Monday, January 12, 2015

Akkaaravadisal (Rice and Split Yellow Moong Dal cooked in rice and jaggery)

koodArai vellum seer gOvindhA unthannai
 pAdipparai kondu yAm peru sanmAnam
nAdu pugazum parisibnAl nanrAga
chhodagamE thoLvaLaiye thodE sevippoovE
pAdagamE enranaiya palkalnum yAm aNivOm
Adai uduppOm adhan pinnE par sOru
moodanei peidhu muzangai vazi,vAra
koodiyirundhu kulirndhElOrempAvAi
 (Oh Govindha , who conquer those who are not favourable to you by your valour and virtues, the reward we have by singing your glory and observing the austerities is acclaimed by the whole country. Now that you have granted our request we will adorn ourselves with jewels , bangles, armbands, earrings ear drops and anklets. We will wear new clothes and eat  along with you, the rice boiled in milk with ghee that drips over our elbows, and enjoy.)

This is a pasuram (verse) from Tiruppavai (sacred set of songs) written by Goddess Aandal, the only woman Aazhvar of the 12 Aazhvars from Tamil Nadu. The songs are all on Lord Vishnu and they are so beautiful that they drip with love for the god. She is like Meera bhai of North who loved Lord Vishnu more than anyone and anything in this world. Her songs are popular down south and are daily sung by ladies and girls in the month of Margazhi. 

Every 27th day of Margazhi is called as 'Koodaralli Thirunaal'. On this day, we make this trational dessert called Akkaaravadisal. Akkaaram - Sweet, Vadisal - Rice. This is rice and moong dal slow cooked with milk (just milk) and jaggery added to it. The final product, as mentioned in the pasuram is just finger licking madness.

I wanted to make this for quite some time and got the opportunity today. But, first I wanted to do a research on this dessert. Why this name?? why is it so important for us?? why is that great that even the poet has mentioned it one of her songs??? The queries went endless. Immediately called up  my relatives and got to know the history.

What do you need:
  1. Rice - 1/2 cup (any variety except idly rice)
  2. Moong dal (split yellow) - 2 tbsp
  3. Jaggery - 1 3/4 cup (powdered, you can reduce the sweetness also)
  4. Milk - 4 - 5 cups
  5. Ghee - 4 tbsp
  6. Cashew & Raisins - about 10 each
  7. Cardamom powder - 2 tsp
  8. Edible Camphor - a pinch (optional)
  9. Saffron strands - 5 - 6
How to go about it:
  1. In a dry pan, roast the rice and moong dal until aromatic. Wash them and add the milk. Pressure cook this mixture upto 8 - 9 whistles. We are looking to achieve a very gooey consistency.
  2. Dissolve the jaggery in 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Filter the impurities and add this to the same pan and boil it. It should bubble up nicely until about 5 minutes and keep aside. We do not need to achieve any particular consistency.
  3. Heat ghee in a pan, roast the cashew and raisins until golden brown and keep it.
  4. Soak saffron strands in warm milk and keep ready.
  5. Once the rice moong is cooked, mix the jaggery with this mixture and heat it again. It will start to bubble and the entire mixture will come together. You would start smelling the aromatic intoxicating smell of jaggery. 
  6. Now mix in the cardamom, the saffron strands and give a stir.
  7. Finally, add the cashew nuts and raisins and take it off from heat.
  8. Serve hot... The consistency should not be too watery or too solid. It is a dripping consistency.

Njoy with your loved ones...