Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Vadapappu (వడపప్పు)

Ethereal Vadapappu

With only one ingredient, this has to be the easiest neivedyam one could prepare on a festival day. A Sri Rama Navami original classic, rehydrated yellow moong dal is a delight and goes by a special name Vadapappu.

The surprising good taste comes from the simplicity of the preparation. No cooking involved. No spices, no oil and not even salt or sugar. Just soak the moong dal in water overnight. Half cup would be enough for two people. Drain. Rinse once, and consume. The taste will be extra good when prepared with split moong dal. Follow the same principle. Soak overnight, rinse the dal in several changes of water to remove the green coverings. Like mini yellow roses peeking from a rose bush, the revealed moong dal in pale yellow color will take the breath away with simple beauty.

Vadapappu may look innocent and inconspicuous but it’s a protein powerhouse, easily digestible, and nourishing to human body.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Moong Dal (Split), Moong Dal (Washed), Traditions (Tuesday April 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Claypot Cooking: Poha Payasam with Almond Milk

అటుకుల పాయసము

Claypot Cooking: Poha Payasam with Almond Milk

I had been looking for a decent clay pot for cooking for a long time. Last weekend, I have come across one at a local grocery shop called Apna Bazar. The clay pot is from India, very well crafted and decorated with pretty floral design. The size is good and it also has a well-fitted lid. Price $12.

I brought the clay pot home, prepped it by soaking in water and then simmering the water for few times, half an hour each time. Simmering was done on stovetop following the clay-pot cooking principles. First warm the pot on low heat and then gradually increase the heat to medium level. I never tried high heat setting fearing that it might crack. Although it was on electric stovetop, this method has worked very well. Like the iron box on steam setting, the clay pot hissed every time, but absorbed this newbie trails kindly. I felt confident enough to try out the real deal and did the opening ceremony with payasam preparation yesterday. The sweetness that comes with clay pot cooking, combined with sweetness of the payasam, it was a good experience.

The following poha payasam with almond milk is very easy to make. And I think, it has a taste that delights most everyone. If you prefer, semiya or sabudana can be substituted for poha.

Toasted Poha, Golden Raisins and Chironji Nuts

(for two to four people, for one meal)

3 cups almond milk (badam paalu)
½ cup maple syrup (or sugar to taste)

1-tablespoon ghee
2- tablespoons golden raisins
1-tablespoon chironji (Saarapappu or charoli)
1-cup poha (atukulu, rice flakes)
1 teaspoon freshly crushed cardamom

1. Place almond milk in a wide pot on stovetop. Add maple syrup. Slowly, on medium-low heat, simmer for about 20 minutes, until three cups have reduced to about two and half cups.

2. While almond milk is simmering, in a small kadai or wok, take ghee. On medium heat, warm the ghee. Add golden raisins and saute, constantly stirring. Wait until they puff up like round balloons. It’s a beautiful sight and worth the wait. With a slotted spoon, remove the balloons to a plate.
Add chironji nuts to the kadai. Toast them to pale red. Take them out and add poha. Toast for couple of minutes just until they are warm to touch. Together, they will look like shown in the photo above.

3. Add the toasted poha, golden balloons and chironji nuts to simmering almond milk. Sprinkle the crushed cardamom. Mix. Turn off the heat immediately. Cover the pot and let the poha absorb the almond milk. Poha is like cereal flakes, softens quickly.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup. This poha paysam with almond milk is as nutritious as it is tasty and makes a comforting dessert for people who fear the hormonal effects of regular milk and soymilk.

Claypot Cooking: Poha (Atukula) Payasam with Almond Milk

Slow connection, server problems. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Almonds, Poha (Atukulu), Indian Sweets 101 (Thursday April 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Flavors of Life ~ Candy Clouds

Flavors of Life ~ Candy Clouds
Painting by Sree (Colored Pencils on Paper, 5″x6″)

The heavenly feel of cotton candy melting in the mouth on a happy, fun-filled holiday cannot be matched by any other gastronomic delight. I have dreamt of these. Yes, I dream of food very frequently.:) I must add that these not only make my taste buds feel wonderful, I get a warm, tingly and happy feeling in my heart too. Oooooh, that’s enough mush. :) I wonder what it is about us girls and candy and pink!

