Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adhirasam / அதிரசம் - Easy Diwali recipes - Step by step - A detailed post about preparing adhirasam and soft ball consistancy.

    Making adhirasam will be the dream of every Indian women . If we have mastered adhirasam, then we can claim ourselves "Cooking Queens" (Lolz). My MIL is a queen literally in making adhirasam. When she makes, adhirasam, all the 50 adhirasams will be in same size and it has the same taste, as I tasted it for the first time. Its her "Kai pakkuvam", which does the magic.Whenever ,she asks me ,what I want from India, I will say without hesitating ,that I need a pack of "adhirasam".I am a die hard fan of this traditional sweet.
  I used to prepare adhirasam using the jaggery ,which I get it from the Indian stores. It will not be that perfect. So when I went to India ,my MIL bought me these "Paagu vellam" for preparing adhirasam. Also she gave many tips to get good ahirasam. I was waiting to make a post of adhirasam. Today I am really happy with the outcome. For a perfect two important things has to be noted. One is "paagu vellam/ jaggery  and home made rice flour. I have given the link for making rice flour at home. Paagu vellam has to be bought from stores. We can also get that jaggery here in US , but we have to make little research. So here is the dtailed post about "Adhirasam".

Yield :     9 medium sized adhirasams.

1. Home made rice flour             -      made from 1 cup of rice  
or Rice                                           -      1 Kg

2. Grated jaggery                           -      3/4 cup
or Jaggery                                      -       750 gm

3. Dry ginger powder                     -     1/4 tsp
4. Oil                                               -     For frying
5.Water                                           -     as needed

Make the rice flour at home and keep it ready . You can check the recipe for home made flour here. I took a rice cup of 160 ml for measuring my rice flour. For adhirasam, the rice flour should be wet. That is ,after preparing rice flour it should be used within few hours. So we cannot prepare the rice flour the day before as it may dry soon.

 Now take the "Paagu vellam" or jaggery and use a serated knife and grate it. This is the easiest method to grate jaggery. Paagu vellam is very essential in preparing syrup for adhirasam.
Take a heavy bottomed pan. I took my pressure pan, which has heavy bottom. Place the jaggery in the pan. Pour little water,so that the jiggery is just covered. Don't add more water, then the soft ball consistency will reached so late.

Heat the jaggery in medium flame ,until the jaggery is dissolved. Now turn off the stove.
Strain it using a steel filter. As you see, the impurities are removed after filtering. This step is very essential to get good quality adhirasam.
Now slowly cook the syrup in medium flame ,checking the consistency of the syrup , every few minutes. We check the consistency, by dropping a drop of jaggery syrup on a plate of water. At first, the syrup will get dientergrated as I have marked 1 .After few minutes, the syrup will be thick ,but will not settle down properly without dissolving as in number 2.Third time, the syrup will be settling down, but it cannot be gathered together as in number 3. At last, the syrup will settle at the bottom ,without moving and dissolving. And we would be able to gather the syrup as a ball, as number 4. This is the perfect soft ball consistency.

 The syrup will be like this after reaching soft ball consistency. Turn off immediately and transfer the pan to the counter. If not the hotness of the stove will make the syrup to pass through the soft ball consistency and will become hard. Add the dry ginger powder now and mix.

Now ,we can either pour the syrup on top of the flour or drop the flour on top of the syrup. We should be very careful while doing this. I started dropping flour one ladle at a time. Immediately the syrup absorbs flour. I added all the flour as I got from 1 cup of rice. But I reserved 1 tbsp. of rice flour . The dough should be bit loose. Because ,after some time, it will become hard. So having loose dough will be very apt.

Now transfer the dough to a container . We can also add some sesame oil on top of the dough, to keep it loose. Let the dough is at rest for 24 hours. Or atleast overnight.This way, the syrup absorbs the flour very well . Don't refrigerate the dough.Let it sit on the counter overnight.

The next day, divide the dough into equal sized balls. The balls should be bit big, as we are going to cook it thick adhirasam.

 Take a Ziploc or banana leaf. Grease your hands with ghee. Pat the adhirasam ,slowly into a medium thicknessed ones.  Don't pat it too thin, then the adhirasam will become crisp.
 Take a pan, add oil about 1 inch and bring it to hot. Then turn the stove to medium ,that is ,the adhirasam has to be cooked in medium flame throught. If not the adhirasam will not be cooked properly. To check the consistency, just drop a piece of the dough, it should come up after a second. If the dough comes out without disintergrating, then the dough consistency is right. If the dough starts disintergrating, then add  wheat flour , a tsp by tsp till it gets its shape. Some times ,the dough can become too hard, then we haveto  add 1 or 2 tsp of warm milk to bring the dough to right consistency.

