Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is called Poha in Hindi, Avalakki in Kannada, Atukulu in Telugu and Aval in Tamil. In India, Poha/ Flattened rice is easily available and is usually associated with simplicity. Poha is considered a favorite of Lord Krishna and so this sweet dish is usually prepared on the occasion of Krishna Janamashathami.
Simple, divine and earthy are the trademarks of this Sweet Poha. Even though there are only four ingredients Poha, jaggery, coconut, cardamom, people prepare this in hundred different ways. Some heat the jaggery and coconut while others do not, some do not wet the poha, and some do not mix coconut jiggery together …you get the idea. I pretty much follow my ma-in-law’s recipe which is common in the Konkani households. This is also called as “Kaleyle Pohvu” in Konkani. Since we do not heat the jaggery and add the poha this is comparatively dry compared to the other south Indian versions.
If you are looking for some savory Indian recipes using Poha then, here are some:
- 2 cups Poha (thin flakes)
- 3/4 cup jaggery/gud/bella (powdered)
- 3/4 cup shredded fresh coconut ( + ¼ cup for topping)
- 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 10-15 cashews bits
- 10-15 raisins
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- Note: It is best to use fresh coconut for this as it has its own juice. The frozen ones are dry and do not have moisture.
- Make sure the jaggery is fully powdered and there are no lumps in it.
- Heat a small skillet and dry roast sesame seeds till it turns light brown and sputters. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same skillet heat ghee and add cashews, fry until light brown and then add the raisins until it plumps.
- Take a big steel bowl and mix the coconut and jaggery together by using hands. Keep aside for 30 minutes. After a while you will notice that the jaggery has melted and there is thick liquid.
- Take the poha in another bowl and sprinkle some water over it, mix it using hands, turning it around evenly. Sprinkle more as required. (Make sure there is no excess water).
- Note: I do not soak the poha, just wet it sufficiently and I let the liquid from jaggery seep into the soaked poha.
- Now add this wet poha, cardamom powder, 1 tsp melted ghee to the jaggery coconut mixture and mix well. Set aside stirring in between.
- Add the roasted sesame seeds, fried cashews, raisins and mix well.
- Finally add ¼ cup shredded coconut for garnish and some color.
Wish you all a Happy New Year.
Hope the Year brings you joy, health and of course good food. (But not the extra weight!)
Hope you are all having a great time with family and friends, celebrating in style. We have a simple family tradition that we follow every year on New Year’s Eve. We stock up on varieties of cakes earlier in the day from our favorite bakery. Then at the stroke of midnight we snack on them while watching some countdown TV program. Intentionally or not we like to keep it simple and have been following this for many years now.
I don’t know how you feel about the countdown leading to the New Year. To me it is an intense feeling, the transient period of letting go of the old and welcoming the new as if we are letting go of an old friend and making friends with totally new one. One can only hope that the new one turns out to be better than the new one.
Speaking of New Year, what is ringing in the New Year without some resolutions? I hope you are able to keep your resolutions. As usual I have started off with a long list that I have put together over the past few days. But having known myself for a long time I know that I won’t follow them for long :-). Even if I follow at least the first two then I will be pleased.
OK, getting back to the recipe as is the norm I would like to kick off the New Year with something sweet and so here is Coconut Burfi. We love these delicate coconut diamonds and so I make them often at home. Traditionally these are made using coconut, sugar and milk, but I use condensed milk as they get done faster. The same mixture can be rolled into balls (laddos) instead of the diamond shape/burfi like the ones that I have made here.
Coconut Burfee Recipe
- 2.5 cups shredded coconut (I used frozen variety, fresh should be fine)
- ½ tin condensed milk /milkmaid
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- A pinch saffron strands
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Warm the milk and then add the saffron strands, mix and keep aside.
- Heat a heavy bottom flat pan on low flame. Add the shredded coconut first and gently stir it for about a minute.
- This is to remove any kind of moisture from the coconut and also to bring out its nutty flavor. Be very careful as it gets burnt very fast. The coconut should have a very pale brown color; the aroma from coconut is heavenly.
- Next add the butter and let it melt, then add the condensed milk and stir. Also add the saffron milk to this mixture.
- Make sure that the coconut mixture does not get stuck to the bottom.
- Depending on the quantity it takes about 30-35 minutes to thicken up. Add the cardamom powder at this stage and mix well.
- Grease a round plate and then transfer this mixture to the plate and flatten it out using a flat bowl.
- The mixture also thickens up after it is cooled. After it is sufficiently cooled, cut into desired shapes.
Patholi (in Konkani) is a traditional dessert made during festivals or special occasions. Dumpling made of rice flour is stuffed with coconut jaggery mixture and steamed in turmeric eaves. The key component while making this are the special turmeric leaves. The flavor of the turmeric leaf is infused into the patholi while it is steaming, giving the dish a flavorful aroma.
As I understand it is referred to as Hoorulu kadabu or Arasina Yele kadabu in Kannada and Ilayada in Malayalam. This is not to be confused with the crumbled daal curry referred to as Patoli or Usli in South Indian homes.
Kadabu/patholi is considered a favorite of Lord Ganapathi and it is therefore prepared that day along with plethora of other delicious traditional items.
This special dish was prepared when we were in India (of course). We landed on the day of Gowri/ Ganesha Pooja celebrations and got to be part of the festivities. Imagine the joy in our hearts that day! We not only got to see our parents and family, we got to be part of a festival and of course most importantly we got to eat foods that are not available here or difficult to make here.
I know this is a long recipe and the process is time consuming as well. First the coconut mixture needs to be prepared, followed by rice flour dough. This needs to be applied to turmeric leaves and then steamed. But trust me the effort is worth every bit of it. The taste and the heavenly aroma when you bite into it is totally indescribable.
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