Ukkarai recipe or Okkarai with stepwise pictures. Chettinad Ukkarai is a jaggery based sweet dish that is made for festival occasions like Diwali, Karthigai deepam or during Navrathri in the households of Tamilnadu.
It is very healthy and easy to digest as it made of steamed chana dal and jaggery and uses very less ghee unlike other sweets. It can also be had either as a breakfast or as a snack.
This dish is also very popular in the district of Tirunelveli. In my home town we call it as “kadala paruppu puttu” and make it during Karthigai Deepam. Usually we light lamps for 3 days and we make Pori urundai on the first day and Nei Appam on the second day and this Ukkarai recipe on the third day of the celebrations.
Ukkarai Recipe details with step by step photos below:
- Chana dal (Kadalai paruppu / Bengal gram) - 1/2 cup
- Jaggery, grated - 3/4 cup
- Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup
- Cardamom - 1
- Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp
- Ghee - 5 tsp
- Heat a pan. Add chana dal and dry roast over low flame for 1-2 mins till it changes color slightly and the aroma arises.
- Soak in water for 1-2 hours. Drain water completely and transfer to a mixie jar.
- Grind to a coarse paste by adding 2-3 tsp of water.
- Fill an idli mould with the ground paste evenly filling the cups.
- Steam for 10-15 mins over medium flame. A knife or toothpick inserted must come out clean. Take the mould out and let it cool. Break the steamed cakes unevenly.
- Transfer to a mixie jar and pulse at regular intervals till it resembles like bread crumbs.
- Heat a pan, add grated jaggery and 3 tbsp water and mix till the jaggery dissolves completely. Pass the syrup through a sieve to filter the impurities. Transfer the filtered syrup to the same pan.
- Boil till the syrup reaches one string consistency.
- Add crushed cardamom, grated coconut and mix well.
- Add pulsed chana dal and mix well. The mixture will be moist and lumpy.
- Simmer the flame completely. Add 4 tsp ghee at this stage.
- Keep mixing frequently to avoid the Ukkarai from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Cook till the entire mixture become dry and resemble coarse bread crumbs once again. This will take 10-12 mins.
- Meanwhile heat another pan with 1 tsp ghee and roast cashew nuts till golden brown. Add it to Ukkarai, mix well.
- Transfer the Ukkarai to a serving bowl and serve hot.