~ Sree

Previously on Flavors of Life:

Banana Vendor by Sree Pumpkin Blossom by Sree Tirupathi Laddus by Sree

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Sugar, Sree (Saturday March 1, 2008 at 12:54 am- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Semiya Payasam

Photo Purchase Keyword: Semiya, Payasam
(Please don’t photosteal. Make a photo purchase to digital download and to print.)

From hearing the Purandaradasa’s spiritual keerthana “Rama nama payasakke“, we will know that the semiya payasam we prepare at home has at least 500+ years of history. The recipe ingredients and the method have remained unchanged all these years. That is the greatness and as well as the simplicity of this recipe. What has changed is our attitude and regard towards such honest and soulful food. But that is a topic for another time. For now, continuing the 500 plus year old tradition, here is how I prepared the semiya payasam at my home for Neivedyam.

Semiya, Sugar, Ghee, Milk, Cashews and Draksha ~ Ingredients for Payasam


4 cups whole milk
½ cup cane sugar, ( or to taste)
Fine semiya, one bunch, about the size that fits baby’s fist (10″ long)
2 tablespoon of ghee, melted
16 cashews and 16 golden raisins
4 cardamom pods, seeds powdered

Heat ghee in a wide pot. Add and toast golden raisins to pink balloons first, and then cashews to pale gold color. Remove them in to a plate.

In the same pot, add and toast the semiya for one to two minutes. (This is to remove the raw wheat smell of semiya and I usually do it, but this is optional.) Take the toasted semiya to a plate and keep aside.

In the same pot, add the milk and stir in sugar. Bring the milk to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and add the semiya. Also the cashews, golden raisins and cardamom powder. Simmer on slow heat for ten minutes. The fine semiya floats like water lily stems in a pond of sweetened milk. That is the consistency we want in semiya payasam.

Serve warm or cold, and enjoy this fine, honest dessert in the name of tradition.

A Sweet 500+ year old tradition ~ Semiya Payasam

Semiya, the fine wheat noodles are a speciality of India. They are prepared with durum wheat flour and water. Semiya is egg free, and that is the major difference between western egg-laden vermicelli and Indian semiya. (Semiya is available at Indian grocery shops).


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101, Traditions, Semiya (Tuesday January 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

A special Recipe for the Ultimate Bliss ~ Semiya Payasam

Bhukthi means nourishment. While nutritious food is needed to sustain us for everyday activities and the maintenance of this physical body, a different kind of Bhukthi is necessary to satisfy our cravings to realize the true happiness in ourselves. Constant indulgence in the name of God (Bhakthi) provides the nourishment to realize the bliss of boundless divinity in the ego-limited humans.

This relation between Bhakthi and Bhukthi thus goes deep and this concept is brought to the people in beautiful poetry and song by many saint musicians of India.

Saint Purandara Dasa, the father of Carnatic music has created song and music the way to achieve the happiness which we all seek. He has composed innumerable songs called keerthana’s, full of wisdom and devotion eternalized in the hearts of people. His message of morals is handed out in easily understandable form, woven together with stories from the epics, along with beautiful expressions and analogies. No wonder his songs have pleased, inspired and guided people since more than four hundred years.

Stamp Commemorating Sri Purandara Dasa
Stamp Commemorating Sri Purandara Dasa

God is the source for infinite happiness and he has infinite names, infinite forms and is ubiquitous. For Purandara Dasa, God is Purandara Vittala in whose form he saw all other manifestations or avatars of God like Rama, Krishna, Shiva and Hanuma.

The spiritual song “Rama nama payasakke” is quite popular and sung by many in their own versions. It was written in the beautiful south Indian language of Kannada which is said to be as enchanting as the fragrance of kasturi. Saint Purandara Dasa elicits the great bliss in chanting the name of the God Vittala in “Rama Nama Payasakke“.

The keerthana explains with an easy analogy on how to obtain the spiritual bliss or Ananda with a recipe to make payasam.

The keerthana goes like this:

Pallavi: rAma nAma pAyasakke krSNa nAma sakkare viTTala nAma tuppava kalasi bAya capparisiro
Charana1: ommAna gOdiya tandu vairAgya kallali bIsi summane sajjige tegadu kammana shAvige hosedu
Charana2: hrdayavembo maDikeyalli bhAvavembo esaraniTTu buddhiyinda pAka mADi harivANake baDisikoNDu
Charana3: Ananda Anandavembo tEgu bandidu kaNIrO Ananda mUruti namma purandara viTTalana neneyiro

Purandara Dasa sings, “O people, indulge in the lip-smacking-good payasam called Rama nama, which is made sweet with the sugar called Krishna nama and is richly folded with the ghee called Vittala nama”.

