Tag Archives: sesame seeds

The Good Fat Black Ball

Whatever the title makes you comprehend, I am here to clarify. 

Nowadays we hear people say – ’40 is the new 20′. Times are changing and we seem to ‘age’ slower with advanced medical facilities, anti-aging feel-good slogans and social media messages.  In contrast, children less than 15 are falling prey to life style diseases, which used to be post-middle age illnesses.

The classification as middle age illness or old age disease doesn’t hold good anymore. Anyone gets it anytime. While 40 seems to look like the new 20…. is 20 the new 40?? Kind of role reversal here? The reasons for this contrast may be varied. But, as a food blogger and believer in providing healthy food to the family, my focus is on a few factors- primary being  ‘Choice of Foods and Ingredients’.

We all seem to be living in ‘DANGER ZONE’ amidst junk food outlets and super markets  with evil jaws inviting us into the harsh and tragic world of dangerous health hazards.  Making better choices is something written and preached about for a long time. It is not enough if we just understood better choices – but its high time  ‘making right choices’ an important part of our life style.

With ‘making right choices’ comes the most important ingredient of our culinary indulgences – ‘FAT’. Everyone is talking about Good Fat and Bad Fat – understanding FAT has become an essential element in averting several health related disasters.

While our diet needs to be balanced with all necessary components, why say NO to Fats? 

A few of the noticeable consequences of ‘Say No to Fats’ theory, according to me are-

  • Margarine replaced Butter
  • Refined oils that boast to protect your heart replaced Cold pressed Oils 
  • Low fat fruit yoghurts (the added sugar went unnoticed) replaced Plain Natural home made Yoghurt 
  • Canned/bottled Fresh juices most of which hide the added sugar replaced Fresh fruits
  • Diet drinks with added Aspartame and Aerated drinks replaced freshly squeezed juices
  • Brown bread in varied Avatars (whole meal, multi grain etc. ) with very little reduction of white flour replaced white bread which itself substituted indigenous grains decades ago

These are only a few to be named… the list is longer.

Unknowingly, we as a whole generation have fallen prey to many misconceptions and unclear theories. While I am neither a dietician nor a physician to guide my readers, I only know for sure that Not all Fats are Bad. It is quintessesntial to understand the differences between Good Fat and Bad Fat. 

I am not attempting to write a post of Good Fats and Bad Fats… internet is bloated up with information on this. Please read those carefully. Nor am I trying to justify indulging in sweets. This is a humble post to encourage using better ingredients for indulgence too.

Now, understanding Good Fats and Bad Fats would let us make Right Choices. Making Right Choices is the Core.  This by itself would bring in a huge Positive Life Style Change.

As sweets/desserts are major contributors to Fat, I chose to introduce this Urundai/Sweet Ball with better choice of ingredients.

When it comes to desserts, I have realised, traditional sweets of any culture with the choicest of unrefined ingredients, eaten in moderation cannot be hazardous.  If your physician has adviced you to stop any kinds of sugar, then this recipe is not for you, but the post is for everyone aiming at a healthy life style.

So, for the benefit of all sweet toothed members of the household, in consideration of the FAT intake of my family, I say NO to these –

  • white sugar
  • white flour
  • margarine

and replace with unrefined cane sugar, jaggery, mollases or palm sugar;  substitute white flour with milled wheat flour and use clarified butter, which is medicinal instead of margarine.

I cut down my Bad Fats  and  include Good Fats such as nuts and oily seeds. These are simple changes made to bring out different nutritious combinations. 

Atlast, I have arrived at the reason for naming the Sweet Ball that I made for Deepavali. The GOOD FAT BLACK BALL has ingredients with Poly unsaturated Fats – Sesame seeds and Flax Seeds – which are Good Fats. White sugar has been replaced with unrefined cane sugar.  Very little clarified butter has been used for binding them into urundai. Cardamom powder for flavour and dry ginger powder for digestion. 

