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.

Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets, Tiffin

Pazham Nurukku/Jaggery Coated Plantain/Steamed Plantain

Plantains are an integral part of Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala. Malayalis cannot think of an Onam without plantains. Keralites leverage plantain in all its forms and age. Raw plantains are deep fried and salted or jaggery coated to make chips, or used to make mezhukkupuratti (dry vegetable dish), erisseri, kalan etc. The ripe ones are steamed, cooked in jaggery, used to make payasam (kheer/sweet pudding), or eaten as is. The flower and the shoot (after peeling layers) are used to make dry vegetable dish. The peeled layers are used as binding ropes or for stringing garlands. Plantain leaves are used as plate to serve food and to make ela ada. In places with waterways, the shoots of a plantain are tied together to make a platform and used as a country boat.

Semi-ripe nenthra pazham

A very ripe plantain can be eaten as is without cooking. But semi ripe plantains should preferably be steamed or baked. I will share 4 simple recipes of ripe plantain here. One using overripe plantain and the other three using medium ripe plantain. Choose ripe yet firm plantain for steamed plantain. Slightly overripe plantains are best suited to make the jaggery coated plantain. This goes well with items like puttu or upma. It is also a healthy snack by itself.

Sweet banana cooked in jaggeryMethod 1:
Ingredients
Ripe Plantain – 2
Jaggery – 2 pieces
Water – 1/2 cup
Ghee – 1 tsp (optional)
Elaichi/cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Peel the plantain and remove the ends and the peel. Cut into two-inch round pieces. In a pan, pour water and add the jaggery pieces and heat until the jaggery melts. Strain to remove dirt if any. Put the ripe plantain pieces into this melted jaggery, cover with a lid, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in between to ensure that the bananas do not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the water content reduces, the jaggery syrup thickens, and plantain pieces become tender, add ghee and elaichi powder. Turn off the fire and serve hot. You can even serve it cold. If you use firm plantain, they turn hard when cooked in jaggery. So make sure that you use ripe or overripe plantains. Note: I used organic jaggery and hence the dark color. Jaggery available in the market are heavily treated with chemicals which reduces the natural intense color.

Method 2:
Ripe Plantain – 1

Peel the plantain and remove the ends. Do not remove the peel. Cut into two inch round pieces. Steam them in an idli tray for 10 minutes until the plantain becomes tender. This is served with ela ada and fried papad for breakfast on the Thiruvonam day especially in the Malabar region. Plantains are fibrous and have high starch content. Steamed plantain is easily digestible especially for kids and the elderly and instantly boost energy levels.

Method 3:
Ripe Plantain – 1
Sugar – 1 tsp
Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tbsp

This is a sinfully yummy shallow fried treat. Peel the skin and cut the plantain into thin vertical slices. Smear ghee on the hot griddle and place the plantain slices on ghee.

Frying bananas

Cook for a minute in medium to low fire. Flip when you notice the bottom of the plantain is turning golden brown. Sprinkle sugar.

Flip over

Remove from fire when the other side is sufficiently fried/cooked.

caramelized sugar on banana

Cooked

Method 4:
Ripe Plantain – 1

Another method of cooking plantain is to bake it in charcoal. Traditionally when meals were cooked using firewood, the coal would be hot even a couple of hours after all the cooking is done. Put the ripe plantains (with their skin) in between the hot coal. Make sure the plantains are fully embedded in the coal pieces. Take out after 5 minutes and smoky chargrilled plantains are ready.

I saw yet another interesting variety here. Truly yummy variation. Check it out.