Now slowly drop the adhirasam in the oil.  It will start cooking evenly in medium flame.
While cooking, it will puff up like poori. A perfect adhirasam dough will puff like poori.
 It will be golden brown throughout. Don't cook the adhirasam for so long, then it will become crisp.
Strain the adhirasam using a ladle. Just balance the adhirasam on the pan ,using the ladle.

Using a dosa ladle, press the adhirasam, so that all the oil will be extracted and poured into the pan itself.   

                      Strain the pressed adhirasam on a hand towel .Now it would have lost all the oil.

                            Cool the ahdirasam, completely and store in air tight container .

*  For preparing adhirasam, home made flour should be used. Store bought rice flour will not work.
* The soft ball consistency for adhirasam is very important.
* Adhirasam has longer shelf life.
* Using" paagu vellam" plays a vital role.
* Resting the dough for atleast a day is very important.
* Soaking the rice for 2 hours ,makes the rice flour smooth.
* Pouring oil over the dough, while resting helps it to retain moisture.
* Either pour the syrup on top of the flour or add flour on top of the syrup. But make sure, the dough is loose, if not the adhirasam will become hard.
* We can prepare the dough  2 to 3 days ahead and prepare the adhirasam. But ,it may absorb more oil, while frying.
* Maavu arisi is very much essential, but it works good with raw rice/ ponni rice too.
* If your dough is too tight, we can also make some more jaggery syrup of 1 string consistancy and add it to the dough. This will loosen the dough.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Home Made Rice Flour / அரிசி மாவு - Step by step

Today I was about to prepare adhirasam. So I was religiously preparing the rice flour from scratch. Suddenly the thought of making a post came into my mind. Because, once my sis was asking me to tell her how to make rice flour  at home . And hence the post. My Mil will tell always that we need to use maavu airis for adhirasam. Since we cannot find it here, prepared the rice flour using raw rice.Today prepared adhirasam dough .Will post the adhirasam recipe tomorrow. 

1. Raw rice / Ponni rice      -      1 cup
For adhirasam, maavu arisi will be best. But we cannot find that rice here, so used raw rice.

Wash and soak the raw rice for atleast 2 hours. The reason, is the more you soak the rice, the more finely it will be grinded in a blender without any crumbs.

Take a white cloth  and spread it on the shade. Strain the rice well and spread it on the cloth. Rice should not be dried completely. If it dries completely, then we will not be able to get a fine powder. It will have crumbs, if the rice dries for more time.

When we touch with our fingures, there should not be any moisture in our fingures, but still the rice should be wet. This is the right time to grind the rice.

Take the rice in the blender and grind it. If you have large quantity of rice, then grind it in batches. Make sure ,the mixie is not heated up during grinding. 

Since ,we have soaked the rice for atleast 2 hours, it is grinded well to fine powder. There will not be any need to sieve the flour. But if you want, you can sieve the flour.

Except for adhirasam, for all other snacks, rice flour has to be roasted slightly to remove the moisture. We can store the rice flour in Ziploc bags and refrigerate it for months. Whenever we need it, we can just use it after bringing it to room temperature. But for adhirasam, wet flour has to be used. Have prepared the dough for adhirasam today. Will post adhirasam recipe tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

30 Diwali recipes

Check for the sweets and savouri for this Diwali.Happy Diwali to all of you.
1.Doodh Peda            2. Gulab jamun      3. Simili              4. Chum chum
5.Seven cup cake       6. Wheat Sheera    7. Mysore pa       8. Kalakand
9.Moong dal laddoo  10. Somas                11. Rava Kesari 12. Rava Laddoo       
 13. Basundhi             14.   Ladooo            15.  Ricotta cheese Gulab Jamun


1.Oma Podi          2.Thattai                       3.Poli              4.Poha kheer
5.Murukku            6.Diamond Chips         7. Badhusha  8.Moong dal kheer
9.Kaara boondhi  10.Anjaneyar Vadai  11.Rice Kheer 12.Paal Kozhukattai

