Friday, November 04, 2005

Diwali special sweet 2 - Kadalai urundai (Peanut balls)

I've never liked the ready-made kadalai urundai available in India... the home-made ones are so much nicer, especially the ones made by my mother. The ready-made ones were rock-hard - so hard that when you bit into them, you had to double-check to make sure it wasnt your teeth that had splintered. I had the private conviction that they were held together with superglue.

Making kadalai urundai at home - especially in a microwave - should be the simplest of procedures... and in theory, it is. I mean, all it requires is two ingredients - jaggery (raw unrefined sugar) and de-husked peanuts... three, at the most, if you include a dash of powdered cardamom. It's even easier if you can get pre-roasted unsalted peanuts. My mother makes them perfectly in the microwave but could I follow suit? Could I hell.

The first trial batch turned out okay - just about. The second batch was a flop because the jaggeried (new word here, folks) peanuts refused to stick together to form balls. I guess that was because the jaggery didnt melt evenly in the microwave.

I'm not sure, but I think the quality of the jaggery matters a lot here. I had a little bit of dark brown jaggery and a packet light jaggery, ready-powdered. The two unfortunately didnt mix well. The dark brown jaggery melted really quickly while the powdered stuff had only just started to. Any longer in the microwave and the dark brown jaggery would have burned.

Anyway... here's the basic recipe that I got from my mother. Good luck trying it (if anybody does try it) because the results will probably vary based on the quality of the jaggery and the wattage of the microwave oven.


TIP: Add a tsp or two of water to the jaggery before microwaving it.



Recipe for: Kadalai urundai (peanut balls)



Ingredients:

1 cup de-husked, unsalted peanuts (ready-roasted, if possible)
3-4 tbsp jaggery, smashed into small pieces
1/4 tsp powdered cardamom seeds - optional

Method:

1. Roast the peanuts (if unroasted) in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on the wattage). Let the peanuts cool and check that they're crisp. If not, roast them for another minute. Check again for crispness.

2. Melt the jaggery in a shallow dish - this should take a minute or two. Again, this depends on the oven's wattage and the quality of the jaggery, so start with one minute's worth.

3. Drop a bit of the jaggery in water - if it forms a ball, it's ready.

4. Very quickly mix the peanuts and the powdered cardamom with the melted jaggery (it cools incredibly fast) and form little balls while still warm.

5. Store in an airtight box.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now you're making me nostalgic! My mom makes these but she adds a little bit of pottu kadalai (roasted channa dal)and copra (dried coconut) bits to the coconut-jaggery mixture.

Mika said...

Shammi- so many Diwali snacks! your family is lucky:-). I love microwave sweets and this goes into my must try list. Should I look for a hard crack or soft crack stage when jaggery is melted?

shammi said...

Soft-crack stage, I think, Mika.

Anonymous said...

why dont you make a photo of your recipes ?

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Kannan said...

Nice post.