Elai Adai

Elai Adai is a delicious sweet dish exclusive to Kerala that is made out of Jackfruit Jam, Coconut, Rice Flour and Jaggery. The preparation is unique in that it is a two – layer steamed dish that has the banana leaf as the base. A bit elaborate to make, it is worth every bit of the effort and once made gets devoured in no time.

The most important ingredient is the jackfruit jam. Since jack fruit is not available through out the year the jam can be made and preserved during the season time so that it can be used any time of the year. However many shops now sell ready made jam which can be bought and used. The taste of the dish is further enhanced by the aroma of the banana leaf on which is it placed and steamed.

In olden days [ and even now in some homes in Kerala] the preparation of the jam by itself is a huge ritual. A whole jack fruit is sometimes used in the making of the jam in hugely populated households. The jam is so tasty it can eaten plain too. In fact the jam is used in the preparation of another delicacy ‘ Chakka Payasam ‘ or Chakka Pradaman’ [ refer earlier posts]. Will comne up with a separate post on preparing the jam.

Ingredients:

Jack fruit jam – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 3/4 cup
Grated Coconut – 2 cups
Raw rice – 3/4 cup
Boiled Rice – 1 cup
Gingely Oil – 1 tlbsp
Salt – Pinch

Base :
Banana Leaves – One per piece of adai. Cut them into squares depending on the size of your steamer.

Method:

For the filling:
Melt jaggery with little water and strain.
In a heavy bottomed pan pour melted jaggery and add the jack fruit jam.
Stir well so that the jam mixes well to a paste like consistency without any lumps.
Added grated coconut and mix well till it again reaches a jam – like consistency and all the moisture is gone.

For the paste:
Soak rice up to 8 hours and grind to a smooth paste.
Add salt and gingely oil and mix well.
The paste should be very thick – of spreading consistency.

Raw banana leaves are bound to tear and have to be seasoned in order to be used here. Hold each piece of leave over the flame in the stove and flip each side over for a minute. Alternatively you can steam the leaves too for a few minutes.

When all the above three components are ready:

Take a banana leaf and spread a thin layer pf rice flour over it. Cover only 3/4 th of the leaf.
Now spread the jam over the rice flour mix again ensuring that you stop just before the edges [ of the rice flour paste in this case]
Fold the leaf into half quickly and fold the edges to seal them.
Place in a steamer and steam on medium flame for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the number of pieces placed in the steamer.
You will know it is done once the adai comes off the leaf.
The adai can be had straight from the leaf or gently removed and placed on a plate.

Tips:
The adai can be made in a round or square shape as per your comfort levels.
The banana leaf has to be carefully handled once the filling is done while transferring it to the steamer.
Last heard that even stores in the US stock frozen banana leaves that can be used for Elai Adai.

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No Cook 5 Minute Recipes – DESSERT RAINBOW

These recipes involve no cooking and can be brought about with basic ingredients at home. Now if you were to ask if Milkmaid or Yoghurt is a basic ingredient ….well if it‘s not there go for the next available stuff at home.

Supplement ….Experiment ….and Share it with us as well…

Happy no – sweat cooking!!!

Dessert Rainbow

In a bowl mix:
Mixed fruits – 1 cup [the more colorful they are the better]
Cherries + Tutty Fruity + Dry fruits – ½ cup
Chocolate cookies or Wafers – ½ cup [broken into small pieces]
Fresh Cream – 1 tlbsp [optional]

Mix all ingredients together. Add a cup of flavored yoghurt. Mix well. For those who like the taste of cinnamon a pinch can be thrown in. Ensure that the flavor of the yoghurt goes well with the fruits on hand.

By Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

SEMIYA PAYASAM

The term SEMOLINA or SEMIYA [ in Tamil Language] is derived from the Italian word ‘semola’ meaning ‘flour’. It is obtained by milling wheat – in the process when the bran and the germ are removed and the starch is broken into coarse pieces. Semiya made from Durum wheat is usually yellow in color where as it is white when derived from softer varieties of wheat. It is used to make a variety of dishes including puddings the world over and can also be used as coating for dishes to give a crispy flavor.

The beauty of this ingredient is its adaptability. Any kind of dish can be made from this – sweet or savory dish with any spice, in liquid, semi solid or solid form. In India Semolina is used to make a variety of dishes – both sweet & savory like Halwas, Payasams, Puddings, Upma, Falooda and Bath varieties.