Then he describes the meticulous details needed to make this special payasam from the scratch.

First obtain wheat flour of honor. Grind it in the mill of detachment. Make the dough called simplicity and draw thin semiya noodles from it.

In the pot called your heart, boil the noodles with the milk of feelings. Cook it then with the wisdom of worship.

Add the sweetness of Krishna’s name as sugar, and the nourishing richness of Vittala’s name as the ghee and lo you have your lip-smacking-delicious payasam.

Purandara Dasa even describes the proper method to enjoy the delicious payasam. He beckons us to serve it on a large platter and enjoy it. When burps emanate out of fulfillment, he asks us to remember the name of God Vittala who is the embodiment of immeasurable happiness and ecstasy.

Through this keerthana, purandara dasa gave us a recipe to live an ideal life. To live our life with honor, come through the grinds of materialistic attachments with austerity, and obtain the raw material for happiness using the simple method of devotion. Allow the feelings of joy and love boil in our heart wisely, and celebrate every moment of our life bit by bit contemplating God’s grace with gratitude. That is the ultimate sweet bliss!

Makara Sankranthi Shubhakankshalu!

Semiya, Sugar, Ghee, Milk, Cashews and Draksha ~ Ingredients for Payasam

Rakthi Raga for Bhukthi ~ Semiya Payasam

Article Contributed by Madhuri Akkenepalli (Friend of Mahanandi)
Photos by Indira Singari
Previously on Rakthi Raga for Bhukthi:
Of Being and Becoming ~ Ragi Idlies by Janani Srinivasan

Saint Purandara Dasa on Wiki.
Audio Links to “Rama Nama Payasakke”:
by Sreemathi Sudha Raghunathan and Vijayalakshmi Subrahmaniam

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Sugar, Bhakthi~Bhukthi, Semiya, Madhuri Akkenepalli (Monday January 14, 2008 at 1:11 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sugar Figurines for Sankranthi

Chakkara Achchulu (Sugar Art of India)

Chakkara Achchulu of India
Mother and Baby Pheasants in Early Morning Mist
(Panchadaara Chilakalu)

Sugar Art of India
Baby Peacock Exploring the Countryside

Sugar Figurines of India
Baby Peacock and Baby Elephant at a Water Pool

The beautiful sugar figurines of India are prepared for Sankranthi and during Dasera-Deepavali festival season. They are Pooja ornaments, and also sweeten the saare (gifts) in functions like marriages and baby-shower etc. These delightful, melt in mouth treats are prepared by pouring the pure and concentrated sugar syrup into carved wooden molds. Little bit of care and patience, viola, the tiny decorative candy items are ready to enjoy.

The sugar figurines photographed here came all the way from India… survived the tiresome travel conditions halfway across the globe. Thank you dear Janani for sending these delectable delicate delights for us.

Sugar Figurines that Holds Sweet Memories ~ Photo Essay
Sugar-Khoya Figurines for Rukhwat



Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Sugar, Indian Sweets 101, Traditions (Friday January 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Banana Biscuits (Mangalore Buns)

These habit-forming sweet banana biscuits are easy to like. I surely can say that judging from the speed at which they get gobbled up every time I make them.

The recipe is based on traditional Mangalore buns. Honeyed fragrance and creamy sweetness of banana could be felt and tasted, but it would not over-power the taste buds. A good and fun snack.

Banana Biscuit Dough Rolled and Cut to Squares

(for 20 to 25 small biscuits)

1 cup maida (or all-purpose flour)
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted ghee
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
Peanut oil to deep-fry

Blend or mash banana and sugar to smooth consistency. Add to flour.
Stir in cardamom and ghee. Mix to prepare tight dough. Rest for an hour.
Divide the dough to lemon sized rounds and roll out each round to a thin circle.
Cut to squares like shown in the image and deep-fry to gold.

Regular chapati style pressing yields soft and chewy biscuits. For crispy and crunchy biscuits, press out the dough to thin.

If you’d like to take it up a notch, dip the fried biscuits in sugar syrup like we do in jilebi or roll them in sugar like beignets.

