Tag Archives: urundai

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. 

 

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.

 

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.