Benefits of the ingredients

Aalli Vidhai/Flax Seeds

Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed#1

Ellu/Sesame Seeds

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84

Naattu Sarkkarai/ unrefined cane sugar/powdered jaggery

It activates the digestive enzymes in our body, thus helps in proper digestion of food.  It acts as a detox, as it helps cleanse the liver by flushing out nasty toxins from the body. Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, which help prevent free-radicals (responsible for early ageing). It helps boost resistance against infections, hence building stronger immunity.  
www.indiatoday.in/benefits-of-eating-jaggery


This is certainly a guilt free sweet. Please have in moderation.

THE GOOD FAT BLACK BALL

Ingredients (makes 22-25 urundais)

  • ellu/sesame seeds – 100 gms – 1 cup
  • aalli vidhai/flax seeds – 100 gms – 1cup
  • naattu sarkkarai/unrefined cane sugar – 50 gms
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • chukka podi/dry ginger powder –  1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast sesame seeds and flax seeds separately till crispy

2. Cool both and blend well  with cane sugar, cardamom and dry ginger powder into a fine powder

3. Transfer into a bowl

4. The oil in both the seeds would make the powder greasy. That is why, very little clarified butter is used to bind

5. Heat clarified butter and pour inside the blended powder

6. Make medium sized balls 

7. Store in air tight container. It lasted well for over two weeks.

8. I preferred using black sesame seeds, but white sesame was available at home. Use as per preference. 

 

Ellu Kozhukkattai/ Rice Flour Dumplings with Sesame Seed and Jaggery

 

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 070dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 073
Pillayar Chathurthi, Ganesh Chathurthi or Vinayaka Chathurthi is being celebrated today. The Gods we worship have different names in different parts of India. Pillayar in Tamilnadu is also called as Ganesha or Vinayaka, followed by a list of many other names. Different names don’t interfere in the festivities on the street and inside homes.  What the elephant-headed God, being Pillayar or Ganesha likes is fixed – Kozhukkattai in Tamil and Modakam in Sanskrit. Different Forms of Modak are the most important preparation of Pillayar Chaturthi.

Added to the well popularised Modakam in the God’s hands, is a long chain of local ingredients – fruits, vegetables and grains that come up during the season.

In Tamilnadu, what Lord Ganesha is simplified in the poetic verses – ‘Appamodu Aval Pori’ – which gives the best three things that he likes to eat –

a. Appam/Deep fried Rice flour-jaggery Dumplings (the altered version being made with wheat flour and sometimes banana too)
b. Aval – Flattened Rice
c. Pori – Puffed Rice.

This also shows the socioeconomic connection behind these religion based celebrations. The major crop of the area – Rice and its different versions, has been adapted as ‘Festive Food Essentials’. I often think, if Ganesh Chathurthi had been celebrated elaborately in the northern parts of India – Wheat based specialities would have been his favorite, wheat being the major crop of that part of the country.

Now, the core ingredient of Kozhukkattai or Modakam is the rice flour. What enters into the beautiful rice cover can be optional. Coconut – Jaggery is the ultimate killer combination of all kozhukkattais according to me. The next classic filling is the Sesame Seed – Jaggery combination. The nutty flavor that the sesame seeds give and the traditional sweetness from jaggery can also be a low-fat version for those who feel coconut or fried coconut is rich in cholesterol (not me). Apart from this stuffed modakams, there are also varieties of non-stuffed stuff – pidi kozhukkattai or plain sweetened or salted steamed dumplings pressed with the impression of fingers – that aid additionally as quick and easy evening snacks.

