Tag Archives: palm sugar

The Appam Remake: Sivapparisi Karuppatti Paniyaram/Banana Fritters with Red Rice and Palm Jaggery

  


  

The versatile deep fried Appam was posted a year ago with wheat flour and banana. The flexibility of this snack is its adaptability to a number of grains or milled powders of those grains- raw rice, rice powder, wheat flour, refined flour, millet powders and so on.. Here I have tried red rice powder in combination with wheat flour. The Appam batter here is not deep fried but gets a healthy makeover as Paniyaram – which is made with less oil in the Paniyara chatti.
  


  

Now, when does the true urge to make appam set in? Any guesses??

You buy bananas;
consume a few;
give away a few;
forget the following day about the bananas;
third day- the bananas have become extra ripe;
changed colour;
become softer inside;
the urge to make Appam arises!

Well ripe banana is synonymous to Appam in our household. Sometimes, we deliberately leave aside a banana or two to be transformed into Appam. I think the tempting factor is the addition of cane jaggery or palm sugar to bananas, that makes it a super special delicacy, yet it is a hard core simple recipe to handle.

Well ripe Banana here acts as a softener and the flour of your choice and sugar with water make it a beautiful batter.  In Tamilnadu cuisine, rice flour is added to deep fried snacks like vadai, bhajji, kara sevu and many more to enhance the crispiness. Karuppatti paniyaram  or sweet paniyaram in many places are made with raw rice and palm/cane jaggery alone.

I tried the appam as its healthier variant ‘paniyaram’ with the combination of red rice flour, wheat flour, ripe banana and palm sugar. This powdered Cambodian palm sugar was the last of the batch and I have no more of it, which I realized only after the batter was done and no photos clicked. Hence, the picture shows unrefined cane sugar instead of palm sugar.

The addition of equal quantity of red rice powder, made the paniyaram extra stronger to withhold its shape with the beautiful texture of crispiness than soft.
  

Sivapparisi Karuppatti Paniyaram/Banana Fritters with Red rice and Palm Sugar
  

Ingredients

  


 

the last batch of palm sugar powder


 

  • sivapparisi maavu/red rice flour – 3/4 cup
  • gothumai maavu/wheat flour – 3/4 cup
  • panai vellam/palm jaggery (powder)- 1 cup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • well ripe soft banana – big – 1 no.s ; if small – 2 no.s
  • salt – a pinch
  • water – as needed to make a thick batter
  • oil – to fry in paniyara chatti/mould

  
Method of Preparation

  


  

  1. In a blender, add both flours, palm sugar,banana, cardamom powder, dry ginger powder, salt, baking soda with water and blend into a thick batter, almost like a cake batter.
  2. The only ingredient left out is oil
  3. Pour the batter in a bowl and adjust water if needed
  4. Heat the Paniyaram Pan and pour 1/2 tsp oil in each mould and let the oil heat up
  5. Pour 1 dinner spoon of batter in each and let it turn golden brown. Because of the palm sugar, the golden brown would be darker brown
  6. Flip the half done paniyaram, for the other side to cook
  7. When done, remove and place it first in an open container. Immediately closing the container would soften the paniyaram.
  8. Sivapparisi Paniyaram is ready.

  

Note

  


  

  1. One can replace palm sugar with cane jaggery. Dissolve jaggery in water and strain for impurities and make a thin syrup.
  2. The syrup can be used instead of water with all the above mentioned ingredients to make paniyaram batter.
  3. The flexibility of this appam/paniyaram is that one can even omit the banana, or replace the red rice with wheat flour with banana.
  4. If one doesn’t have paniyara chatti, feel free to deep fry or even make wonderful pancakes with the same batter.

 

Cheeni Kizhangu/Sarkkarai Valli Kizhangu-Karuppatti/Sweet Potatoes in Palm Sugar Syrup

 

sweet potato soaked in palm jaggery syrup

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I have very less memories of Sarkkarai Valli Kizhangu or Cheeni Kizhangu – Sweet Potato as a vegetable. But I have evergreen memories of sweet potatoes floating in a tub of Palm syrup in Thoothukudi, my maternal grandmother’s house.

The big chatti or hot vessel filled with sweet aromatic Palm jaggery syrup and the  floating sweet potatoes inside was one of my favorites. Of course, still is. Mildly spiced with dry ginger for balance and added digestion, this delicacy can be had hot, warm or cold.

Cubed or Circled Sweet Potato pieces cooked in Palm Jaggery Syrup is a sweet coated with Divinity. No, it isn’t served for the Gods but the Divinity comes from its soaked flavor. The naturally mildly sweet Sweet Potato dipped in the flavorful Palm Jaggery Syrup offers a unique aroma and taste different from the other well-known sweets of Tamilnadu.

