Ulava Charu is a winter favourite in Andhra Pradesh and I absolutely love it. And then I saw the movie Ulava Charu Biryani (nothing to do with the biryani per se) and since then this idea of making this dish has been on my mind.
Horse gram (called Ulavalu in Telugu, Kulith in Marathi, Kollu in Tamil, and Muthira in Malayalam) is nutritious and very warming in nature. As a result, it is eaten only when the weather is cold. Horse gram is largely savoured as a rasam (Ulava Charu or Kollu Rasam) or as a dry curry (Kollu Sundal, Muthira Upperi).
You can also make Ulava Charu Biryani by cooking vegetables and rice in Ulava Charu. The result is a tangy, spicy biryani that is quite a treat.
Ava Pettina Kanda Bachali Kura is a classic Andhra dish that you will find on many a festive occasion (and otherwise too). It is a curry made with Elephant Foot Yam and Malabar Spinach, and flavoured with ground mustard.
Ava Pettadam is a flavouring technique in Andhra that literally means to add mustard to whatever we are cooking. Since I love the flavour of mustard, you will find me using this technique quite often.
Coming back to Ava Pettina Kanda Bachali Kura, a well-made version can send people in raptures. I guess it is also popular at weddings and other such social occasions because you can make it in large quantities very easily; apart from the fact that it is quite delicious, of course.
Kanda in Telugu = Elephant Foot Yam, Suran, or Jimikand
Bachali Kura = Malabar Spinach, Mayalu, or Basale Soppu
Khichdi has always been a comfort food for me, especially so in winter. I have a number of Khichdi recipes on the blog and today I am back with another one, Hyderabadi Khichdi; this one is a lightly spiced one made with rice and masoor dal. Serve it with some Til ka Khatta and you will be in heaven!
Every state has its own version of khichdi, and most are a combination of grain and a lentil (most popularly rice and moong/green gram). In Western Indian states like Rajasthan, Bajra or Pearl Millet is used as a substitute for rice.
Coming back to Hyderabadi Khichdi, what intrigued me was the use of masoor dal. As a South Indian, I rarely used masoor dal in my cooking before I started blogging. Ever since, I have been trying out recipes with both whole masoor and masoor dal. 🙂
The Hyderbadi Khichdi uses rice and masoor dal, with some onions and mild spices. The result was a fragrant, mellow Khichdi that was quite unlike others of its ilk. I paired it with a nutty, tangy sesame-peanut-tamarind gravy called Til ka Khatta, which turned out to be the perfect accompaniment.
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.