Coconut-Jaggery Kozhukkattai and Pidi Kozhukkattai – Sweet and Salt and Spicy versions, have already been posted. It’s time for Ellu Kozhukkattai or Sesame Seed-Jaggery filled Dumplings this time.
Ellu Kozhukkattai/Rice Flour Dumplings with Sesame Seed and Jaggery
dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 032
a. Ingredients specified below makes 20-25 dumplings

b. The V -Part demonstration is for precise comprehension alone – otherwise these dumplings are quite easy to make

 

Part I – Making Rice Flour at home
The core ingredient Rice Flour can be store-bought which comes out well, but the snow-white colour of home-made rice flour is something beyond comparison. For those who prefer home-made rice flour, please refer https://dosaikal.com/2016/08/29/uppu-seedaisalted-rice-ball-crispies/
Part II – Making the Rice Dough which is the outer covering

Ingredients

 

  • arisi maavu/rice flour – 1 1/2 cup – app. 200 gms
  • thanneer/water – boiling hot to make a stiff yet soft dough
  • uppu/salt – 1/2 tsp
  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 2 tsp

 

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 016

 

  1. Boil water in a vessel;
  2. In a bowl, mix rice flour and salt;
  3. Pour boiling hot water on it and mix well with a ladle immediately before lumps form;
  4. Add the gingelly oil for smooth consistency.

 

Part III – Making the filling

 

  • ellu/sesame seeds (white or black) – 100 gms – app. 1 cup
  • vellam/jaggery – 200 gms – app. 1 cup
  • thengai thuruval/grated coconut – 1/2 cup – app. 50 gms
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp

 

roasted sesame with jaggery water…

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 005

 

mixed with coconut, dry ginger powder and cardamom powder..

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 013

 

and shaped to be filled..

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 021

 

  1. Dry roast clean/non-muddy sesame seeds till golden.
  2. Separately dry roast coconut – for 10 mins – with the coco-nutty stickiness intact.
  3. Dissolve jaggery in just enough hot water and filter the mud that is present.
  4. In a pan, heat together sesame seeds, grated coconut, jaggery water, dry ginger powder and cardamom powder.
  5. Let the mixture thicken, ready enough to make small stiff balls.
  6. Make equal sized balls for filling.

Part IV – Making Kozhukkattai/Dumplings

(for step-by-step procedure for keeping the filling inside and closing kozhukkattai please refer – https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/14/modhakam-pillayar-chaturthi-special/

 

  1. Make small equal sized balls for the outer covering.
  2. Keep a bowl with 3 tsp gingelly oil for greasing palm – this helps the rice dough not sticking to the palm.
  3. Grease palm with gingelly oil.
  4. Take one rice ball and press it flat in the palm and fill it with one sesame jaggery ball.
  5. Cover it well and make kozhukkattai/dumpling.
  6. Make all dumplings to be steamed.

 

ready to be steamed

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 030

 

Part V – Steaming Modhakams

 

img_1037

 

  1. Take an Idli Kopparai/Idli Cooker or any Steamer.
  2. Boil water in the base of the steamer.
  3. Oil the moulds and place the kozhukkattai/dumplings.
  4. Place the mould in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
  5. Kozhukkattais are ready to be served.

 

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 043

 

Ulundham Paruppu Saadham with Ellu Thuvayal / Black Gram Rice with Black Sesame Chutney

Super Healthy Rice Package

 

IMG_1949

 

Revival of Bone Strength – Nutrilicious Ulundham Paruppu Saadham/ Black Gram Rice with Ellu Thuvayal/Sesame Chutney

 
This is a speciality Variety/Mixed Rice or Kalavai Saadham as we call it in Tamil. Rice, black gram, garlic and salt are the only ingredients that go in the making of this super-healthy rice package. Black Gram Rice is had with Black Sesame Seed Chutney and Avial (vegetable stew) for the vegetable curry in the platter and  Appalam (disc shaped crispy fries) as a crunchy accompaniment – giving it a balance of many combined flavours. (see above picture)

 

An insight into the core ingredients of the rice and chutney..
  
The Goodness of Ulundhu/Black gram

  

split whole black gram used for this variety rice

IMG_1899

  
Ulundham Paruppu or Black Gram is used in various Indian Foods. From exotic restaurant menu cards to humble homely meals, this highly nutritious lentil can be found frequently in the Indian food arena. Dal Makhani, one of the north Indian speciality creamy lentil preparation is an all time favorite throughout the world. The Paruppu/Dhal/Lentil is also called Maa ki Dhal in Hindi or Mother’s Lentil, might be due to its nutrient value.

