This very word transports me back to my childhood days of standing in the queue patiently waiting for my turn to lay my hands on this prasadham in the nearby Perumal temple at my grandmother’s place. As the month of “Purattasi” has started in which the Saturdays are considered to be very auspicious to worship Lord Venkatesa Perumal, I chose this recipe which I usually make on the First and last Saturdays, from my this week’s Blog Hop partner Kalyani. You can find her recipe here.
I wanted to go the extra mile this time while making it, as normally I would take the shortcut and cook it in pressure cooker. I wanted it to taste authentic just like how it would taste in the temples. So I rang “Amma” and asked her for some suggestions on enhancing the taste to get it right.
The things she shared with made me wonder on what all we had lost over these years. The temple near my grandma’s place housed a shed where cows were maintained. So milk and ghee were always fresh. “Pasteurization, standardized, toned” would have been considered alien by them. Both the products were adulteration free. I don’t think excepting a few temples maintain cows now-a-days.
Akkaravadisal would be cooked in full cream whole milk from the cows and ghee would be made only just before adding. Also normally it would be cooked in a cast iron vessel or big clay pot but on auspicious days it would be cooked in “Bronze vessel” (Vengalam) with a big wooden ladle for mixing which lends a different flavor.
Cooking was not done on stove tops but on direct fire by burning wood. The smell of the burning wood gives a distinct smell to the whole dish. Finally the temple surroundings play a crucial part. The smell from the incense sticks, flowers, camphor, chanting of mantras, the brightness of the lamps, the divinity around us makes it taste as though we had been served the prasadham with the full blessing of the Lord himself.
So after keeping all the above said things in mind I set out to work. I cooked it in the small bronze pot I have with full cream milk. So did I get the authentic taste ?
Akkaravadisal / Akkara adisil
|Basmati Rice||1/2 cup|
|Whole Milk||4 cups|
|Jaggery||3/4 – 1 cup|
|Cardamom Powder||1/2 tsp|
|Edible Camphor||1 pinch|
|Almonds||7 – 10|
|Cashew nuts||7 – 10|
Wash and soak basmati rice for I hour. In a wide vessel or a preferably a kadai bring milk to boiling hot. Add the soaked basmati rice and stir well. Keep the flame in medium and keep stirring it for the first 5 – 10 mins as it might boil over.
Simmer and let the rice cook in the milk. Keep cleaning the edges of the vessel by running a wooden spatula as the milk reduces. The rice should be cooked well. All the milk should be absorbed by the rice. You should be able to mash the rice between your fingers if you press gently.
In another stove place the jaggery in a vessel and add little water say, less than 1/4 cup. Bring it to a boil and let the jaggery dissolve completely. Pass it through a sieve after giving a standing time of 5 mins for the impurities to settle.
Add the filtered jaggery water to the cooked rice and cook over medium flame stirring it to avoid burning. Add cardamom powder and edible camphor / pachai karpooram. I actually made fresh ghee by melting the butter in another stove. First add the chopped almonds to the ghee and roast well and then add broken cashew nuts and add this to the cooking rice.
Cook for another 5 – 10 mins and you can see it coming together. It should be a semi solid mass, so don’t over cook it. Akkaravadisal is ready to be served steaming hot.
Verdict: I came close. In fact very close but something was still missing. I guess it must be the burnt wood smell. Also the pasteurized milk would have a played a crucial part. But apart from both these it tasted just divine.
So this is off to Blog Hop Wednesdays and to Kalyani's Vrat Ka Khaana. Do not forget to check out what the Blog Hoppers have cooked here.
Also stay tuned for the next post on Friday for a big Giveaway announcement.