Banana Biscuits ~ for JFI:Bananas, Hosted by Mandira of Ahaar

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Bananas, Indian Sweets 101, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday October 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:


On Krishnatashtami, we celebrate the Bhagavan Krishna’s birthday. The scriptures portray bala (baby) Krishna as a happy and mischievous child with boundless energy and great fondness for all things milk. Milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cream, ghee, venna, and milk based sweets are lovingly offered to bala Krishna during this festival time. In our family, for pooja neivedyam we prepare venna (the cream layer from yogurt) and pala kova or kalakand.

Kalakand, an exquisite milk-based sweet preparation is an interesting process. Concentrated milk called khoya and fresh paneer called chhana are mixed and simmered together with sugar to a luxurious thick, firmness. The mixture is cooled, then cut to squares and garnished with pistachios. That is kalakand of my hometown Nandyala. As you can imagine, the kalakand has a rich taste.

Depending on the khoya-chhana ratio and sugar variety, kalakand is 2 types.
Milky-white kalakand: Three parts chhana and one part khoya together simmered slowly with white sugar for hours. Continuous stirring and low heat cooking result in a pure-white kalakand. It’s a labor intensive process and usually you will find this milky-white kalakand at Indian sweet shops.
Coral-pink kalakand. Chhana and Khoya are in 1:1 or 1:3 ratio and unprocessed, old-world style red sugar (turbinado) sweetens and colors the kalakand. This is the type we prepare at our home. Both varieties taste equally delicious, but I prefer the Coral-pink colored kalakand. Here is how I made it for Krishnashtami prasadam.

(takes about 2-3 hours. Makes about 18 to 20 2×2x1 square shaped Kalakand)

½ gallon whole milk and juice from one lime - to prepare chhana
½ gallon whole milk - to prepare Khoya
2 to 2½ cups - unprocessed cane sugar (turbinado)
1 cup, shelled and unsalted pistachios - coarsely crushed for garnish
Silver or gold foil to decorate the kalakand

2 big, sturdy, wide based pots
Lots of patience. Family or friends on the side definitely will help and make the process more enjoyable.

Chhana for Kalakand

1. Milk: Place the pots on stove-top and add half gallon milk to each pot to prepare chhana and khoya simultaneously.

Chhana: In one pot, once the milk starts to boil, reduce the heat. Add the limejuice (lemon juice) and stir. Within minutes, you will see small clouds like white curds floating on top. Wait till they get bigger (if they don’t, add some more limejuice and stir) and the whey below gets less milky. This process takes few minutes, so wait at least five minutes. Switch off the heat and let it stand for few more minutes. Then pour the whole thing immediately into a clean muslin or cheese-cloth in a colander, over a sink. Gather the curds by twisting the cloth into a firm lump. The fresh paneer called chhana is ready.

Milk simmering thickened milk after 1 hour on the stove
Simmering Milk ………….. Thickened milk (khoya) after 2 Simmering Hours

Khoya: In another pot, once the milk starts to boil and lower the heat and simmer, until the milk gets thick and is reduced to about one fourths of the original quantity. This is khoya. (While thickening, stir frequently. Care must be taken that milk does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn/black.)

2. Add Sugar: To the khoya, add the freshly prepared chhana (paneer) and sugar. On low heat, cook, continuously mixing, until the khoya-chhana mixture thickens to a waterless-firm lump. This process takes about 45 minutes to one hour.

3. Decorate: Pour the firm mixture onto a plate. Level it evenly and allow to cool completely. The mixture thickens and firms up even more on cooling. With a knife, cut the cooled kalakand to squares or diamonds. Place the gold or silver foil on kalakand and sprinkle pistachios. Offer the jewel like decorated kalakand neivedyam to Bhagavan Krishna and enjoy the prasadam pieces with family and friends.

Kalakand stays fresh up to a week when refrigerated.

Kalakand Cooling

Kalakand Cut to Squares

Kalakand Jeweled with Pistachios ~ for Indian Sweets 101

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Paneer, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Pistachios, Milk, Indian Sweets 101 (Wednesday September 5, 2007 at 3:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (64)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Naivedyam and Thambulam


Naivedyam for Lakshmi Devi (Peace and Prosperity) and
Thambulam for You, My Dear Family and Friends

Thambulam (Vayanam)
వరలక్ష్మి పూజ శుభాకాంక్షలు!
Have a Lovely Weekend Everyone!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets) (Friday August 24, 2007 at 3:20 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Fig (Anjeer) Cake

Good quality dried figs, sweet tasting apricot kernels, honey and rose water - the no-bake fig cake or fig burfi is the best dessert I have ever made so far. Effortless and exotic, it was astonishing to see what few excellent quality ingredients can do when put together. The recipe is inspired by a product I have seen at a local grocery shop. Being the fig fanatic that I am, I had to recreate at home. As luck would have it, the same shop was also carrying a special price on moist, plump dried figs called Kalamata figs. The dessert is based on figs, needless to say figs quality matters.