As far as South Indian Cuisine is concerned, Black Gram husked or dehusked is almost a staple diet and also a trusted stable diet. Stable Diet? Yes, ‘Ulundhu’/Black Gram aids in the growth and stability of infants, toddlers, teenagers, adults and the aged alike. It aids in Bone growth of all members of family.

Black Gram takes its place in the quintessential breakfast and dinner Idly and Dosai, the unavoidable snack Ulundhu Vadai, health food Ulundhu Kanji/Porridge, traditional food Ulundhu Kali/thick pudding, and crunchy chips Murukkus/crispies. In many foods, black gram is the core ingredient and a few others added for technical consistency. The appalam or pappad had has a starter or with rice meal is also made with Ulundhu.

In some preparations like Ulundhu Vadai, Black Gram is the sole main ingredient.

  

ulundhu vadai

IMG_9976
  

There cannot be a south Indian household without Ulandham paruppu as Idlies and Dosais cannot be made without this ingredient. I can be sure of this atleast with today’s parental generation. Cannot be sure about the next generation who might opt for breads, cereals and pastas for staple food but be rest assured certainly not stable.

Ulundham Paruppu/Black Gram is used in different forms. The whole lentil with black skin in certain foods, skin removed but whole in shape in certain foods and skin removed but split in halves, split in halves with skin…. Might be quite confusing for new comers to the Ulundhu Industry, but tradition says that that type that that dish! So, enjoy and don’t bother. De-skinning, splitting and all other technical necessities are taken care of and what one needs to do is just do some intelligent grocery shopping.

  

black gram – whole 

IMG_0701
  

These are a few Ulundhu Preparations from Tamilnadu, with the kind of black gram used, mostly common with mild differentiations among the other three states of the southern part of India. There are many more varieties depending upon the varied districts of Tamilnadu. Other South Indian states might have many more to add to the list too.

  

kutty idli – mini idli

IMG_1426
  

De-Husked or De-Skinned whole lentil for Idlies and Dosais;
De-Husked Split for Seasoning;
De-Skinned, Roasted and Milled for Appalam and Murukku;
Black Whole Lentil (with skin) for Porridge, Pudding;
Whole Split Lentil for One Pot Rice – ulundham paruppu saadham

  
Sesame Seeds –  a Girl’s Support Mechanism….
  
How I was introduced to Ulundhu Saadham and Ellu Thuvayal?
  
This variety rice is prepared mostly on all weekends or leisurely family meals as it tastes best direct hot from the cooker. But another essential occasion when ulundham paruppu saadham comes into the platter is during the monthly menstrual time. The rice with sesame chutney is believed to be a Cleanser Combo.

    

Sesame seeds are best among the other home medicines for menstrual problems. Some quantity of dried sesame seeds can be pounded and stored. A fresh solution can be prepared daily by mixing half a spoon of this powder in a cup of water. This concoction can be used once in a day for the better results of the treatment. Regular use of this decoction can help in relieving completely from scanty menstruation. – See more at:http://www.findhomeremedy.com/natural-home-remedies-for-menstrual-problems. http://www.findhomeremedy.com/natural-home-remedies-for-menstrual-problems/#sthash.MCaQlI3O.dpuf

    

We are adviced to have it at the end of the cycle as Sesame is supposed to cleanse the uterus of all the leftovers. So, it is a routine monthly cleanser of a woman’s unique organ. Additionally, mothers prepare their daughters from the right time for a healthy motherhood in future. While Ulundhu/Black gram aids in strengthening hip bones, sesame seeds help in cleansing.

Whether the notes on sesame seeds are scientific proven or not doesn’t matter to me. I totally believe the medical effects that the key ingredients of this Combo Rice Platter can provide to the system as a whole.

