Nagula Chavithi is the day people in Andhra Pradesh worship Nagas or snakes. This festival falls on the fifth day after Naraka Chaturdashi (This year Nagula Chavithi is on October 27, 2014November 15, 2015 November 3, 2016, October 23, 2017). On this day, in my home, we fast through the day; worship nagas; offer naivedyam of Vada Pappu, Chalimidi, Chimmili, Panakam, bananas, and milk; and eat at night after the Mangala Aarathi. The only food we eat is that offered as naivedyam.
Traditionally, women visit the nearest pamula putta or snake pit to pray to the snake god. If a pammula putta is not accessible (as is the case in Mumbai), we make an idol of the snake god with wheat flour and offer prayers to this idol. On the next day, this idol of the snake god is either immersed in a water body or left on a tree as a symbolic way of returning him to nature.
Call it Kobbari Louz (as we do in Andhra Pradesh) or Narkel Naru (as they do in Bengal and Bangaldesh), this delicious, two-ingredient, easy-to-make, and healthy Coconut Jaggery Laddu ticks so many boxes.
Diwali is a time when, try as one may to control), there is some degree of over indulgence. 🙂 And why not? It is time to have fun and celebrate with family and friends. Over the past year, however, I have tried to switch to healthy eating habits and am trying to see how I can make Diwali traditional yet watch the calories.
So this year I made Low-oil Poha Chivda and Low-oil Murmura Chivda as savouries (as of now), and was thinking of what to make as a sweet when I remembered this simple Coconut Jaggery Laddu that my mother used to make. Called Kobbari Louz in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it is so very easy to make and delicious to boot. It also does not use any ghee and has jaggery as the sweetener.
I have discovered that this sweet is quite popular in Bengal as well where it is called Narkel Naru.
How to Make Andhra Kobbari Louz | Bengali Narkel Naru | Easy Coconut Jaggery Laddu
Over medium flame, heat a large heavy-bottomed kadhai for 2-3 minutes.
Turn the heat to low and wait for 1-2 minutes for it to cool a bit.
Add the grated coconut and continuously stir-fry till it starts to dry out a bit. Takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Ensure that the colour of the grated coconut does not change.
Add the grated jaggery and mix well.
Turn up the heat to medium, and constantly stir-fry the mix till it dries out a bit and starts to come together as a mass. How long you cook will decide how hard the Coconut Jaggery Laddu will be; I kept it relatively soft and chewy.
Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
Turn off the heat and let the kadhai cool a bit. I let it cool completely to room temperature.
First measure out the ingredients. Ensure that you have packed cups as grated coconut tends to be rather airy and so if you just take a loose cup, your coconut-to-jaggery proportion will not be correct.
Next, we need to dry our the fresh grated coconut a bit.
So over medium flame, heat a large heavy-bottomed kadhai for 2-3 minutes.
Now turn the heat to low and wait for a couple of minutes for the kadhai to cool a bit. This step is important because we need the kadhai hot but not so hot that the coconut will burn.
Now, add the grated coconut to the heated kadhai and continuously stir-fry so that it does not stick to the kadhai as it starts to dry. You know you are done when the coconut is fresh but not wet to touch. The process takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful as you do this to ensure that the colour of the grated coconut remains white and does not change to brown.
Now add the grated jaggery to the roasted coconut and mix well.
Turn up the heat to medium, and constantly stir-fry the coconut-jaggery mix till it the jaggery melts and the mix dries out. If you want a soft and chewy laddu, take a small portion and try to make a small laddu. If it retains shape, you are ready. If you want a slightly harder laddu, cook till the mix dries out more. The longer you cook, the harder the Coconut Jaggery Laddu will be.
Now to this cooked mix, add the cardamom powder and mix well.
Since I was making soft laddus, I let the cooked mixture cool completely to room temperature. If you are making hard laddus you should start forming the laddus while the mixture is still warm as it will harden afterwards.
Grease your palms with 1-2 drop of ghee.
Take 1 to 1.5 tbsp of the mix and shape into a laddu.
Store the Andhra Kobbari Louz | Bengali Narkel Naru | Easy Coconut Jaggery Laddu in an air-tight container.
I am taking the wonderful sweet to the 114th Foodie Monday Blog Hop where the theme is Diwali! See what my fellow bloggers have posted for this theme at the FoodieMonday Pinterest page.
I absolutely love cooking with greens and my family loves them too. One of my favourite greens in Methi | Fenugreek | Menthi Kura, despite all its reputation for bitterness. So when I had to suggest a theme for the 113th Foodie Monday Blog Hop, greens it was. And my recipe for this theme of Cooking with Greens is Menthi Kura Roti Pachadi | Menthi Aaku Pachadi | Andhra Style Methi Chutney.
The medicinal properties of Methi are well-known: it helps lower sugar and cholestrol levels; it increases milk production in lactating mothers; it aids digestion; it helps weight-loss; it is cooling; and much more. However, for me, apart from all this, Methi is delicious. I use it often in my cooking and have a range of recipes that uses this wonderful green vegetable.
Coming back to Menthi Kura Roti Pachadi, it is very easy to make and a great way to include methi in our diet. You can reduce the bitterness of the fenugreek leaves a bit by adding salt to chopped leaves and letting them drain, but I did not do that as it takes away the flavour.