Oma podi / ஓமப் பொடி / Sev / Easy Diwali recipes - Step by step

Diwali is fast approaching, so here comes the most easiest savoury for Diwali. As you see, I will be posting so many sweet recipes. Yes I have a sweet tooth. But Ashwath is not a fan of sweets. He always enjoys savoury snack compared to sweet. Oma podi is one among them. H always buys him a packet of oma podi, whenver ,he visits Indian groceries. For , him I prepared this easy oma podi for Diwali. As I am preparing snacks ahead of Diwali, everything is disappearing fast. My Mil is an expert in preparing oma podi. And this is her fool proof recipe. Prepare ,it you will fell in love. 
1.Besan Flour                   -            1 cup
2.Rice flour                       -            1/4 cup
3.Omam / Ajwain seeds    -            1 tsp
4.Butter                             -             1 tbsp.
5.Hot oil                            -             1 tbsp.
6.Salt                                 -              1/4 tsp
7.Oil                                  -               For frying
8.Water                             -               As needed


Soak omam in 2 tbsp of water for half an hour. If you ran out of time, then just dry roast the omam and soak in hot water, this way, omam will be soaked very well. Don't add too much omam, as it may cause bitterness to the oma podi.
Strain the soaked omam and reserve the soaked water.Grind the omam in a motor and pestle. We can also grind it in a mixie. But since this is in small quantity, I grinded in a motor. No need to grind the ajwain seeds to fine paste, just coarse grind is  fine.

Now add the strained water with the grinded omam. Filter the omam water well. Keep it ready.
Now ,take a mixing bowl, add besan flour,rice flour and salt. Mix it well. Mean while heat oil in a pan. It should not be piping hot. When ,we drop a pinch of dough, it should come up immediately.

Now add butter. It should be at room temperature. Make the dough into crumble. Now slowly add the omam water and start kneading the dough. We can also add some more water to the dough. Knead it into a soft dough. Take a tbsp. of hot oil, add it to the dough. This will help us to get crispy oma podis.
Divide the dough into equal sized balls.Take a idiyappam press , grease it with oil. Now add one ball and put it inside. If we want, we can grease the dough with oil too.


Press the dough into thin strands in the hot oil. Don't heat the oil too much, then oma podi will become black soon. We don't need to flip the oma podi, as it is too thin, it will get cooked very quickly. May be within a minute.

When the sound seizes, take the oma podi out of oil. Take the oma podi, carefully from the oil, as it may brake easily.

Strain the oma podi on a hand towel. When it is cooled completely, store in air tight container.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Ricotta Cheese Gulab Jamun / Diwali special sweets - Step by step

Got bored of preparing gulab jamuns  using ready made mix ,then this is for you. I had some ricotta cheese left after preparing Kalakand. Check for the Microwave Kalakand recipe here.So used it to prepare gulab jamuns. Ricotta cheese gulab jamuns are so soft and spongy. Baking powder makes the jamuns to have several pores, which absorbs all the syrup. Original recipe, calls in for condensed milk. But I skipped it , and added milk and sugar. If you have condensed milk, then replace sugar and milk with 2 tbsp. of condensed milk. It was a crowd pleaser. Try this exotic sweet for this Diwali and impress your guests. Thank you Geetha for the recipe
Yield :  25 to 30 mini jamuns.
1. Ricotta Cheese                    -         2 cups
2. Maida / All purpose flour   -         2 tbsp.
3.Baking powder                    -          1/4 tsp
4.Sugar                                    -          1 tsp
5.Milk                                      -          2 tbsp. + 1 tsp
6.Oil / Ghee                             -           for frying
7.Ghee                                      -         2 tbsp for greasing
For the syrup:
1. Sugar                                    -         1 1/2 cups
2. Water                                    -         1 1/2 cups
3. Cardamom pwdr                   -         a pinch
Take a pan, add the ricotta cheese into it. Ricotta cheese differs from its consistency from one brand to the other. I used Kraft's ricotta cheese, which was semi liquid. But some brand will be thicker than this. So  the cooking time varies from one brand to the other.
When I mixed the cheese, it was like thick curd as you see in the picture. Use a wide pan , so that the cheese will get cooked fast and it will not splutter everywhere.
Mix the cheese every now and then. Ricotta cheese would have thickened like a ball now.After 30 minutes, I got this consistency. I cooked the cheese in medium flame. Since my pan ,was small, may be it took me longer for the cheese to loose its water content. You can use a wide pan to cook it fast.
After 45 minutes, the cheese has become like a mava. That is ,when we take in our hands, it should be crumbly. Don't make it too powdery ,then we will not be able to make balls out of it. Now turn off the flame and let it cool.
Now to the same pan, add flour, baking powder ,sugar and milk. The original recipe, asked for condensed milk. Since I didn't had that, used sugar and milk .If you have condensed milk, then skip sugar and milk and replace it with 2 tbsp. of condensed milk. First I added 2 tbsp. milk to the mixture.
Mixed the dough and kneaded softly into a big ball. I felt the dough was bit tight, so added 1 tsp of milk again. It was perfectly soft now. Let it rest for 10 minutes, covered by a wet tissue. Don't over do the dough, then it will be hard.

