Deepavali just got over and I can't believe the next festival is almost here! Thiru Karthikai !
Deepavali and Karthikai have way different stories of origin according to Hindu Mythology but both the festivals are similar in two main aspects. Festivals of lamps and light. Festivals of fresh sweets.
Many sweets are associated with Karthikai, most of them being simple to make and kid friendly. I used to make 'Pori Urundai' when my kids were really small. I cannot call them 'urundai'/ balls because I never took the trouble of rolling them out to pretty looking shiny balls. After the mixing part I used to dump the sweetened puffs coated with sugar syrup on a flat ghee smeared tray and broke into shapeless squares or triangles or pentagons after the mass got cooled. Anyways the not-so beautiful looking 'chikkis' vanished within seconds.
Believe me, this is my first attempt in shaping them into balls. I used jaggery instead of sugar to make it flavourful and tastier.
They came out perfect but never disappeared as both my teens are away from home :(
I miss them lighting the lamps in and out of the house this time :(
No more sad faces and lemme proceed to the recipe :)
Karthikai Pori Urundai
For 12 balls
Get ready with:
Fresh and crisp 'Pori' / Puffed white rice - 2 large cups
Jaggery -crushed and loosely filled- 1/2 cup
Water- 1/4 cup + 2 tsps
Cardamom powder- a pinch
Ghee- to smear fingers to roll into balls
How to make :
Transfer crushed jaggery to a pan with the measured water.
I used a mixture of light coloured and dark jaggery attempting to get a golden coloured syrup. Ignore that and you can go ahead with the jaggery in hand :)
Boil the filtered syrup, keeping the flame low after it begins to simmer, until it thickens a bit . When it reaches the consistency of honey, stir along cardamom powder and be very careful with the next stage as it is our required consistency. I prefer to boil the syrup in a non- stick pan as it helps much towards the later stages.
When the syrup has the consistency of honey, it doesn't dissolve if dripped on to a small plate with water. And you can notice it settles to the bottom, though it spreads and flattens a little.
The required stage.
This stage is attained within seconds of the previous. So be very careful. If you use the measurement of jaggery, I'd used, it's better if you switch off the stove as the heat of the pan would be enough to bring the syrup to the required consistency. The syrup is slighter thicker than the previous stage, holds the shape if dripped into water and you may gather and roll to a not so soft-not too hard ball with your finger tips.
If you are first timer, do not waste your time rolling the ball with the syrup back on fire coz the syrup may harden further and you will not be able to roll the balls.
Dump the puffed rice to the hot syrup in the pan and stir gently to combine. The syrup should be coated evenly on the rice puffs.
Smear your finger tips liberally with ghee and gather the sticky puffs slowly while the mixture in the pan is bearably hot. The puffs fall apart if it's too hot, so don't panic :).
Do it gently, with your finger tips until you see them shaping up.
Personally it doesn't work out the way I make ladoos, giving them pressure between the palms ;)
While you roll out, you will see that the syrup binding the puffs hardens as the mass cools down. You may return the unshaped mix to the non-stick kadai and warm this up stirring gently all the while over minimum fire.This will loosen the whole mass and you may repeat the process until done!
The balls harden when they are cooled in room temperature. Store in airtight containers.
:) Wishing you all a Very Happy Karthikai Deepam Festival :)