Menthi Kura Pachadi is also an Andhra Roti Pachadi which means it was traditionally ground using a grinding stone. As a result, it is coarse-ground and that adds to the texture. So when you are grind in a mixer-grinder, please do not grind it too smooth.
The best way to enjoy Menthi Kura Pachadi is to mix it in some warm steamed rice, top it with some sesame oil, mix and eat. Most Andhra meals start with a chutney or podi mixed with rice and it is known as Modati Mudda; it is meant to get your digestive juices flowing and help digest the rest of the meal.
How to Make Menthi Kura Roti Pachadi | Menthi Aaku Pachadi | Andhra Style Methi Chutney
I have been meaning to share the recipe for Pala Thalikalu for a while now, but have never gotten around to it. October 8, 2017 is Atla Taddi, a festival in which Pala Thalikalu play an important role as naivedyam and so here I am with the recipe.
As I mentioned in my earlier post on Timmanam, Atla Taddi is Karva Chauth as celebrated in Andhra Pradesh. While the women fast on this day, they also have a lot of fun. They eat before sunrise and then at night after seeing the moon and offering prayers.
Today I am here with the recipe for Bellam Pala Thanikalu, which I have seen described as Andhra Rice Noodle Kheer. 😀
Step-by-Step Recipe to Make Bellam Pala Thalikalu
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Serves: 4-6 People
Ingredients for the Thalikalu
Rice Flour – 1/2 Cup
Jaggery – 1 tbsp
Water – 1/4 Cup
Ghee – 1 tsp
Ingredients for the Payasam
Milk – 2 Cups/500 ml
Grated Coconut – 1/4 Cup
Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
Jaggery – 1/3 Cup (use more if you want a sweeter taste)
Water – 1/3 Cup
Making the Dough for Thalikalu
Place the rice flour in a deep bowl.
Make a thin jaggery syrup by boiling 1/4 cup water with 1 tbsp jaggery.
Make a well in the rice flour.
Add the jaggery syrup in small amounts.
Using a spoon, mix well to form a soft dough.
I used jaggery syrup to make the dough so that the Thalikalu have some taste. You can also use boiling hot milk or water to knead the dough. If you use milk or water, add just the tiniest pinch of salt to the dough.
Let the dough be soft and sticky
Let the dough cool for 5 minutes.
Grease your palms with a few drops of ghee.
Take small pinches of the dough and make into chick-pea sized balls. Keep greasing your palm with ghee as the dough is sticky.
Grease your palms with ghee and roll each ball of dough between your palms to form a thalika/noodle about 2-3″ in length.
Making the Jaggery Syrup
Mix 1/3 cup jaggery and water.
Boil the syrup till it is thick.
Set aside to cool. This step is important because if you add hot syrup to the milk, the milk will split.
Making the Payasam
Boil the milk.
Lower the heat to medium.
Add the Thalikalu to the simmering milk and let them simmer in the milk for about 10 minutes.
Gently stir at regular intervals. Do not be very vigorous or the thalikalu will break.
Let thalikalu cook, and the milk thicken and reduce to 2/3 the original quantity.
To check that the thalikalu are cooked, take one out of the milk and cut with a spoon. It should be firm but break easily. You can also taste it to see that the raw flavour of the rice flour is gone.
Add the coconut and cardamom powder.
Turn off the heat and set aside to cool. This step is important because if you add syrup to the hot milk, the milk will split.
The Final Step in Making Bellam Pala Thalikalu
When the jaggery syrup and milk are warm, add the syrup to the milk.
Using a spoon, mix gently till the syrup is well-incorporated.
Offer the Bellam Pala Thalikalu as naivedyam and savour as Prasadam.
Today I present Timmanam | Kobbari Payasam made for the festival of Atla Taddi. Also called Undralla Taddi, this is a very important festival in Andhra Pradesh. Falling on October 8, 2017, in North India, Atla Taddi is celebrated as Karva Chauth.
Celebrated on Asvayuja Bahula Tadiya as per the Hindu calendar, Atla Taddi is observed by married women for the well-being of their husbands and by unmarried girls for a good husband. It is a day that is marked by both religious ceremonies and a lot of fun.
On the previous evening, the women kick-off the celebrations by adorning their hands decorated by Gorintaaku (Mehendi). The next day starts very early during Brahma Muhurtam. After the ritual head bath and prayer, they have rice cooked the previous day along with perugu (dahi) and a pachadi (typically Gongura Pachadi). All this has to be completed before sunrise.
Then for the rest of the day the ladies fast (no food or water) till the evening moonrise. In the evening, the ladies perform Gauri Pooja and offer Atlu (dosas) as naivedyam along with Kudumulu/Undrallu. These are then distributed to other ladies as Vayanam. The ladies then wait for moonrise, and after having seen the moon they break their fast with these dosas, Pala Thalikalu, and Undrallu | Kudumulu.
In the Vizag-Vizianagaram district where my mother grew up an important dish made on Atla Taddi is a simple rice and coconut payasam called Timmanam. Also referred to as Kobbari Payasam, this is a super simple dish to make and very very delicious.
Given that women fast very seriously on Atla Taddi, Timmanam is a very nutritious way to break the fast.
How to Make Timmanam | Kobbari Payasam
Timmanam | Kobbari Payasam for Atla Taddi
This is the recipe for Timmanam is a very simple kheer-like dish made with rice, coconut, milk and sugar. Also called Kobbari Payasam, it is an important dish for Atla Taddi, Andhra's own Karva Chauth.