    

During the Post-Menstrual phase it’s important to nourish blood and yin after the menstrual flow of the previous week. It’s important to include ample amounts of protein, fat, folic acid, and vitamin B12, which are essential for building blood and yin. Also important during the Post-menstrual phase is foods rich in chlorophyll (that’s all the green goodies!): kale, chard, bok choy, micro-algae, seaweeds (especially dulse, which is high in iron). Other foods that are nourishing during this time include nuts and seeds, especially flax and black sesame seeds.. http://vibrantwellnessjournal.com/2013/02/11/balance-the-reproductive-cycle-naturally-with-traditional-chinese-medicine/

    

Sesame Seeds are also a rich source of calcium. Milk Allergic People and those who follow a Vegan Diet or Diary Free Diet use sesame seeds as a substitute to milk.

    

A good source of Natural Calcium which is easily assimilated in the body is Sesame seeds. The Black variety has a higher therapeutic value and a lower Oil content. You may soak overnight and eat. Chew to a fine paste. Include Sesame Seeds with your daily meals. They are a rich source of Calcium, Proteins, Magnesium and Iron. http://www.space-age.com/herbs/hormonebalance.html

  

In recent studies, calcium has been shown to:

  • Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals
  • Help prevent the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help prevent migraine headaches in those who suffer from them
  • Reduce PMS symptoms during the luteal phase (the second half) of the menstrual cycle http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84

   

Now, it’s recipe time –
  
Ulundham Paruppu Saadham/Black Gram Rice with Ellu Thuvayal/Black Sesame Seed Chutney

  

Ulundham Paruppu Saadham

  

IMG_1933
  

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • puzhungal arisi/par boiled cooking rice – 200 gms
  • ulundham paruppu/split black gram(with skin) – 100 gms
  • poondu/garlic – 10 cloves
  • uppu/salt – as needed
  • thengai/coconut – ½ (grated) – optional

  
Method of Preparation

 

IMG_1925

  

  1. Wash and soak rice with garlic for ½ hour
  2. Wash the black gram well
  3. In a pressure cooker, cook rice, black gram, garlic and salt with enough water; cooked rice-black gram should be soft and not just right
  4. Mix the grated coconut and the rice is ready to be served hot.

  

IMG_1928
  
Ellu Thuvayal/Black Sesame Seed Chutney

  

IMG_1911

  

  • ellu/sesame (black) – 3 tsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 4 no.
  • puli/tamarind – 1/4 lemon sized
  • thengai/coconut (grated) – 4 tsp
  • salt – to taste

  
Meth0d of Preparation
  
IMG_1917

  

  1. Separately dry roast sesame seeds in a pan
  2. Remove the sesame seeds once roasted and in the same pan, roast red chillies with very little oil
  3. When the chillies are done, add grated coconut and roast till slightly golden in colour
  4. Wash the roasted sesame seeds (to remove sand particles generally found in sesame) and grind all ingredients with salt to a smooth paste/dip/ chutney
  5. Serve the thuvayal with ulundham paruppu saadham

  

Ulundham Paruppu Saadham is always served with Ellu thuvayal and preferably with Avial (mixed Vegetable stew) and Appalam/Roasted or Fried Pappad.
  
Notes:

  

IMG_1922
  

For Ulundham Paruppu Saadham

  1. This mixed rice is preferably prepared with puzhungal arisi/par-boiled rice if not available one can use other varieties too.
  2. Coconut is optional in the rice but tastes best with the humble coconut.
  3. The Black Gram used is whole-split as whole black gram tends to make the rice mushy.

  
For Ellu Thuvayal

  1. Always roast sesame seeds and then wash; Simple logic – The seeds cannot be roasted if washed before.
  2. Red Chillies can also be roasted dry without oil but roasting with little oil helps in fine grinding later.
  3. One can also fry tamarind with red chillies and coconut to make the tamarind softer.
  4. The quantity given is for very limited chutney; one can prepare according to family preferences.

  

For more on Sesame Seeds –
  

Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man. They are highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity.

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84