Tag Archives: vellam

My love for nutty jaggery Brittles – 2. Kadalai Mittai/Peanut Brittles 3. Dry Fruit Brittles


Smitten by the brittle bug, I continue my jaggery journey with peanuts and dry fruits. If anyone tells you – Kadalai Mittai and Ellu Mittai are one of his or her favourite snacks, waste no time in guessing their age. They must surely be in their late thirties or beyond…. Rarely early thirties…. More certainly, they grew up in a traditional environment with no space for the likes of popular fast food Giants.

Before our children look at us as bizarre creatures from an alien world – who say no to burgers or croissants for snacks, it’s high time we train them to accept the goodness of healthy traditional stuff. If you are already an alien, waste no time. Start immediately. Make them feel comfortable with their snack boxes with no junk. Now, before defining what is junk to our children, I think WE should understand JUNK.

One can’t actually make out what is junk and what is not. Correct me if am wrong…….

Junk can just be that which is craft fully made, temptingly displayed, yet made with UNHEALTHY ingredients.

A good snack or food can be equally craft fully made, temptingly displayed, yet not accepted as it is what your mother served you at home.

This acceptance of home made or even store bought traditional foods, would develop only if we change as a community of parents. Peer pressure seems to be the most common and simple reason for falling into certain traps… especially into the trap laid by fast food Giants . Peer pressure contributes to what children prefer packing to school for snacks and lunch.

With no more thoughts to elaborate, let us start making Kadalai Mittai (peanut brittles) and dry fruit brittle… Anytime healthier than snacks that constitute white flour, white sugar white butter. Brittles are called Chikkies in the northern part of India.

I didn’t want to do separate posts for both brittles… The method being the same and just alteration of nuts, this is a post with dual recipes.

Kadalai Mittai (Peanut Brittles)

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Ingredients

  • kadalai/peanuts – 2 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 1 1/2 cups
  • water – 1/2 cup
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder- 2 tsp

Dry fruit Mittai (Dry fruit brittles)

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Ingredients

  • combination of almonds, walnuts, cashewnuts, peanuts (one may also include pecan nuts, hazelnuts) – coarsely chopped – 2 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 1 1/2 cups
  • water – 1/2 cup
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder- 2 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast peanuts and keep aside / Coarsely chop mixed nuts, dry roast them and keep aside.
  2. The procedure is the same for any brittle…
  3. Grease a flat tray
  4. Heat up jaggery and water until jaggery dissolves
  5. Strain the liquid
  6. Boil the jaggery water along with cardamom and dry ginger powder until it reaches hard ball consistency – place a bowl with water and drop the syrup into it. If the syrup doesn’t melt and turns to a harder ball, that’s right for making brittles
  7. Switch off stove, mix the roasted peanuts and spread on greased tray.
  8. Make slices while hot with a greased sharp knife
  9. Break the pieces when cold.
  10. Store in air tight containers.

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Note:

  1. If one is unable to cut perfect bars, just break the brittles into random pieces… The crispy bars are what you want.
  2. If one hasn’t got the right consistency, if the brittles are chewy…no worries they are equally good while sticky
  3. If they turned out harder…. they taste like toffees, first suck the jaggery juice and then eat the peanuts.

Come along, Life is all about positivity.

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Payasam/Black Kavuni Rice Payasam (Southeast Asian Black Rice)

 

  

When I  posted  traditional rice varieties of tamilnadu  back in January 2017, I knew very little about these exclusive varieties. Used extensively in Chettinadu households and being part of their ceremonies, these rice varieties are less popular or even unknown in other parts of Tamilnadu. Apart from these, there are countless rice varieties that the ancient Tamils cultivated across centuries, those were high in nutrient value and unpolished. There is an urgent need for the revival of these species of rice, while we are moving forward as a junk food community in India as a whole.

Now, moving on to black rice –   I was introduced to black, red and brown rice almost four years ago in Cambodia.  After almost 8 years of life style change to brown rice of southern India, finding longer grains of unpolished rice in southeast Asia was a blissful event in my life.

Cambodian brown rice then became our staple lunch rice and Cambodian red rice was used in simple sweets (cooked rice with palm sugar and coconut). The local rice vendors sitting with gunny bags with their home made-hand milled red or brown rice was another nostalgic scene for me… What we used to see in the local markets of Tamilnadu.

Everything takes its own time in life, and now the time has come for this beautiful travel of the black, red and brown rice in my dosais and sweets. It is an educative travel with loads of nutrition. Come along!

