Green Gram (Moong) Ladoo is made out of green gram (whole), known as “paasi or pachai payarau” in Tamil and sugar etc and it is prepared for many festivals and functions. Green gram is rich in nutrients particularly protein and it contains all the major nutrients viz. protein, carbohydrate and fat. It is quite easy to make and it stays fresh for a fortnight at room temperature. Unlike many sweets which are deep fried in either oil or ghee, this dish does not need frying. And so making it is also simple.
No of pieces: 40
Cooking Time: 1 hour
1. Green gram whole (pasi payaru): 500 grams
2. Whole wheat: 100 grams
3. Raw rice: 50 grams
4. Sugar : 500 grams
5. Cardamom: 5 no
6. Ghee (clarified butter): 1.25 Cup ( 250ml)
7. Cashew: 20 no
Fry the green gram in a pan without oil over moderate flame carefully turning it till it changes color to light brown with good flavor. This frying will take 8 to 10 minutes. Remove it and cool it in a plate. Then fry the wheat in the same vessel till it changes its color to light brown. Remove from stove and cool it spreading it in the plate and fry the rice for 5 minutes. Either use a blender to powder the fried gram, wheat and rice together with the cardamom well or get it powdered in the flour mill. Use the blender to powder the sugar and add it to the gram, wheat etc flour and mix well. Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the cashew and remove the pan from the stove. Now add the flour, sugar mixture to the ghee and while it is hot itself, start making round balls of spherical shape pressing them a bit hard.
POOSANIKAI HALWA: Ash Gourd known in Tamil as “Poosanikai” is a vegetable commonly found and used in every part of Tamil Nadu and most parts of India. In Tamil Nadu it is preferred as a vegetable cooked in “more kuzhambu” or as a side dish. It is grated and prepared as halwa ( a sweet dish) which is usually served in weddings and other functions. Ash Gourd is not high in calories but it is nutritious with good mineral and vitamin content.
COOKING TIME: 1 ½ hours
1. Ash Gourd (grated finely in a grater) : 6 Cups
2. Refined Sugar: 2 ½ Cups ( 500 grams)
3. Milk : ½ Cup ( 100 ml)
4. Ghee (clarified butter) : 1 Cup ( 200 ml)
5. Cardamom : 3
6. Cashew : 15 no
7. Raisin : 15
8. Food Color : a pinch (optional)
Remove the skin and the centre pith with seeds and finely grate the ash gourd pieces. Keep it aside. Powder the cardamom and with a tablespoon of ghee fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Over moderate flame, keep a thick bottomed vessel and add the grated ash gourd pulp with water and milk and allow it to simmer till the water etc evaporates completely. Keep stirring this mixture continuously without getting it burnt and this will take 20 to 30 minutes to get the water absorbed well. Sugar should be added next with the cardamom powder and food color. When the sugar melts fully, add the ghee to the mixture. It will take another 15 to 20 minutes for the entire mixture to blend and it will stop sticking to the sides of the vessel, oozing out the ghee. Finally add the fried cashew and raisins and remove from stove.
Tips: Adding extra sugar and ghee is optional as per one’s taste.
This sweet can stay fresh for 4,5 days at room temperature. It takes some time to cook the grated ash gourd with water to evaporate and so instead it can be cooked in the pressure cooker allowing for one or two whistles.
Mysore Pak : Though the name suggests the place of origin of this sweet as Mysore, it is common in every part of Tamil Nadu. The very name brings to our mind the sweet dripping with ghee and laden with sugar. Earlier this Sweet was prepared at homes for all festivals and weddings. Originally it was prepared in such a way it was a bit hard and porous. These days’ people prefer the “melt in the mouth” version of this Sweet which is famous in Coimbatore and the recipe is given below. Though it is quite easy to make, the trick lies in getting the right consistency of the sugar syrup.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
No of pieces: 10
1. Bengal gram flour (besan or kadalai mavu) : ½ Cup ( 60 grams)
2. Refined Sugar : 1 Cup ( 200 grams )
3. Ghee (clarified butter) : ½ Cup ( 100 ml)
4. Oil ( Sun flower oil or any refined oil ) : ½ Cup ( 100 ml)
5. Soda bi-carb (cooking soda) : a pinch
6. Water : ¼ Cup
Grease a plate well with a teaspoon of ghee. Sieve the gram flour with a teaspoon of hot ghee fry the flour lightly in a skillet over low flame for a couple of minutes. Again sieve the flour and remove hard lumps. In a thick bottomed vessel add the sugar with water and keep it over medium flame and stir it well to get the one thread consistency.