Moist and Plump, Dried Kalamata Fig and Apricot Kernels


25 good quality, dried figs
25 apricot kernels or almonds
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons - melted, hot ghee
2 tablespoons - rose water

Finely chop figs. Place them in a food processor, add honey and process until figs are smooth. Add the ghee and rose water (acts as lubricants) in-between for easy grinding. A powerful food processor is essential for smooth end product.

Remove and divide the fig paste into two equal portions. Mold each into a ball and flatten using hands or rolling pin into equal sized rounds of one inch thickness. Place apricot kernels in rows on one round. Place the second round on top of it. Press them together like sandwich. If the cake is too sticky, few hours of refrigeration helps to firm it up. Cut and serve.

I used the same mold that I have seen at the grocery shop to recreate the exact replica. The fig paste behaved very well.

Dense and rich, this fig treat is a sweet mesmerizer. We loved it!

Anjeer Burfi with Apricot Kernels

Figs (English) = Anjeer (Hindi)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dry Fruits, Nuts & Seeds, Mitai, Honey, Apricot Kernels, Figs (Anjeer) (Monday May 28, 2007 at 9:41 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sankranthi Prasadam ~ Bellam Paramannam (Jaggery Rice Pudding)

Sankranthi Prasadam ~ Bellam Paramannam (Jaggery Rice)
Sankranthi Prasadam ~ Bellam Paramannam (Sweet Jaggery Rice)

Bellam Paramannam or jaggery sweet rice pudding is a creamy rice dessert with a difference, being sweetened by old world sugar - “jaggery” and subtly flavored with cardamom. It is wonderful warm or cold and usually served as puja prasadam on festivals like Sankranthi (the harvest festival).


1 cup Sona Masuri rice
2 cups milk + 2 cups water
2 cups jaggery + 1 cup water
½ cup each - cashews and golden raisins
¼ cup - ghee
4 cardamom pods - seed powdered

This is how I prepare this traditional sweet:

Cook rice in milk and water to very tender, falling apart stage.

Melt jaggery in water and simmer to plain syrup stage.

Add cooked rice to jaggery syrup. Mix and cook on medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat ghee on medium heat. First fry cashews and then golden raisins to light gold color. Add the whole thing - ghee along with fried cashews and golden raisins to the rice-jaggery mixture.

Simmer on medium-low heat stirring in-between, until the whole thing thickens a bit and comes together to moist, firm mass.

Just before turning off the heat, stir in cardamom powder and mix thoroughly. Serve warm or cold.

Milk, Rice, Ghee, Jaggery, Golden Raisins and Cashews ~ Ingredients for Bellam Paramannam
Milk, Rice, Ghee, Jaggery, Golden Raisins and Cashews ~ Ingredients for Bellam Paramannam

Adding the cooked rice to Jaggery Syrup
Adding the cooked rice to Jaggery Syrup

Bellam Paramannam
Bellam Paramannam to celebrate Sankranthi

Kitchen notes:
When directly added, jaggery sometimes could separate milk avaialble here, into curds and whey. Preparing rice with milk first and then adding it to jaggery syrup is my way for fail proof bellam paramannam prasadam.
Paramannam with sugar ~ Recipe
Sweet Pongal (Tiyya Pongali) ~ Recipe
From Telugu to English: Bellam = jaggery, Paramannam = Sweet rice

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Sona Masuri Rice, Ghee, Indian Sweets 101 (Monday January 15, 2007 at 3:52 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Coconut (Kobbari, Nariyal, Kopra or Thenga)

Coconut - Young and Mature
Young coconut removed from its hard outer green shell and
Mature Coconut

Young Coconut and Coconut Water
The top of the young coconut is cut using a sharp knife for sweet coconut water and to remove tender coconut pieces. Pure and fulfilling food!

