  1. Pour very little oil in the paniyaaram moulds
  2. Use the same batter and fry on both sides

III. Healthier version using Palm jaggery  –  Karuppatti Appam or Paniyaaram

Substitute the jaggery (made from sugar cane) with palm jaggery (made from palm). Palm jaggery is the same as jaggery, in the shape of a small-hard ball. Dissolve in water, strain for impurities and use as in recipe. Deep fry or use paniyaara chatti as preferred.

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IV. Using powdered palm sugar – Karuppatti Appam or Paniyaaram

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Using powdered palm sugar is the easiest and healthiest of all. The dissolving and filtering process of jaggery can be omitted and mixed directly with the other ingredients. Deep fry or use paniyaara chatti as preferred.

 

  1. Using palm sugar makes the batter darker and appam more brown in colour. The taste is almost the same but be rest assured about the high nutrient qualities of palm sugar in comparison to cane jaggery
  2. For 2 cups of wheat flour, 2  well ripen mashed bananas and 1 1/2 cups of powdered palm sugar (instead of 1 cup of jaggery)
  3. Substitute the jaggery in the recipe with powdered palm sugar and follow the same instruction for deep fried or paniyaaram version of Appam
  4. Deep fry or use Paniyaara chatti a preferred.

Note:

  1. Quantity of jaggery/palm sugar can be altered as per preferences.
  2. Grated coconut (1/4 cup)  can be added for additional flavor.
  3. Usage of rice flour aids in crisper appams.
  4. Keep a watch with water. Less water can be rectified by adding more water. More water needs more flour and more mashed bananas, which might create chaos.
  5. Always use well ripen very soft bananas for soft flavorful appam.

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Thengai Burfi/Coconut Burfi

With Diwali around the corner, it is certainly time for some sweets and snacks suitable for the festive occasion.
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Thengai Burfi is one my childhood favorites. Coconut based burfi or urundai/laddu can be made in different styles – with milk and sugar, with sugary condensed milk, with milk powder and sugar, with sugar syrup without milk… thengai burfi (square shaped sweet) or thengai urundai (coconut balls) is something the tongue and teeth wouldn’t forget for long – Tongue for the taste of it and Teeth for the extras that always cling on to it. The Chewy, Juicy, Sugary, Coconut Milky flavor of the sweet takes me to a special day called MISSION SUNDAY.
My early years of schooling in an Anglo Indian School introduced me to a bit of Christianity and to the Sisters of the Missionaries. MISSION SUNDAY used to be a fun filled day of events, something equivalent to Carnivals in European Schools. A day of food, games and fun activities – all done by combined efforts of Teachers, Parents and Children. Nothing to do with religion, it was a Sunday devoted to opening stalls, selling your home products- especially food cooked by mothers/grandmothers, earn money and donate it to school. I remember Amma used to make Thengai Burfi in different colors – Pink,, Red and Yellow and Amma and me used to be a team selling thengai burfi. As Stallmates, we used to earn a bit… that was a very happy feeling of being a junior entrepreneur at an early age. So that’s the juicy story of Thengai Burfi.
My cousin ‘S’ would remember more as we went to the same school and what more we did in our stall together for Mission Sunday is something to discuss about. My memories are somehow stuck up with Coconut Burfi.
This version of Thengai Burfi is with the basic ingredients – coconut and sugar. There is no milk and no food color in the recipe. As I had saffron, I chose to bring in the exotic flavor of saffron and its beautiful mild yellow color to the burfi. Also added is cardamom to complete the combined flavor of the sweet.
Thengai Burfi/Coconut Burfi

 

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Ingredients (makes 20-24 pieces)

  • thuruviya thengai/grated coconut – 2 cups
  • sarkkarai/sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • water – enough to soak sugar – appr. 1/2 cup
  • elakkai/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • kungumapoo/saffron – a few strings
  • nei/clarified butter – to grease the tray

 

grated coconut and cardamom

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saffron and sugar-water

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Method of Preparation

  1. Grate coconut, without the brown layer close to the shell. We need the white meat alone
  2. Grease a tray with enough nei/clarified butter
  3. Place pan (preferably non-stick) on stove and heat sugar and water with saffron strands and cardamom powder
  4. When water comes to a boil add grated coconut and stir well
  5. Keep stirring till the mixture starts to thicken and foams up in the pan. It would not take much time
  6. The sweet is almost ready and once it starts to leave the pan, spread in the already greased tray/bowl
  7. When it is a little warm, mark the spread sweet into desired shapes and remove only when completely cool
  8. Juicy Coconut Burfi is ready.

