November 03, 2021

Ukkarai | Okkarai | Sweetened Lentil Crumble


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 Ukkarai is a traditional sweet prepared for Diwali without in certain parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala . I was introduced to this sweet only after my marriage and till then I had neither tasted nor even heard of Ukkarai as it was never made in my mom's house .

The name really intrigued me and I thought it must be a very complicated sweet to make and was waiting to see how it is prepared by MIL .When MIL shared the recipe, I was surprised that it was very easy to make and really doesn't require any special skill of making jaggery syrup or cooking nuances.  

Ukkarai is actually a vegan recipe as freshly pressed gingelly (til) oil was used to make this in olden times ,but now a days not relish the flavor of sesame /til oil in sweets and hence ghee is used which doesn't make it vegan friendly.

Some families make this Ukkarai even for Avani Avittam and I found this to be very close to Hayagreeva Maddi except that Ukkarai is a little dry and coarse . 

Each family has a slightly different proportion of dal used for making Ukkarai . Some use 50/50 proportion of moong dhall and channa dhall while some use just moong dhall and some just channa dhall .I did experiment with all these combinations but at the end we were all happy with just the Channa dhall Ukkarai in terms of taste as well as texture .


Soaking Time - 3 hrs 
Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 45 mins
Complexity - Medium 

Ingredients 

1 cup channa dhall / kadalai paruppu
1 cup grated/powdered jaggery 
1 tsp elaichi powder 
2 tbsp ghee /gingelly (til) oil
Few cashews 

Method 


  • Wash and soak the channa dhall in sufficient water for 3 hrs .
  • Drain the water and grind to a fine paste without adding water.  Incase there is difficulty in grinding, you can sprinkle some water and grind. 
  • Grease a plate with some ghee and spread this ground batter on it and steam it for 15 mins . Use a knife or tooth pick to check if it is steamed well . When you prick it through the steamed dough,the knife/tooth pick should come out clean. Let it cool .
  • Break the steamed dough roughly with your hands and pulse it in a blender until it turns into a coarse crumbly mixture.  Keep aside. 
  • Melt the jaggery with half cup water and filter it incase you find any impurities else let it boil further on medium heat until it reaches the soft ball consistency (meaning- when you drop a few drops of jaggery syrup in water, it should hold shape and not spread)  {{ 2nd row 1st picture above }}
  • At this stage add the crumbled dal mixture with cardamom powder and quickly mix it in with the syrup .keep on stirring and breaking the lumps simultaneously.  
  • Add some ghee and continue to stir it for another 5 to 10 mins . The mixture may look lumpy and soft initially, but will turn fine on cooling. 
  • I prefer to keep the Ukkarai a little soft and not very grainy so I don't continue stirring for a long time to get the grainy texture .
  • Roast some cashews in ghee and mix it well with the ukkarai.




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