Fresh Coconut Water and Fresh, Young Coconut
Divine Coconut Water and Delicious Coconut Pieces
Sacred and Nourishing Treat ~ to Toast the New Year: 2007
My Entry to Jihva for January, hosted by Ashwini of Food for Thought.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in The Essentials, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Coconut (Fresh), Jihva For Ingredients (Monday January 1, 2007 at 1:21 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Besan-Coconut Burfi, the 7-cup magic

Besan Coconut Burfi ~ The 7-cup magic
Besan-Coconut Burfi ~ The 7-cup Magic for Indian Sweets 101

Experienced cooks would curl up into hardball position. The kitchen novice can crack up. Watching sugar melting for sweets preparation can do that to the cooks. Like Linda mentioned, the softball, the hardball, the numerous stages of sugar syrup have the effect of melting one’s brains.:) Toffees and Burfis turned to payasams, to hard bricks, to concrete mixture - I have seen them all. One recipe that has always come to my rescue during my beginner days of cooking was Besan-coconut burfi. Also known as 7-cup burfi.

7 cups refer to the ingredients’ quantity, which is easy to remember. There is no skill involved to prepare this sweet. Only thing one need is a steel heart. Coconut, sugar and ghee are liberally used and the sweet also liberates one from fear of burfi making. A true delight and Kitchen newbies favorite, I always remember this sweet fondly as 7-cup magic.

1 cup besan (gram flour, shanaga pindi)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1-2 cups ghee
2 cups sugar - powdered
Cardamom to taste
Wide, sturdy pot, big slotted sturdy spoon and a steel heart.
——- ——-
Place a wide, sturdy pot on stove. Bring to warm on medium-low heat.
Add besan and fry it constantly stirring to copper-toned gold jewelry color.
Add the fresh grated coconut to the besan and fry it for about 5 to 10 minutes again on medium-low heat, until it leaves the raw smell.
Slowly stir in the powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
Mix thoroughly and cook, constantly adding ghee. Until the whole thing comes together to a porous, firm mass. Takes about 20-30 minutes on medium-low heat.
Remove to a ghee-coated plate/pan. Press evenly and cut diamond shaped pieces.
Or shape the mixture to round laddus, once the mixture is cooled enough to touch.
Enjoy the delicious taste of 7-cup burfi.

More 7-cup sweets:
7-cup cake from Vidhya Rajesh
7-cup sweet from Pavani

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Gram Flour (Besan), Sugar, Ghee, Coconut (Fresh), Indian Sweets 101 (Friday December 8, 2006 at 10:28 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Jaggery~Coconut Puffs

Jaggery-Coconut Puffs

Many thanks to lovely Kay for hosting this month’s Jihva. Being a first time mother of two month old baby girl, she could have easily said “no” to very demanding and time consuming work of event hosting, which she booked 7 months ago. I asked her to see if she’d take a break, but she insisted to do it. I restect people who keep their word without missing a beat. I also commend Kay for her dedication towards Jihva and also all the participants for their enthusiastic support with interesting entries. To make this event hosting as smooth as possible for Kay, I would greatly appreciate if you could send your entries with the details she requested (blog name, entry URL and images etc), so that she could do the recap of the event in short time. Thank you.

Kay also requested for new jaggery recipes. So here is one - Jaggery-Coconut puffs. Homemade puff pastry and sweet jaggery coconut filling. I borrowed the recipe idea from Fethiye of Yogurt land. I have changed the recipe little bit. Instead of egg in dough, I have added mashed ripe banana as I was preparing the puffs for naivedyam (puja offering) and also used ghee. Preparation was easy, and the end result was smooth silky puffs with sweet filling. We liked them a lot and they are definitely going to join my cherished recipe list. Thanks Fethiye for a great recipe idea, thanks Kay for inspiring me to experiment.

Dough, melted ghee, jaggery-coconut filling and jaggery-chana dal purnam filling

for 12 to 14 sweet puffs

For filling:

I’ve prepared two different fillings.
1: jaggery-coconut lauju: Follow coconut burfi recipe. Replace sugar with jaggery and stop cooking before the sweet reaches burfi stage. I have also added sesame seeds to the lauju.
2: jaggery-chana dal purnam : like we do for Bhakshalu (bobbatlu, puran poli, holige). Recipe is here. Small quantity, just half cup each is enough and can be done in 30 minutes with some preplanning.