 

 

Notes:

  1. Grating only the white meat of coconut is important for the beautiful white colour. A substitute option to easy traditional grating is to take coconut completely out of the shell, remove the brown outer layer and then cut into small pieces. Then, grate in a mixer-grinder. (see picture above)
  2. Saffron is optional. The aroma and subtle yellow color are the true benefits of saffron. Those who prefer the original white color of coconut shall avoid saffron.
  3. Sugar can be altered as per taste preference. More the sugar, finer the structure of pieces. I have stuck to medium sugar.

Rectifying problems in consistency:

  •  if you find the consistency of burfi too thin and hence not ready to form stiff pieces, keep the mixture back in pan and stir for some more time
  •  if the mixture seems too thick to spread or turns into granules, put it back in the pan, add little water and stir till it softens and remove at the right consistency

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Pathirpeni/Sugary Snow White Crisps

 

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Pathirpeni is a very special sweet to me and to my brother! It was and is still a speciality signature sweet of Aachi  my paternal grandmother. I do not remember having pathirpeni in any other house in the big clan that we belong to. The sole supplier to all near and dear ones was Aachi – helped meticulously by Amma – my mother.

I had my miniature ‘Puri kattai’ or the spherical puri maker in wood to specially make pathirpeni and also puris. This was handed over to my daughter who used to help me make rotis, but feels she is a grown up and uses my bigger puri kattai. She painted my dear little puri kattai though the newer roller is intact.

 

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Pathirpeni is for those with that extra sweet tooth – which might be god sent genetically or amma fed affectionately… We siblings have both – hence not one but two extras to successfully acquire that ‘happier the healthier’ plump look!

These are deep-fried crisps dipped/rubbed immediately in powdered sugar to get the snowy white finish. It is a simple sweet with minimal ingredients but one should be ready for some interesting variety of work. The sugar that melts in the mouth first is followed by the crispy crunch of the deep-fried discs.

These also involve an efficient team work. Since the count was always in hundreds, amma or aachi would knead the dough; they would take turns in pressing the spheres and frying in oil – the last quintessential part of rubbing the powdered sugar would be ours – mine and my brother… I think I did the rubbing and he contributed more into something which can also be decently termed as tasting!

So I did the rolling and frying and my 6-year-old did the sugar-coating! She wanted to make her own pathirpeni and then I was a proud mother!!

 

she started off like this….

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and then graduated with flying colours!! – special seven that the little hands made!

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These can be stored in air tight containers after cooled for a week – that’s not a concern as its life ends too quickly! Yet the tastiest crisps are those which directly come out of the oil and are delicately transferred for one’s taste buds to relish, sprinkled/rubbed very quickly with powdered sugar.

One cup of flour (about 150 gms), would yield 20-25 crisps. After a no maida/all-purpose flour and no white sugar life for many years now, this one has been an exception. Might be I try next time with whole wheat flour and brown sugar – but have to sacrifice on the colour as wheat flour would result in brown crisps and then we might call it brownie crisps!

Now to the recipe –
Pathirpeni/Sugary Snow White Crisps

 

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Ingredients (makes 30-35)

 

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  • maida maavu/all-purpose flour – 1 1/4 cup (200 gms)
  • cheeni/sugar – 1 1/4 cup (200 gms)
  • thanneer/water – as needed
  • uppu/salt – a pinch
  • nei/clarified butter – 1 tsp
  • arisi maavu/rice powder – 1 tsp
  • yennai/oil – for deep frying

Method of Preparation
1. Sieve all-purpose flour, add a pinch of salt and mix enough water to make a tight dough

 

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2. Finely powder the sugar and keep in a wide bowl or plate; the deep fried crisps would directly land inside this bowl to have a sugar bath
3. Heat oil in a pan, keep in sim position
4. In a small bowl, mix clarified butter and rice powder
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5. Make three even balls of the dough

 

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6. Spread into flat breads – chappatis/indian roti size – not too thin, not too thick

 

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7. Do not place rotis one on top of the other before spreading the mixture as they would stick to each other and one would have to make the three flat breads again. Make one and place on a plate; spread the butter rice powder mixture, make the second one and place on top of the first; spread the mixture and make the third; now place the third on top of the second. It had become messy as I had placed before spreading – I had to do it all over again. So be cautious on this

 

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8. Roll this triple layered roti . Now it is time to pull the rolled roti as long as possible without spoiling or breaking the texture

 

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pulled long

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9. Then cut into very small bits, size enough to make small circular crisps

these are little big, i had to make them smaller

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10. Roll into thin crisps – while rolling, see the side which was cut by knife – make thin puris/crisps pressing the knife cut edge into a circle. This helps the butter mixture to stay intact. Otherwise it would ooze out from the puris.

