The month of Aug-Sept (Chingam/Avani) months has the more number of festivals in Hindu calendar. The festivals come one after the other. Its been only a week after the 10 day long festival of Onam and Avani avittam which was just the day after Onam. And y'day we celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna. Each festival has special kind of food associated with it. I made Uppu cheedai, Vella cheedai and Neiyappam. For neiyappam, I followed a different method of preparing the batter, which I shall blog later.
Uppu Cheedai (Savory deep fried rice balls)
- Rice flour - 3 cups
- Roasted and powdered urad dal - 1/4 cup
- Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
- Cumin and Pepper cons, crushed - 2 tspn
- Salt to taste
- Hing dissolved in water
- Butter - 1 tblspn
I always make fresh rice flour at home. Sieve the flour and then roast for few minutes till it is dry and should not change in color. Sieve again to remove the tiny lumps which forms on roasting. Take all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add water little by little to get a pliable dough. Double sieving is done to avoid the bursting of cheedais. Make small balls out of the dough and leave it on a soft cotton cloth.
The cheedais should dry a bit before it is deep fried to get crisp ones. Make sure you put the cheedais crowded in the oil which will aid in getting it fried well. Let the cheedais rest for few minutes, after being drained, to turn crisp.
Vella cheedai (Sweet version of deep fried rice balls)
Sweet version of the cheedai. I love vella cheedai. But this is the first time I'm trying it at home. Every time I plan to try this for Krishna Jayanthi, but somehow could never do it. I always tell myself that I will try it some other time and it too did not happen. I hardly bother to make the festival specific dishes at some other time. Somehow they are always associated with the festivals and don't get done otherwise. Or it could be that, we have one festival after another coming up and we get busy to welcome the next and we leave behind the ones that passed by.
My amma's bhakashanam for the day is always murukku, cheedai and vella avil. My MIL makes thenkuzhal, uppu cheedai and neiyappam. This year, I skipped thenkuzhal and made vella cheedai. I followed the recipe I had taken down from amma. I was happy that it came out well. Crisp outside with a soft inside. It was very easy to bite into and did not turn out to be a test of the tooth strength.
- Rice flour roasted to light brown - 1 cup
- Roasted urad dal powder - 1 tblspn
- Jaggery shavings - 3/4 cup
- Water -1 cup
- Ghee- 1 tspn
- Coconut - 1/4 cup
- Cardamom powder - 1/2 tspn
- Roasted sesame seeds - 1/2 tspn
- Oil to deep fry
Rice flour is to be roasted till it turns light brown. Melt jaggery in 1 cup of water. Let the syrup simmer for few minutes and add the grated coconut. Slowly stir in the rice flour. Switch of the heat. Add urad dal powder, cardamom powder and sesame seeds. Mix well. Leave it to cool. Mix the dough with your hands. Make marble sized balls.
Heat oil in a kadai. When it is hot, lower the heat and deep fry the balls till there are light brown. The cheedais crack a little and will not have a smooth surface like jamuns. It should be fried on low heat so that inside gets cooked well. In case the cheedai gets split while frying add little roasted rice flour and mix well. Quantity of jaggery might have been a bit more.