This might be termed as a healthy sweet as there is no frying involved.

 

Why should we stick to Traditional Foods?

 

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Do you believe in  –

 

  • the whole wheat breads of market that offer 50 % refined flour and still take the name ‘whole wheat’?
  • the baked chips with loads of sodium that still claim to be 0% cholesterol?
  • the high sugar/banned low sugar or honey filled granular bars that claim to be health snacks to start the day?
  • the mostly refined ready to eat whole grain cereals that are sent through high heat to be moisture free for longer shelf life?
  • and additionally, do you believe in the never-ending list of hazardous goodies that cheat us in the name of health food?

 

If you don’t believe in the above, then I’d suggest you to try out the traditional recipes of each culture.

Believe me!

These Sweet Potatoes –

  1. cooked in Palm Jaggery
  2. soaked well in the same syrup
  3. not deep-fried
  4. do not possess the minutest droplet of butter, ghee or oil
  5. no added milk or coconut milk
  6. no added cream or coconut cream

– can be claimed fat-free, gluten-free, free from milk and milk products, no allergic nuts involved in making, no soy products and so on.
Fortunately,  there is no claim of traditional sweets to be fat-free – no tagged promises. As there cannot be any food that could be completely fat-free/sugar-free/chemical free/ and to top the list – that is suitable for all. It is for the consumers to identify what suits their family, more importantly what suits their pocket and most importantly what suits their family’s health and well-being. But staying away from products that have higher shelf life and those beautifully arranged in the stores, could definitely be a healthier choice for the family, especially with growing children.

This simple logic has made me believe and rely completely on traditional foods. They don’t stay longer – reason one, we lick the bowls to our heart’s content and then, they have no added preservatives to stay long and tempt us longer. They can be high in calories, high in sugar, high in cholesterol as analyzed by dietitians. But, they are at a comfort kitchen zone where the intolerant levels can be altered.

Hence, while one cannot alter the sugar content of sweet potatoes, feel free to alter the amount of Palm jaggery used in the recipe.

 

Sweet Potatoes and the South East Asian Connection

 

 

I am amazed by the connection of south East Asian cuisine with the cuisine of Tamilnadu. On our visit to Indonesia, I could taste the same Cheeni kizhangu karuppatti in Indonesia, but with the twist of taste with coconut milk. Yummy Treat! The same Sweet Potato in different parts of the world can be used in different ways. But the abundance of Palm and Palm Sugar and Coconut and Coconut Milk has given way to a number of common recipes among the different countries of South-East Asia, Srilanka and Southern India that share sea space. This cuisine connect is also a remarkable proof of the successful maritime trade between Tamilnadu and other South East Asian Countries extending till China, the give and take of several recipes twisted to local tastes.

Here is the name of the delicacies with almost the same preparation. Please correct me for errors.

Indonesian – 

Biji Salak – Sweet Potato Dumplings cooked in Palm Sugar Syrup and flavoured with coconut milk and Pandan (screw pine) leaves and thickened with tapioca flour

Kolak Biji Salak – The above mentioned sweet with the addition of Bananas

Malaysian – 

Bubur Cha Cha – Sweet porridge made with 3 kinds of differently coloured sweet potatoes, yam, tapioca pearls (sago),  bananas and black eyed beans, thickened with tapioca flour and added flavor with coconut milk and Pandan leaves

Singaporean – 

BoBo Cha Cha – Bubur Cha Cha is also called BoBo Cha Cha and made with a mixture of different colored tapioca pearls. http://www.singaporelocalfavourites.com/2010/08/easy-bo-bo-cha-cha-recipe.html

 

Now, to the Tamil Recipe –

Cheeni Kizhangu Karuppatti/ Sweet Potatoes in Palm Jaggery Syrup

 

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Ingredients

  • cheeni kizhangu/sweet potatoes – 1/2 kg
  • karuppatti/palm jaggery – 1/4 kg
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • water – 250 ml and little more for potatoes to float

 

Method of Preparation
1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes

2. Cut them into circles preferably or cubes as per the size of potatoes

 

image

 

3. In a pan, place Palm jaggery and water and heat slightly till jaggery completely dissolves

4. Filter the liquid as Cane or Palm jaggery always consist impurities/mud

5. Take this liquid in a wide and hard bottomed pan and add dry ginger powder and cardamom powder

 

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6. Add the cut sweet potatoes and add little more water if potatoes don’t have enough syrup to float

 

7. Slow cook sweet potatoes in the Palm syrup till done

image

 

8. Pressure cooking would result in mashed potatoes; Slow cooking the pieces in the syrup not only enhances the flavor but also helps in perfectly soft and spoon-able pieces