 

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11. When the oil is ready, roll one by one and fry till crisp. We do not want a fluffy soft puri – make really thin and flat ones that come out crisp
12. Immediately drop it inside the sugar bed and apply well; the powdered sugar must have coated evenly

 

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13. Tap the crisps slightly to reduce the excess sugar
14. Taste one to enjoy the true taste of pathirpeni – this is the most important step in my opinion; having identified the flaws (making thinner or thicker; right shape; less sugar coating; more sugar coating and so on), proceed with the next
15. Make all the crisps and let them cool
16. Store in an air tight container and enjoy.
17. Do not hesitate to help yourself with more – you won’t get those hot crisps after they are cooled – cannot be microwaved or reheated by any means!
Note:

  1. This is a simple one – yet, some caution on important steps would make it easier
  2. Try one and feel the crispness of it and accordingly try to make corrections on the thinness and crispness of the pathirpeni
  3. Each time, tap a little to take away the sugar if one doesn’t prefer so much sugar
  4. Adding cardamom powder to the powdered sugar might add some aroma and flavor though it is not added normally.

 

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Ukkarai/Okkarai – Lentil Halwa for Diwali

 

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The festival of lights is back again! No need for long paragraphs saying Diwali brings in joy and happiness and teaches the traditional values to the younger generation….. Whatever said and done, not said and not done – Diwali or Deepavali in Tamil, brings in loads of sweets and tonnes of savouries – to relish and eat and ofcourse over eat!

So, let’s plunge into some special sweets and savouries one after the other in the coming week. Today it is Okkarai or Ukkarai – a Halwa with two/three lentils and jaggery.

Some make it with all the three basic lentils of an Indian kitchen – red lentil, dehusked green gram and bengal gram or a combination of two of these or just bengal gram. Though amma does not make okkarai, I was re-introduced to this exquisite sweet by my friend Lakshmi in Chennai. When my daughter was very small and we lived in the same locality as theirs, we used to be treated with Okkarai very often and it became one of my daughter’s favourites. The beautiful brown colour, the aroma of clarified butter with the fried nuts added and the flavour of lentils mixed jaggery is just exotic with no words to explain.

Lakshmi, I never knew the effort that was involved in Okkarai until I made it now. So, it is a rekindled, more respectful thanks for the strain you put yourself to!
Recipe adopted from-

In Rajasthani cuisine, Moong Dhal Halwa occupies a special place. To me, it is one of best desserts of Indian Cuisine. I should confess, anyone can swap their home made moong dhal halwa/dehusked green gram halwa – rajasthani style – with the best of my pattu/silk sarees (or my husband’s favourite suits)!!
Okkarai/Ukkarai – Lentil Halwa

 

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • kadalai paruppu/bengal gram – 1/2 cup
  • paasi paruppu/dehusked green gram – 1/2 cup
  • thuruviya thengai/grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • vellam/jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 1/2 cup
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashew nuts – 4tsp
  • ular thiratchai/raisins – 4tsp

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast kadalai paruppu and paasi paruppu till golden brown
  2. Wash and soak for two hours
  3. Grind into a coarse paste with no water – the same as dry grinding but the lentils are wet as they were soaked – but no water please
  4. Make small balls and flat discs and steam in a greased tray/mould for about 15 minutes
  5. Dry grind the balls again for an even end product of halwa without lumps
  6. Keep aside the lentil powder
  7. Grate the coconut and keep aside
  8. Heat a little clarified butter in a pan and fry the cut cashewnuts and raisins and keep aside
  9. In a pan slightly heat jaggery in little water until jaggery dissolves completely
  10. Strain it well and place in low heat for a thick syrup  – Even if the syrup is not too sticky like a single string consistence, do not bother. There is enough time while the jaggery gets mixed with lentil powder- but just be careful not to get it burnt
  11. In the same pan, when the jaggery is ready, add the lentil powder to it and start stirring well
  12. Heat the clarified butter into a pourable consistency and add to the jaggery, lentil mixture while getting cooked. This helps the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  13. Add the fried cashews and raisins
  14. Stir well till jaggery is completely absorbed by the lentils and a smooth halwa consistency is arrived
  15. In the end add the grated coconut and mix well till the raw smell and juiciness of coconut is gone
  16. Tastes best when served hot.

 

roast the lentils together

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after soaking, grind and steam the mixture

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then, dry blend to avoid lumps

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mix well with fried nuts and grated coconut

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Notes:

  1. Quantity of jaggery depends on each family
  2. As mentioned above, addition of red lentils is another option
  3. I used banana leaves to steam the lentil mixture for some extra aroma
  4. Add the lentil powder to syrup jaggery or pour in the jaggery syrup into the pan of lentil powder – either way the halwa would come out the same
  5. Quantity of nei/clarified butter can be altered. I love nei in my sweets – hence this quantity. If one prefers lesser clarified butter  -feel free to reduce it. The texture of ukkarai would be slightly powdery – like Puttu (steamed rice cylinders) and hence, okkarai is also called ‘Paruppu Puttu’, I learnt it now.

 

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