Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets

Vella Cheedai / Sweet Cheedai – Deep Fried Sweet Balls

Salt Seedai / Cheedai as well sweet cheedai is made during Gokulashtami as a Naivedyam to Lord Krishna. Sweet cheedai is slightly tricky to get right. If your proportions are not right, they might break apart while frying. But using the proportion mentioned below you can make good sweet cheedai. Vellai cheedai are crispy but soft to bite into as opposed to salt cheedais that are dense and hard to bite into.

Ingredients:
Raw rice flour – 1 cup
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Grated jaggery – 3-4 tbsp (adjust to taste)
Butter – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 2 tsp
Oil (for frying) – 300-400 ml
Water as needed

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins (7 mins per batch)
Makes 200 gm Cheedai

Method:
Dry roast the raw rice flour until the raw smell of the rice goes away and you get a nice roasted aroma.
Remove from fire and sieve to ensure that the powder is fine and no lumps are present.
Dry roast the urad dal until the dal turns pink. Remove from fire and pulse in a mixer to a fine powder.
Sieve the urad dal flour twice to ensure that you take only the fine powder and you discard the coarse powders.
Grind the grated coconut to make a coarse paste. It is okay even if the coconut is not fully ground. You may add small quantities of water while grinding.
Add the grated jaggery powder to a pan and mix few spoons of water. (Be careful about the amount of water. Do not dilute it too much). Place on low fire to let the jaggery melt. Once melted, use a strainer to sieve any lumps/impurities.
Mix a tablespoon of sieved, finely powdered urad dal flour along with the sieved rice flour. Add the ground coconut, jaggery syrup, butter, and sesame seeds to this. Use your fingers to mix the flour and jaggery well.
Add small quantities of water if needed to make a dough. The dough should be soft but not loose.
Take a small portion of the dough, place this dough on your left hand and use the long three fingers on the right hand to roll the dough into marble-sized balls. Place them on a paper. It is recommended that you allow this to dry a bit before you deep fry them.
Heat oil in an iron kadai.
Once the oil is hot, gently and carefully drop a batch of the marble-sized dough balls into the oil. Ensure that the balls are fully immersed in oil. Retain the fire in medium in the beginning for about a minute. You will notice a lot of bubbles during this time. When the bubbles reduce, lower the fire and stir often until the balls change color to golden brown.
Use a strainer ladle to remove the cheedai from the oil. Place on an absorbent paper to absorb excess oil.
Store in an air tight container once it cools down.

Notes:
1. Sieve the flour at least twice to ensure that the rice flour and urad dal flour used is finely powdered. This will ensure there are no accidental oil splashes while frying the cheedai.
2. Although it is recommended that the rolled cheedai balls should dry off a bit before they are deep fried, you need not roll the entire dough into balls and then start the frying process. You may roll enough for 2-3 batches, start frying batch by batch and as you are frying, you may roll new batches of cheedai.
3. Use a thick bottomed iron kadai for frying to ensure uniform heating.
4. While deep frying, maintain the flame first in medium and then in low
stirring occasionally.
5. Due to the jaggery in the dough, vella cheedai tends to turn black in excess heat. Be careful about the amount of heat or you will end up burning the cheedai.
6. Vella cheedais are not as crispy as salt cheedai. The outer crust will be crisp but inside may be a little chewy.
7. Following the proportions and instructions right is key to getting this right.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Millet Recipes, South Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Roasted Multigrain Laddu

DSC01641.JPGMost traditional Kerala sweets are healthy and guilt-free – ari unda, ela ada, sweet dosa, and so on. They are not too rich or overwhelming yet utterly satisfying. Unni appam is the only exception that I can think of. Most other sweets including payasam (kheer) are rich in taste yet not fried or sinful.

Ari unda (Rice laddu) is an excellent traditional item that does not need any special expertise to make. If you are expecting guests at home and know that they will be staying over, this is an easy option to stock up. Since it has a week’s shelf life, it makes a wonderful gift item to take along with you while visiting a loved one. I tried my own version of ari unda by blending few other grains along with rice. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Parbolied Rice (Puzhukkal ari)- 1 cup
Whole Wheat/Broken Wheat – 1-1/2 or 2 cups
Green whole mung dal (cherupayar) – 1/4 cup
Ragi – 1/4 cup
Jaggery (grated) – 2-1/2 cup (as much as the quantity of grains. Adjust to taste)
Water – 1 cup
Grated Coconut – 1-1/2 cups
Cardamom – 4-5
Dry ginger powder/soonth/chukku – 1/2 tsp

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins – 1 hr
Makes: 20-25 laddus

Method:
In a thick iron wok, roast the rice, broken wheat, green mung, and ragi separately until the raw smell is gone. The rice should turn crisp and golden brown. The secret to soft laddus is in the roasting of the grains. It has to be very well roasted until the rice breaks and pops up. Bite the roasted rice to see if it cracks easily. The other ingredients should change color and lose the raw smell. Remember to roast each ingredient separately because the roasting time for each is different. Remove from fire and let it cool.

Multigrain ladduGrind the roasted ingredients along with cardamom and dry ginger to a smooth powder. Keep aside. Grind the grated coconut in the mixer to a coarse powder. Do not grind too much as the coconut will turn into a paste. Stop grinding when the coconut becomes coarse. Transfer and mix well with the powdered grains.

Make jaggery syrup by adding a cup of water to the jaggery and heating it. When the jaggery is diluted, strain it to remove impurities. Then, boil the strained jaggery syrup to a string consistency. Turn off the heat. Add small quantities of jaggery syrup to the mixture of powdered grains and coconut. Add enough to moisten the powder. Taste a little bit of this mixture to check for sweetness. Add more jaggery syrup or powdered mixture as required to adjust to desired sweetness level. Use your palm to shape into small firm round balls. You can roll the shaped laddu on some dry powdered mixture to firm it up a little bit and make it less sticky. Repeat until all the blended mixture is made into small balls. Make sure that the jaggery syrup that you add to the powder is warm enough. For this, you may have to reheat the syrup depending on the time you take to shape the laddus. But you cant keep the syrup on flame all the while that you are making the laddu because that will make it too thick and sticky.

Transfer into an airtight container. This will last for 7-10 days. You can refrigerate this and use it for longer.

Multigrain Laddu

These sweet laddus are extremely flavorful with the aroma of roasted grains, smell of grated coconut, cardamom, dry ginger, and with its coarse yet soft texture, you will not stop at just one.