Today [30th January 2010] Mauritius celebrates the Thaipoosam Cavadee.  It is one of the many religious festivals that marks our cultural calendar. And like any other festival, food is one of the hallmarks of the celebration.

The traditional 7caris consumed after the religious ceremony is a pure delight. It consists of rice, dal, potato curry, sauteed pumpkin, curried french beans, jackfruit and banana eaten on a banana leaf. A spicy vegetable brew known as rasson serves as accompaniment. At the end of the meal dessert comes in the form of a generous dollop of sago pudding along with crispy papads.

This year I went on to try a popular south indian sweet – athirasam. Here it is known as adourson [not sure about the spelling]. It is roughly the shape and size of a doughnut and that is where the similarities end.

The process of making athirasam is long and tedious. I am not one to be sucessful when it comes to indian sweets. I wanted this one to turn out good since it required quite an investment of time and energy.

After searching for a decent recipe with fairly detailed instructions I stumbled on Divya’s Dilse..My Culinary Experiments.

ATHIRASAM

 

Ingredients:

3 cups raw rice

1 1/2 cup jaggery

1/2 cup water

1 tsp cardamon powder

Oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Soak raw rice for at least three hours in water. Allow it to dry but not completely. It should be partially wet.
  • Grind in a mixer-grinder and sieve to get a fine powder.
  • The powder should be slightly wet. Keep it aside.

 

  • Powder the jaggery. Heat water in a saucepan and add jaggery to it. Simmer until a syrup is formed.
  • Filter to remove the stones. Bring to a boil again until softball consistency is reached.

 

  • Drop a small amount of jaggery in cold water.
  • It should form a soft, flexible mass. When the jaggery syrup is ready, mix in cardamom powder. Mix syrup with powdered rice flour to form a smooth dough.

 

  • Keep the dough aside for atleast an hour.
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed vessel. Apply oil in a plastic sheet and also in your fingers. Take a small amount of dough.

 

  • Flatten into small discs. It should be thinner than a vada and thicker than a chapathi. A hole can be made in the center so that it cooks evenly. Deep fry until deep golden brown.

I used 1 cup caster sugar and 1/2 cup light muscovado instead of jaggery which was not to be found on the local market. A similar recipe featured in Week-end Scope Magazine, Nov 2007 edition, where you can also find recipes for gateau sesame, rasgoola and gateau patate.

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