Monday, January 5, 2015

Thiruvathirai Kali

Today is Thiruvathirai and usually Amma makes this kali and kootu. But In Coimbatore they celebrate it as mangalya nombi and they invite neighbors for a feast after prayers. Amma is a specialist in making this kali. She makes in a heavy bottomed kadai/vengala uruli with tons of homemade ghee and it just slides through your tongue with lots of texture from the cooked grains of rice and moong dal, a mild sweetness from the jaggery with hidden notes of cardamom.
The memory alone makes me crave for this kali.. BUT it has tons of ghee and it involves slaving for hours to bring the lump-free soft consistency which is not me. So I resorted to this pressure cooking version of my neighbor aunt which tastes equally good plus it has less ghee when compared to my Ma’s version.
Raw rice-1 cup
Moong dal- 1/3 cup heaped/5 tbsp
Jaggery/Gur/Vellam-1 cup heaped
Coconut-1/2 cup shredded
Cardamom -4 pods, crushed to a fine powder (remove the skin)
Ghee-1/4 cup
Cashews-2 tbsp, toasted in ghee
Salt-a pinch

How It Happened:
1. Heat a pan, add the rice and dry roast it in medium flame and keep stirring until the rice grains puff up and slightly turn brown in color. Transfer it a plate and let it cool.
2. In the same pan, add the moong dal and dry roast it until it turns golden brown. Transfer it to a cool plate and cool it.
3. Add the rice and dal to a dry blender jar blitz/ it to a coarse powder similar to that of sooji/rava.
4. Now add the powder with a pinch of salt to the pressure cooker along with 2& ½ cups of water. Pressure cook in medium flame for 2 whistles simmer the flame and cook for 1 whistle. Switch off the flame. Let it cool.

5. Open the lid fluff the cooked rice and dal with a ladle then add powdered jaggery, cardamom powder and coconut. Now heat the mixture in simmer and mix until the jaggery is completely dissolved and all the ingredients are well mixed. Break any lumps formed while mixing
6. Add a tbsp of ghee and keep mixing. Slowly keep adding the ghee at regular intervals and keep mixing.
7. After 7-10 minutes of mixing the kali will start giving out the ghee and will leaves the sides of the pan and will become a non-sticky mass.
8. Switch off the flame; add the cashews and its ready for neivadhyam!

* While dry roasting, keep stirring else they will get easily burnt and become dark brown.
* While grinding the rice and dal use the soup/instant blitz mode else they will become fine powder.
* The kali should have upma consistency. You should be able to fluff them up but if you hold them tight, they should be able to hold the shape. The first picture shows the fluffed up kali in bowl. The plate picture shows how they can hold the shape. This is the right consistency.
* The jaggery can also be dissolved in water and filtered for impurities. In that case just sprinkle the water to dissolve it. But my jaggery was pure so I just added the powder. You can add more jaggery if you want. Bu the significance of this kali is its mild sweetness.
*Shredded coconut is added for texture and taste.

* When the kali starts leaving the sides immediately switch off the flame else they will start getting burnt.