Sitaphal (Custard Apple) Kheer
Dussera got over last week after a glorious Navaratri celebration all over the country. Navaratri in Tamil households involves lots of preparation from arranging and decorating the Golu to making prasadams (bhog) every single day – twice daily.
We make lots of Sundals (which is a dry salted salad-type preparation with different lentils) as prasadam. People also make different sweets to induce some variety to the prasadams. This time I tried Sitaphal (Custard Apple) Kheer as part of my prasadam. This is the season for custard apples and I got quite tempted to try out this recipe. It turned out to be pretty good and I am sure people who relish kheer would love this one.
1.5 lts whole milk
18 tsps sugar
pulp of 5 custard apples
Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Raisins for garnishing
Boil milk in a large pan/bowl. After the first boil, add sugar and stir it occasionally till the milk starts reducing. Extract the pulp from all the custard apples by removing the seeds-its quite a task..:). Grind the pulp to a smooth paste and keep it aside.
Once the milk reduces to half its quantity, it will turn light pink in colour. Turn off the gas, add the fruit pulp and stir well. Finally you can garnish it with almonds, pistachios, cashews and raisins, roasted in ghee. This kheer tastes great when served chilled.
Now that fresh custard apples are available in abundance during this season, this recipe is definitely worth a try!!
Brown Rice Modak / Kozhakattai
Tomorrow we celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha is considered the remover of obstacles and is typically prostrated to / worshipped first before any other task is taken upon (and that includes the pooja or worshipping of other deities as well.)
The archetype of Ganesha features a young plump lad, with an elephants head. He is unhurried in his gait, relaxed in his nature, and loves to eat all sorts of food. His favourite food (esp in the south of India) is a sweet steamed rice dumpling called the Kozhakattai in Tamil (Modak in Marathi).
The recipe below is a healthier version of the already healthy dish. This recipe uses brown rice flour.
To make the brown rice flour:
- Soak brown rice (2 cups) in warm water for a few hours until it is well soaked
- Drain all the water out and let it dry outside (but not under direct sun) for a few hours till all the surface dampness is gone.
- Dry grind the rice in a blender to yield a fine powder.
To make the kozhakattai:
- 1 cup fine brown rice flour
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 cup grated jaggery
- A pinch of cardamom powder
- In a thick bottomed skillet, add the grated jaggery and coconut, stir on a low flame till they are incorporated into a nice gooey mixture. Turn off the flame, and add the pinch of cardamom powder to it and mix well. Set aside to cool
- In another skillet, pour 1 cup water, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil and let the water boil. When it begins to boil, turn it off, pour the brown rice flour into it as a heap, and close it with a lid.
- Few minutes later, open the lid, the flour must have nicely absorbed the warm water into it and must be pliable like dough.
- Grease your fingertips with some oil and make a small ball of dough, start flattening it from the tips till you have formed a nice wide cup with the dough.
- Fill a teaspoon of the coconut jaggery filling (called the poornam). You can see a video of how to do it in this link: Kozhakattai Dumpling
- Make the whole lot of it and place it in a steamer and steam the dumplings for 5 to 7 minutes. (You will get an amazing fragrance of steamed rice)
- Cool and serve.
As always, would love to hear from you. Do try it out and let me know how it came. Wish you and your loved ones a very happy Ganesha Chaturthi.