Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

A belated merry christmas and a very happy and prosperous new year to all my beloved readers.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Recipe: Pori

As I have mentioned, the neyvedyam for Karthikai are Pori, Neyyappam and Adai. Pori is puffed rice and there are 2 kinds of pori: nelpori (made by frying paddy seeds) and avil pori (made by frying flattened rice or avil). The preparation of both these poris for neyvedyam is similar. Here is the recipe.

I am mentioning the ratio of ingredients for 5 measures since that is the easiest way to measure out the required quantity of jaggery. You can use any container to measure the pori.


Pori : 5 measures
Jaggery: 1 measure
Coconut pieces: 2 tbsps.
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp.

The pori needs to be cleaned first. It will have husks sticking to it and also some stones at times.
Melt the jaggery in just enough water to cover the jaggery. Strain to remove sand and other impurities. Boil the jaggery syrup to get a thick consistency. This is very important as otherwise the pori would sink in the syrup and become soggy. When the jaggery syrup is of right consistency the pori will get coated with the syrup and will remain crisp.

Here is how to get the right consistency. As you are boiling the jaggery syrup, keep a bowl of water near your working surface. As the jaggery thickens drop a few drops into the water. Remove the jaggery drops from the water with your fingers. Initially it will form a soft ball. This is known as jelly consistency or more commonly as tomato consistency(as it would be soft as tomato). This is the consistency for Neyyappam.

Boil the syrup some more and drop a few drops into the water. Collect the dropped jaggery with finger tips. It would form into a hard ball. If you throw the ball on a hard surface it should make a "thud". This is the right consistency for Pori and is known as "Kallu pakam" or stone consistency. Now you need to be very quick. Remove the syrup from the stove.

Add the coconut pieces and cardamom powder and the pori and mix continuously so that the pori gets coated with the jaggery evenly. Allow to cool a little and make small balls of pori.

Avil Pori is prepared the same way. Avil pori will have fine sand particles so it needs to be sieved to remove the sand. Follow the same method as for nelpori.

Recipe: Neyappam

Neyyappam literally means "ghee cake."

Neyyappam is a unique sweet of Kerala and is made in a special utensil known as Appakaral which is a pan with bowl-shaped depressions carved in to it. In the olden days appakarals were made of bronze. Now a days appakarals made of iron and other metals and even non-stick karals are available. The traditional appakarals had 3 depressions and these days karals with 7 and 9 depressions are available

"Neyyappam thinnal rendundu karyam," is a famous malayalam saying which means that you gain twin benefits when you eat neyyappam. What are they? "Appavum thinnam, meniyum minukkam" which means you can enjoy the appam and also shine your body. This is because as neyyappams are fried in ghee the appam is dripping with ghee and after you eat a neyyappam there is so much grease in your hands that your can apply it on your body.

Now for the recipe. Though different people make the dough for neyyappams differently, below is the recipe followed by our family and it gives the softest neyyappams.


Raw rice: 1 cup
Jaggery: 1cup
Coconut pieces: 1 tbsp.
Cardamom powder: 1tsp.
Ghee for frying the neyyappams
Gingelly (sesame) oil: 3 tsp.

Soak the rice for 2—3 hours and strain through a colander to remove all the water. Grind to a fine powder in a mixer. Sieve to remove any larger particles. Grind once again until all the rice is ground to a fine powder.

Make a syrup of jaggery to jelly consistency. Switch off the stove. Add cardamom powder and coconut pieces and add the ground rice flour while mixing the dough continuously. Keep the dough covered for a day. (This dough will keep good for upto a week).

The next day mix the dough well adding a little water to get a pouring consistency (as thick as idly dough). Heat the appakaral and add a tsp of gingelly oil (ghee tends to stick to the bottom of the karal) and top with ghee. When the ghee is very hot ladle out spoonfuls of dough into each depression. When the neyyappams are cooked on one side (appams will start turning on its own) turn them with a skewer. When they are done (the skewer should come clean when inserted) remove them using the skewer. Repeat.

Offer neyvedyams to Lord Shiva and enjoy the prasadams with family and friends.