Mean while, lets prepare the sugar syrup. Take sugar and water in a bowl. Mix it well and cook on a low flame. The syrup will come to boil.

Watch for the consistency of the syrup, it should be sticky now, i.e half thread consistancy. Turn off the stove .Now add crushed cardamom to the syrup. The syrup should be warm ,when we add the fried gulab jamuns into the syrup. So if it is cold ,  just heat it ,till it becomes warm. Becarefull, not to thicken the syrup.


Heat a pan of oil about 2 inches .Grease your hands with some ghee. This will help us in getting perfect balls without any cracks.Start dividing the dough into small balls. If you have any cracks, just roll them again on a greased hand and close the cracks. If not the gulab jamuns will break during frying. I made small balls. If you want you can make it bit bigger.
Now the oil will be hot, bring it to medium now. Check the oil ,by dropping a ball into the oil. It should go down for a second and come up . This is the right consistency. If the balls raises immediately, then the oil is too hot. Wait till the oil comes to medium hot.
Slowly drop the balls in batches. Don't overcrowd the pan. Then the jamuns will break ,because of the drop in temperature of the oil. Just use a spoon and mix the oil, without touching the gulab jamuns. This will make the gulab jamuns cook evenly on all the sides. Once all are cooked to golden brown, remove it from the oil.
Since ,I have added sugar, the jamuns were little dark brown. If you want your jamuns to be golden brown, then skip the addition of sugar to the dough. Strain the gulab jamuns completely ,if not the sugar syrup will have traces of oil in it. If you want, strain the gulab jamuns on a paper towel.
Drop the gulab jamuns into the warm sugar syrup. The idea is ,the syrup has to be warm and when the hot jamuns are dropped into the syrup, so that it will become soft, after getting soaked into the syrup.
Let the gulab jamuns get soaked into the syrup for half an hour or over night. It will be fluffy and soft .Serve it warm or cold with a dallop of ice cream. These gulab jamuns tasted heavenly ,compared to the ready made mix gulab jamuns. We can also add some rose water to the syrup to give nice aroma. Check the gulab jamuns recipe using ready mix here.

Trouble shooting notes:

If the dough is hard and could not make balls :
 Just add milk tsp by tsp for the dough to be soft . We will be able to make balls out of it. Always cover the dough with a damp cloth or wet tissue.

Jamuns turn brown quickly :
Then the oil is too hot , which makes the jamuns to change in color quickly, which results in uncooked jamuns . So always, test the temperature of the oil, by dropping a pich of the dough, it should wait for a second and rise.

If the gulab jamuns break during frying:
There are only three reasons, for a gulab jamun to break during frying. First one, is it should have had cracks while rolling the jamuns. So always use ghee to grease your hands and roll the balls. Ghee acts as a glue and  binds the balls ,without any cracks. Second reason is, the oil should have been cold . Third reason ,is you would have over crowded the pan with so many jamuns during frying. Fry the jamuns in batches. This will prevent the oil from dropping its temperature.

Syrup crystalising:
The reason ,for this is ,the sugar syrup was cooked for more time, so it started to crystalise. Always turn off the heat ,after the syrup becomes sticky. If you want add few drops of lemon juice to prevent sugar from getting crystalised.

Jamuns are hard inside the syrup:
 Then the jamuns have not absorbed the syrup properly. May be the syrup was too cold, while dropping the  hot jamuns , Or the bowl is not wide enough to have room for all the jamuns to get soaked well in the syrup. Just try to heat the bowl of gulab jamuns in a wide bowl with the syrup in a microwave ,for 30 seconds or till it absorbs all the syrup.
 The third reason ,may be the syrup is not sufficient for the jamuns. So try to make some more syrup and pour the hot syrup  over the jamuns . Always take sugar according to the amount of cheese. For example, I have taken 2 cups of cheese and hence the 2 cups of sugar. These are the trouble shooting step, which I learnt in cooking gulab jamuns. If you still have question, just msg me or shoot it at

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