  

  

The deep black or the purple hue of the black rice is a marker of its high antioxidant properties. Similar to blackberries and blueberries, that appear deeper in colour because of their high content of anti-oxidants. The outermost layer of the grain (the bran and the hull), contains immense amounts of the antioxidant-anthocyanin. In fact the amount of anthocyanin contained in black rice is higher than any other grain, including brown rice, red rice, red quinoa, or other colored whole grain varieties. http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/7-incredible-benefits-of-the-forbidden-rice-the-black-rice-1688420

  

When I took out the Karuppu Kavuni Arisi or the Black Kavuni Rice sent by friend ‘T’ (refer: dosaikal post), I found a container with glutinous black rice preserved from Cambodia, which looked almost the same. When I googled to learn more on the similarities of Karuppu kavuni and black rice of Southeast Asia, I knew they belonged to the same family.  The genetic ancestors of karuppu kavuni might be the chinese/southeast asian black rice, which migrated to the southern regions of India through the Maritime Trade Communities, thousands of years ago. That is why it is still among the traditional varieties used in Chettiar Community of Tamilnadu, who are among the elite overseas Tamil Traders even today. Or… Could the travel have been the other way round. Research needed. That’s for another post though.

In the below mentioned research article, the author mentions of Black, Red and White rice being mentioned Sangam Tamil Literature, which dates back to 3rd Century BCE to 3rd Century ACE. The root word of ‘Rice’ is also of Dravidian origin is a well known established fact.

  


  

The origin of black rice (karu nel; kalikalu nel; kar nel;  kayam pu nel;  irul samaththanna erungaru nel; maiirul nel; karunavarkaniyanna nel; mattrundu arikila manjur eyahtu nel; kallanvulamkandanna nel; )  white rice (thuvel arisi; thuppaianna velnagai nel; velli vilangu nel; manthur nagai mani nel; ullurai ueranna velmulai arisi;  paruthipoothanna pasum nel); Red rice (keliru kannan kudumsennel; kuruthivoonnna nel; ratha mani nel; rathinam pothithanna nel; murukkam poo nel; sivel nel)  have been abundantly mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature.
http://tamilpaddycivilization.blogspot.in/2012/01/evolution-of-rice-in-tamil-nadu-ancient.html

  

While I decided to try out dosai/dosa with Karuppu kavuni arisi , my sweet teeth conquered in tempting me to make a payasam, Tirunelveli style with jaggery and coconut milk. My newly acquired clay pot made the recipe more exclusively traditional.

I am just a learner here, but there are mothers and grannies of chettinadu households who have provided enough recipes on the different brown, red and black rice varieties in the world wide web. I thank them all for making my quest more interesting with their authentic recipes transferred from generations. My dishes are only an adaption of their original recipes, with twists here and there.

A  few blogs that I referred for knowing more about karuppu kavuni arisi are mentioned here-

http://www.annamsrecipes.com/2013/11/kavuni-arisi-chettinad.html

https://www.kannammacooks.com/kavuni-arisi-chettinad-kavuni-arisi/

http://swarnaprashana.org/the-miracle-rice-karuppu-kavuni-arisi-black-kavuni-rice/

Now, to the Payasam or the Sweet Pudding.
  

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Payasam/Black Kavuni Rice Pudding
  

Ingredients

  • karuppu kavuni arisi/black rice – 1 cup
  • water – to cook rice – 4 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 3/4 cup grated to make syrup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • thengaipal/coconut milk (thick milk) – 200 ml
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tsp
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashewnut – 6 no.s chopped to medium sized pieces

 

Method of Preparation

Getting ready

a. Wash well and soak black rice overnight to be cooked soft; I soaked the rice for about 4 hours for a nutty crunchy texture.


  

b. Dissolve jaggery in hot water to dissolve and strain for impurities. Boil the strained jaggery for while into a pourable consistency syrup. One can pour the strained jaggery directly to cooked rice and cook for a while till the  pudding gets a bit thick, befoe adding coconut milk.  I have the syrup ready in fridge that makes it easier to mix in sweets.

  

Making Payasam

1. Use the soaked water and add more if needed to make it 4 cups to cook rice in pressure cooker. After the first whistle, simmer the stove and cook for 4 more whistles or approximately 20 minutes.


  

2. In a clay pot (any cooking pan), pour the clarified butter and fry cashewnuts till golden brown.


  

3. Not wasting any time, pour the cooked rice inside the pan. Otherwise the nuts would get burnt.

  
4. Add the jaggery syrup, cardamom powder and dry ginger powder, and bring to boil.


  

5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to boil. Be cautious to keep the stove on medium flame.  Coconut milk with jaggery in high flame for more time might split the milk.


  

6. As soon as the payasam comes to a boil, switch off stove. Payasam is ready to relish.


  

Note:

  1. Alter quantity of jaggery and coconut milk as preference.
  2. One might use palm sugar too, but no white sugar here please.
  3. Do no think of replacing coconut milk with cow’s milk..No way.