Navarathri has always been my favorite festival. I remember keeping golu – display of dolls – in my house every year. It used to be great fun visiting neighbors, friends, and relatives during this festive season, seeing different golu arrangements, and eating varities of sundals and puttus. This is my third year in keeping golu with my husband and my daughter. Now that my almost three year old is asking many, many questions, the festival has taken new meaning for us. Therefore, this year I decided to make one of the traditional sweets made during this festival.
Rice – 1 cup
Jaggery – 1 cup
Water – ¾ cup
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Cashews – ¼ cup
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Ghee – 2- 3 tbsps
Soak the rice for 10 to 15 minutes and then drain. Spread out the drained rice onto a paper towel and let it dry for 15 minutes. In a kadai, dry roast the rice until it turns slightly red. Roasting the rice ensures that there is no moisture left in the rice.
Now grind the rice in a mixer to make a smooth powder. Sieve the ground rice flour to remove any lumps. Add salt and turmeric to the flour and keep aside.
Boil ¾ cup of water. Mix the hot water to the rice flour slowly. Mix simultaneously, until the mixture is crumbly. Be careful while adding water, too much water will make it very soggy. Now press the mixture tightly and keep it covered for 30 minutes.
In a kadai, heat ghee and fry cashews. Keep the cashews aside. Then roast the grated coconut and add it to the cashews.
In a saucepan, take 1 cup of jaggery in a little water and bring to a boil to make the jaggery syrup. In a small cup, keep little water for checking the syrup consistency. After about 3 – 4 minutes, drop a little syrup into the water and try rolling it with your fingers. The syrup for this sweet dish must form to a hard consistency when rolled with fingers and should make the “ding” noise when you throw it onto a plate. This is the “Kallu Paggu” or the stone consistency.
Once the syrup boils to the required consistency, remove from stove, add the rice flour, cashews and coconut to it, and mix well. Sweet puttu is ready to be enjoyed.