9. By the time the potatoes are cooked, the syrup would have thickened a bit

10. Yet there would be enough syrup for the sweet potatoes to float in

11. Enjoy this delicious sweet hot or cold.

 

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Note:

  1. If you have access to different colored sweet potatoes, just indulge – do not worry about the color.
  2. If there is no Palm jaggery available, try using powdered Palm sugar available in Thai markets, or use any unrefined cane sugar or jaggery.  No white sugar here please.
  3. If the potatoes are huge in size – slice in halves, if the circles turn out to be too big
  4. If preferred, this sweet can also be converted into a Payasam/Kheer, with the addition of coconut milk (like the Indonesian Biji Sala)

Kezhvaragu Kambu Urundai/Ragi-Bajra Laddu/Nutty Millet Sweet Balls

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As children come back from school, the first thing to strike them is HUNGER. While some may have a whole meal, some prefer snacking. When we went to school decades ago (has it been so long??),   school was done by 4.15 and we came back between 4.30 and 5.00, ready to run for other activities.

Then it wasn’t the muffins, fluffy cakes or croissants or the tetra pack juices and ready-made flavored milk that filled our tummies. We never knew white flour/maida based empty calorie – so-called goodies… What an inspiring name for unworthy junk food..(sigh).

Orthodox middle class didn’t know beyond bread and jam, which was white, soft and sugary. It was never a staple then, not even a meal. Bread was initially a sick man’s food – a substitute to kanji which is porridge. The light Kanji, which is still a breakfast delicacy in many countries in south-east Asia is definitely a healthier option. But soft bread soaked in milk  offered a delightful change to the fever-stricken patient. Hence, the concept of brown bread, 100% atta bread and rye bread were all beyond comprehension. Good for us!

Coming to after-school snacking, different kinds of home-made urundais(sweet balls) and murukkus and other rice-lentil-millet based snacks were given as hunger busters. The beautifully shaped balls and the varied shaped fries offered distinct flavours with different ingredients each time. With the aesthetics and handwork incorporated into these true goodies, they can certainly be compared to an artisan’s handcrafted product.

Those gentle hands that caressed the young ones with warmth were strong enough to create these healthy snacks not only with pure love but with pure nei/ghee/clarified butter too!

 

kezhvaragu/finger millet


So, in honour of mothers and grandmothers who did their homework well to keep us healthy, fit and immune,  this post is a millet based urundai/sweet ball. Since I had finger millet  (ragi) and pearl millet (bajra) powders, I made the urundai with the both combined with roasted Bengal gram.

While winter is on the way, I also added nuts to it. Summer or Winter, Nuts definitely contribute to the higher nutrient value of the Urundais. Roasted bengal gram and roasted nuts are powdered here and they also help in better binding of the sweet balls with clarified butter (nei).

 

kambu/pearl millet


For nutritional facts of Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet please refer Kezhvaragu Dosai/Finger Millet Pancakes

For nutritional facts of Kambu/Pearl Millet please refer Kambu Dosai/Pearl Millet Pancakes
Kezhvaragu Kambu Nei Urundai/Nutty Finger Millet and Pearl Millet Sweet Balls

 

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Ingredients (makes appr. 25)

nuts and sugar-

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roasted gram and millet flours-

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  • kezhvaragu/finger millet/ragi powder – 1 cup
  • kambu/pearl millet/bajra powder – 1 cup
  • pottukadalai/roasted bengal gram/chutney dal – 1/2 cup powdered
  • assorted nuts – almonds, pistachios, walnuts and cashew nut – 1/2 cup – roasted and powdered
  • sarkkarai/sugar powder – 2 cups
  • elakkai/cardamom/elaichi –  cloves
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • nei/ghee – 1 cup melted appr.

Method of Preparation

 

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  1. Dry roast finger millet and pearl millet powders together in a pan
  2. Dry roast the assorted nuts and powder them in a blender
  3. Powder the Roasted Bengal Gram with elaichi
  4. Mix the roasted millet powders, powdered roasted bengal gram, powdered nuts, powdered sugar and dry ginger powder in a big bowl
  5. Heat the nei/clarified butter in a separate pan
  6. Pour a teaspoon of nei into the combined flour. If the ghee forms bubbles its hot enough to make balls
  7. When the clarified butter is hot enough pour into the flour and mix well with a spatula
  8. Start making medium-sized balls
  9. Once done, let them cool and store in an air-tight container.

Notes:

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  1. Millet powders are readily available in super markets across India.
  2. Powdered nuts are optional.
  3. Another option is to coarsely grind the nuts fora crunchy taste in the Urundais/sweet balls.
  4. Since I had powdered palm sugar, I used it. If one has unrefined cane sugar or very pure jaggery powder without mud, these can be used too.  Easily available white sugar can be powdered and used.