Thursday, April 19, 2012


‘Elai adai’ is a delicacy – a rare one at that! My mother was very fond of it – and her mother too - not to forget me too! And banana leaves were aplenty in our garden! So whenever I’d visit my mom at Madras this would be on the top of the charts on the 'must-prepare' list! Whenever I manage to get banana leaves
and have a stock of ‘chakkavaratti’, I spare no efforts to make them! You guessed it - yes, it is a laborious recipe.
What surprised me was that I found that ‘Elai adai’ is sold in some Indian stores in some parts of the US – frozen ones, of course! Taste-wise, they are definitely not a patch on the home-made ones!

(Makes 10 elai adais)

Banana leaves – cut in 9" x 7" rectangular pieces - 10
Raw rice – 1 glass
Coconut – 1 big (grated)
Jaggery – 1- 1 ½ glass
Chakkavaratti (Jackfruit halwa) – 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp

Wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hours and grind to a fine paste in the mixer. Add 1 tsp of powdered sugar and 2 tsps of oil and make a fairly thick batter (adding water if necessary).
Melt the jaggery in required water, strain off impurities and boil the syrup till thick.
Add the grated coconut and jackfruit halwa and stir well. Continue to heat till the water has evaporated.
Add cardamom powder and mix well.
Wash the banana leaves and warm each of them by holding them above the gas flame turning back and forth till they become soft and foldable.
Make a ‘dosa’ on the banana leaf with the rice batter. Fill half of it with a thin layer of coconut-jaggery stuffing and fold along the center.
Make all the elai adais like this.
Arrange 5-6 carefully in a colander at a time and steam it for 15 minutes.
Remove after 10 minutes and serve the ‘elai adais’ along with the banana leaf on a plate.

If you are adding more ‘chakkavaratti’, add less of jaggery.If you don't have 'chakkavaratti', just add more jaggery - of course it will lose its authentic flavour!
It is laborious - prepare the stuffing one day before to offer you some respite.

© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.

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