Heat another skillet with ghee and oil over low flame to keep it hot in another burner or stove. When the sugar syrup comes to the one thread consistency (Please see laddu recipe for making this one thread consistency), start adding the flour slowly with a ladle in one hand and with the other hand stirring the sugar syrup- flour mixture continuously. After this, add the ghee to the mixture slowly like you did with the gram flour. When the ghee is completely added, keep stirring it for another 10 to 15 minutes carefully. The whole ghee is absorbed and then the mixture comes out frothy and leaves the sides of the vessel and immediately add the soda bicarb and pour the mixture fast in to the greased plate. Wait for a couple of minutes to cool and start cutting the pieces to shapes of your choice.
Tips: Shelf life for this sweet is longer and it can be kept fresh for a couple of weeks easily
Adhirasam or Athirasam is a typical, traditional Tamilnadu sweet item that is usually made during festivals. Jaggery is a main ingredient used here, instead of cane sugar. Adhirasam is popular mainly in the Southern districts of Tamilnadu and also in the Chettinad area.
Cooking Time: 2 hours (over 2 days).
No of pieces: 20
Raw rice: 500 grams (3 cups)
2. Powdered Jaggery (unrefined sugar): 400 grams ( 3 cups)
3. Cardamom: 8
4. Water (for making syrup): 3/4 cup
5. Ghee (Clarified butter): 75 grams
6. Oil (preferably sunflower): 750 ml
Soak raw rice in water for an hour. Drain water and using a blender, make into smooth fine flour. You will get nearly 6 cups of rice flour. Powder the cardamom and add to the flour. For 2 cups raw rice flour use one cup powdered jaggery to make syrup.
Take 3/4 cup water in a pan, add the jaggery and simmer over medium heat till it becomes syrup. Strain the syrup to remove large particles and let simmer again over low heat. You must get the syrup flavor and a “one thread” consistency. Pour a drop or two in a cup of water. If the syrup settles down into a ball at the bottom of the cup of water without disintegrating, you have reached the desired consistency. Remove from stove and add the wet rice flour with the ghee. Mix the flour and the syrup well and set aside for 1 – 3 days, covering the mouth of the container with a thin cloth.
Heat oil in a deep-fry pan over medium flame. Apply some oil on a strip of banana leaf. Make balls of the mixture from the previous step and press them into round adhirasams on the leaf and gently drop them into the hot oil. Use a “poondhi” (boondhi) ladle to remove the adhirasam when they are fried to a deep golden brown. To remove excess oil use a thick flat ladle to press down the athirasam and squeeze the oil out.
Tips: Adhirasams can be stored for up to a month in airtight containers. The rice flour should not become dry when it is added to the jaggery syrup. You will get about 20 adhirasams for half kg rice.
Paniyaram is a quick-to-make snack eaten during tea time and at special occasions. It is easy to make in a few minutes when unexpected guests or hungry kids need to be served.
Cooking Time: 15 minutes.
Servings : 2
Refined wheat flour (Maida) – 1 cup or 100grams
Egg – 1
Refined sugar – 50 grams
Banana (ripe) – 1
Soda bi-carb (cooking soda) – A pinch
Oil – In a pan for deep frying.
Sift the flour and cooking soda in a sieve. Beat the egg with sugar till sugar dissolves. Mix the flour and egg-sugar mixture with the mashed banana, adding enough water to make a thick batter. Heat the oil in a deep fryer. Take a spoonful of this batter and drop gently into the hot oil. 5,6 pieces can be fried together. Cook till they are fluffy and evenly cooked to a golden brown color. Drain the excess oil and serve.
Tip: Use medium heat for frying as the inside of the paniyarams should be cooked thoroughly.