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.

Advertisements

Quick Fix Chutneys – Spicy Besan Chutney

Generally the term Chutney conjures up images of something ground to a paste to be served as a side dish or accompaniment to some main dish. This dish made of besan is extremely easy to make especially when you are loaded with guests without notice. Serves as a fantastic side dish for both Pooris and Chapatthis.

Ingredients:

Besan – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 small, finely chopped
Green chillies – 4 Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
Finely Chopped Ginger – 1 tlbsp
Oil – 2 tlbsp
Curry Leaves
Salt to taste
Half a lime

Method:

 In a pan heat oil and add Mustard seeds. When it splutters add urad dal & green chillies.Saute till the dal is brown.
 Add Onions & turmeric powder and fry till translucent.
 Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
 Mix besan with water to form a smooth batter.
 Add the batter to the tomato + onion mix and mix with a ladle in low flame.
 Add Chilli powder and salt to taste. Stir continuously till it cooks well and the raw smell of besan disappears. Add some water if required.
 The batter with soon turn into a thick paste. Consistency should be like chutney where it can be scooped and placed on a plate.
 Remove from stove. Add lime juice and mix.
 Garnish with curry or coriander leaves.
 Serve it with hot pooris

Tips:
Depending the spice content in the green chillies you can add or reduce the quantity of Chilli powder. But ensure that it is spicy overall
The same with Lime juice. Add according to your taste

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