For dough:

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of warm milk
1 ripe banana - mashed smoothly
¼ cup of oil
1 teaspoon each - sugar, salt and cardamom powder
1 teaspoon of active dry yeast, stirred in 1 T of warm water

Take them all in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Prepare the dough like we do for chapatis, sprinkling warm water if necessary. Without giving any rest period, divide the dough into 8 rounds. Roll out small salad plate shaped rounds.

Apply general coating of ghee or melted butter to each one, on one side and layer them. (See the photo below).

Roll again these 8 rounds into one big dinner plate shaped circle of about 10 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. The size is really big, and I had to roll out on my kitchen countertop. Divide and cut this circle into 12 to 14 triangles of equal size.

Top the wide edge of each portion with 1 tablespoon of filling. Start rolling from the wide edge down to the tip. Curve in tips to close the gap on the sides. Now the rolling part is over, give the dough a break and allow to rest for about 15 minutes so that yeast can work its magic.

Arrange them nearly in rows on a greased baking sheet, leaving a little space between pieces. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

Rolling out the rounds and arranging one over another after applying ghee

Placing the jaggery-coconut filling and rolling the wedges to croissant shape

After a 15 minute rest period, the puffs are ready for baking

Hot Jaggery-Coconut Puffs for Birthday Girl Kay and my entry to JFI-Jaggery.

Recipe adapted from Yogurt Land
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Chana Dal, Jaggery, Coconut (Fresh) (Friday December 1, 2006 at 7:25 pm- permalink)
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Borugula (Murmura) laddu (Homemade Rice-Jaggery Crispy Sweet from India)

Golden Borugula Laddu under Evening Sunlight

How can one convey nostalgia? I am no wordsmith and sometimes words escape me, so I try it with my camera lens.

A nourishing and delightfully scented, not so sweet but fun kind of treat from my childhood days is murmura laddu. Also known as borugula mudda in Telugu and rice crispies in English.

During December and January months (Sankranthi time), when parents are busy with harvesting rice and sugarcane, grand parents prepare these crunchy, homely sweets for children with freshly popped murmura from rice battis and just minted 24 karat quality jaggery. Jaggery syrup is prepared and murmura are added - just these two ingredients and tiny touch of cardamom - that’s it. Magical, irresistible laddus would be ready to keep us children (mouths) busy.

I am happy that I am finally able to recreate this Sankranthi magic on Mahanandi. Though recipe looks simple, I know how difficult it is to prepare these kinds of sweets, so I measured and timed the process to make it fail proof and for decent results. Give it a try.

Preparing Jaggery Syrup for Murmura laddus


Murmura (borugulu, puffed rice) - one quart
Jaggery - one cup (powdered)
Water - one cup
Cardamom - 2 (seeds powdered)
To test jaggery syrup readiness - Keep a small plate with cold water ready by stove side.

In a big, sturdy, thick-bottomed vessel, add water and jaggery. Cook on medium-high heat. Jaggery melts and begins to concentrate. When it starts foaming like shown in the photo above, it reached the consistency we want for this recipe. To test, add few drops of jaggery syrup to the cold water. When pushed with fingers, if the syrup can be rolled to a round and keeps share without melting in spite of tilting the plate to different directions, it is done and the syrup is ready. This whole process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Constantly stirring, add murmura. Also sprinkle in cardamom powder. Within one or two minutes, murmura starts to soak up the syrup and comes together in to dry mass. Turn off the heat. Remove the pot from the stovetop to countertop.

Wait for about 5 minutes for murmura-jaggery mixture to cool down and then start making laddus. Take a spoonful of mixture into hands and press gently into round shape. Keep a bowl of cold water on the side. Dip your hands in-between laddu making to keep hands unsticky and cool. Or ladle off the whole mixture into a greased pan. Press firmly and evenly. Cut into squares and let it cool. Break along the lines to separate the pieces.

Makes about 12 medium sized laddus or squares.

Hot Murmura-Jaggery Mixture and Making of Laddus

Murmura (borugulu, puffed rice) laddus and squares
Fun Jaggery-Rice Crispy Treats From India for Kay’s JFI

Kitchen Notes:
1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups = 32 fluid ounces =.95 liter
Murmura and Jaggery are available at local Indian grocery shops.
Prepare this sweet with fresh, crunchy tasting murmura only, for best results.
One more recipe for murmura laddu - from Cooking Medley

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Murmura (Borugulu), Indian Sweets 101 (Thursday November 30, 2006 at 10:05 pm- permalink)
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