Tag Archives: paasi paruppu

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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Entering Year 3! Paasi Paruppu Payasam/Dehusked Green Gram Pudding/Kheer

 

paasi paruppu payasam

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The second year of blogging has not been a continuous writing affair… though there was no end to cooking affair! Too much into packing, shifting places, entering new places and faces, unpacking and settling has been quite tedious. When I look back, the previous year has been a slow-paced one… sometimes out of sight for a couple of months too. But I feel overwhelmed by the support I have received in spite of those long intervals.

NANRI – Thanks a ton – for understanding my absence for short periods!

During this period of settling down, the new subscribers that joined hands with me and my old friends who have been continuously keeping pace with my posts, have made me feel more guilty of not having settled sooner and not having posted more. I shall surely try to compensate on that this year.

As usual, let’s enter another year with a sweet dish. This is one of my favourite payasams, of course next to Adai Pradhaman (https://dosaikal.com/adai-pradhaman-ada-pradhaman).J aggery and coconut milk make a sweet dish heavenly! This is one such payasam/pudding/kheer, with dehusked green gram. Generally, in payasams or any sweet dish, nuts are roasted or fried in nei/ghee to add richness and flavour. Here, traditionally, thinly cubed coconut pieces are fried in nei/clarified butter and added to the completed payasam. The coconut pieces can be added with fried cashewnuts. But, they can taste good all alone without the nuts too! Here, I have avoided the nuts and added fried coconut pieces alone.

I have seen aachi and amma always use chukku podi – dry ginger powder when jaggery is used in sweets. Adding dry ginger to jaggery helps in avoiding acidity and gastric problems. When the dish has coconut milk to make it a heavy intake, chukku podi/dry ginger powder would aid in easy digestion too!
 

Paasi Paruppu Payasam

 

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • paasi paruppu/dehusked green gram – 3/4  cup
  • vellam/jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • water – 1/4 cup to dissolve jaggery
  • thengai pal/coconut milk – 1 and 1/2 cup
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1//2 tsp
  • thinly cubed coconut pieces – 3 tblsp or lesser as per preference
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tblsp

 

Method of Preparation

  1. In a pan, roast dehusked green gram till golden brown, no oil or butter needed
  2. In the same pan, fry coconut pieces in clarified butter till golden brown
  3. Cook the gram in pressure cooker with enough water till done; do not overcook
  4. While the green gram is getting cooked in the pressure cooker, dissolve jaggery in just enough water (1/4 cup). Strain it to avoid impurities
  5. Now on, the preparation is really easy and simple – Strain jaggery into the pressure cooker with cooked lentil
  6. Add dry ginger powder and cardamom powder and bring the mixture to a slightly thick consistency; if the cooked lentil is already thick and with very less water and the addition of jaggery has made it thicker, not to worry – add very little water if needed. This might help blending jaggery well with the lentil
  7. When jaggery is well blended with cooked lentil, add coconut milk. I used canned coconut milk
  8. If the payasam is too thick in consistency, add 1/2 cup water to dilute it.  If one likes the thicker version, can avoid adding more water
  9. After coconut milk is added, too much cooking and boiling might make coconut milk curdle due to the presence of jaggery
  10. Bring to a single boil and switch off the stove
  11. Transfer to a serving bowl and mix the fried coconut pieces with nei/clarified butter
  12. Serve hot.

 


Note:

  1. Do not roast the lentil too dark as the payasam would lose perfect colour.
  2. Coconut pieces should be really thin.
  3. Keep track of the amount of water in cooking the lentil and soaking jaggery… too much water would result in too much cooking time in reducing the lentil-jaggery mixture before adding coconut milk.
  4. The quantity of jaggery here is for a mildly sweetened payasam. Those who prefer more sweetness in their payasam can add a little more jaggery
  5. The most important thing is the coconut milk. Adequate care should be taken not to curdle the milk.
  6. REHEATING: Do not reheat the payasam directly on stove as it may curdle or the lentil would get burnt at the bottom. Heat slightly in microwave or Boil water in a vessel and place a steel bowl of payasam to heat up.

  

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Wait..Wait…

This is not as complicated as the points mentioned above! But actually, just take care of the coconut milk alone.

If one notices, I have emphasised a bit too much on water. It is just to say that one need not panic if lentil has less water or more water. Add more water wherever needed and incase of excess water, boil it to bring to required consistency. Just one thing to remember, all alterations of boiling should be before coconut milk is added.

If lentil is overcooked, not to worry. This payasam tastes good with overcooked lentil too! Personally to me, doesn’t make big difference. The taste of coconut milk with jaggery takes care of everything.

One last thing….
Forgot to reduce water before adding coconut milk…… not to worry again!  Instead of a bowl, serve in a tumbler/glass as we do at home in Tamilnadu!!