Ingredients:
Semiya – ½ cup
Sugar – ½ cup
Thick Milk – 1 cup
Cashew & Kissmiss – As Required
Cardamom Powder – ¼ tsp
Ghee – 2 tlbsp
Water – as required

Method:
In a heavy bottomed pan put 1tlbs of ghee and fry Semiya till light brown. Add enough water to cook the Semiya. Take care not to over cook.
When soft add thick milk and let it boil on low flame till it reduces to half the quantity.
Add sugar and stir till it dissolves. Add Cardamom powder and remove from gas.
Heat rest of the ghee and fry cashew and kissmiss till golden brown.
Add to the Payasam. A strand of saffron soaked in warm milk for ½ an hour can also be added for flavor.

Can be served hot or cold.

Tips:
For a different flavor and when in season you can add mango pulp to this mix while adding sugar to get a nice mango Semiya payasam. But please ensure that the heat is switched off the moment the mango pulp is added to avoid curdling.

Nendran Pazha Pradaman (Banana Payasam)

Bananas in general are a good source of Potassium and dietary fiber. There are many varieties found in India, the most famous one in Kerala being the Nendran Pazham. Chips made from these unripened bananas are famous the world over and popularly known as ‘Nendran kai chips’. When ripe they are known as Nendran Pazham and are longer than the normal varieties and have thick skin. They are very delicious to eat as it is. Several delicious recipes can be made from them including Payasam, Halwa, and Desserts & Sweets.

Ingredients:
Nendran Pazham – 1 Big
Thick Jaggery Syrup – ½ cup
Coconut Milk – 1 Cup Thick
Coconut Milk – 1 Cup Thin
Ghee – 3 tlbs
Cashewnuts – Few
Water – if required

Method:
Remove skin and pressure cook banana till it is soft.
Split it into two and deseed removing the black center portion. Mash well with a ladle
In a heavy bottomed pan pour 2 tlbsp of ghee, add the mashed paste and fry in low flame for a couple of minutes.
Add the thick jaggery syrup and mix well. Add a little water if you feel the mix sticking to the bottom of the pan. Let it boil for 5 minutes in low flame.
Add thin coconut milk first and boil till the mix is slightly thick
Add the thick coconut milk now and mix well. Let it boil for a couple of minutes and switch off the stove.
Fry Cashewnuts in remaining ghee and add to payasam.

Tips:
For those who find the taste of coconut milk overpowering, plain thick milk mixed with 2 tlbsp of Condensed Milk can also be used.
Ready made coconut milk or coconut powder mixed with water can also be used in this preparation.

Paal Ada Pradhaman [Rice Flake Milk Payasam]

Another delicacy from God’s own country – Kerala. This payasam is made using rice flakes which are specially made at home for this purpose. But now a days good quality ready – to – use rice flakes are available in all departmental stores. Extremely delicious, this payasam is part of any big celebration or feast in a Kerala household.

Ingredients:
Rice Adai – 1/4th cup
Thick Milk – 2 ½ cups
Sugar – 1/4th cup
Ghee – 2 tsp
Cardamom Powder – ¼ tsp
Fried Cashewnuts – optional
Condensed milk – 1/3 rd cup

Method:
Soak Rice adai in boiling hot water for 15 mins.
Drain and rinse in cold water.
In a pressure cooker add adai + milk and pressure cook till you get one whistle.
Switch off the stove. Heat a heavy bottomed pan [or retain the cooker itself] and transfer contents to it and place it on medium flame to thicken and reduce further.
Keep it on the stove till the milk is reduced considerably and the payasam takes on a pinkish tinge.
Add Condensed milk and stir well for 5 mins.
Add sugar and cardamom powder, stir till sugar dissolves completely and switch off the heat. Roast the cashew in ghee and add if required.

Tips:
If you do not have too much time on hand to reduce and thicken the milk, more of condensed milk can be added. If you do so, remember to use less sugar than mentioned otherwise you will land up with a dish that is too sweet to consume.
Always remember to add sugar carefully to boiling milk since it is likely to curdle. So always switch off the stove after sugar is added.
Adding sugar will also dilute the payasam. So thicken it first to the maximum and then add sugar.