Saturday, April 28, 2012


This item is a must on ‘Shivaratri’ night in Palakkad homes! Our grandparents undertook rigorous fasts and stayed awake all night. Hubby says the whole family would go to watch 'kathakali' in the temple premises to stay wake all night! I remember Veremai (my maternal grandma) telling me stories about 'I-forgot-who' stayed awake all night perched on top a tree all night to save himself from some animal (I think) and plucked and dropped the leaves to stay awake. It was Shivaratri night and the leaves he dropped were 'vilva' leaves and they fell on the 'Shiva lingam' at the bottom of the tree. Needless to say the man attained 'moksha'. As a little girl I loved the story - of course I belong to a much older generation which lapped up the tales without popping questions! Whether we would undertake the fast or partake in the ‘puja’ or stay awake all night – don’t ask! But all of us as children looked forward to ‘paruppu kanji’ at night. I hate 'kanji' (porridge) as I've always associated it with sickness. But I love 'paruppu kanji' as it is more of a payasam than a 'kanji'. I wish I could call it 'paruppu payasam'. But fundamentalists would object to it as 'paruppu kanji' is a more austere term for a solemn festival like 'Shivaratri'.
It is an easy-to-make, tasty and healthy item but somehow we get to make it only this festival!
Yellow moong dal – ¾ cup
Jaggery (powdered) – 1- 1 1/4 cup
Cashew nuts – 2 tbsp (roasted in 1 tsp of ghee) (optional)
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Milk – 1-2 cups

Dry roast the moong dal to light brown.
Wash the dal. Add 1 1/2 cups of water  to it and pressure-cook it in a separate vessel for 2 whistles and allow to cool.
Remove from the cooker and add the powdered jaggery and mix well while still hot till it dissolves completely.
Add cardamom powder and roasted cashews.
Pour out the thick paruppu kanji into bowls. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of milk to each bowl and stir well.
Serve hot or chilled.

Since it is made on ‘Shivaratri’ and is had with fruits at night, it is supposed to be light (they didn't add cashew nuts) and hence it is called ‘paruppu kanji’ and not 'paruppu pradhaman’!

 © Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.

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