Festivals mean special naivedyam for the deities we celebrate on those days. And what can be lighter than puffed rice (kheel) laddoos, pray? For that is the main naivedyam to Lord Subrahmanya on Karthigai, along with some sweet appam, puffed poha laddoos and a mixture of foxtail millet (called tinai in Tamil) flour and honey. Of course these are the basic ones, and the number of items differs from community to community and even from family to family.
Karthigai is a Tamil festival, which falls on the full moon day of the Tamil month by the same name. This usually falls on the Purnima following Diwali, but sometimes comes a month later, as this year. For all those who would like to know more about this festival, please read my post.
All the naivedyam is usually made on the day of the festival, after observing a fast for the whole day, but that is a matter of convenience. As I maintain, it is more important to stick to the celebration than to be a stickler for details of the rituals.
I am sharing today the recipes of the laddoos made with puffed rice and puffed poha. I used 5 cups of each variety. I would advice you to do them one after the other, making fresh syrup for each variety if you are doing both.
Do make these healthy laddoos, even if you do not celebrate Karthigai. As I said earlier, these laddoos are light, both in weight and calories and so make a guilt-free snack anytime!
Puffed paddy (kheel)/puffed poha laddoo:
Picked and cleaned kheel/puffed poha – 5 large cups (I used a 200ml cup)
Grated jaggery – 1 cup (loosely packed)
Water – ¼ cup or less, just to dissolve the jaggery.
Ghee – 1 tsp
Dry ginger powder -1 large pinch
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Coconut – 2″ piece, cut into very small bits (optional)
A few drops of lemon juice
Note: The ratio for puffed rice and jaggery is 5:1 whichever measure you use.
- Clean the kheel well, picking out every piece of husk from the grains. If not, they can majorly spoil the fun of biting into the laddoo. Put it in a large paraat or metal bowl.
- Heat the jaggery with the water in a heavy bottomed vessel, till it dissolves. Don’t boil it. Filter jaggery solution to remove any impurity and put it back on the stove to make syrup.
- If adding, fry the coconut bits in the ghee till they turn pink. Add to the kheel. (I did not add coconut)
- Keep stirring till it becomes a thick syrup and turns frothy. The test to find out if it is ready is to put a few drops in a small cup of cold water. The syrup should stay in one place and not spread or dissolve in the water. If you pick it up, it should roll into a hard ball that will make a small ping if dropped on a plate. (Sounds complicated, but is actually not. Try it!)
- Once this consistency is reached, switch off the flame and add a few drops of lemon juice. Add the cardamom powder and dry ginger powder, mix well and pour the syrup into the kheel. Quickly mix it up so that the syrup coats the grains evenly.
- Smear some ghee on the palms and begin rolling the laddoos. You can also dust the palms with some rice flour to prevent the grains from sticking. Take equal quantity of the kheel mixture and press it together. Don’t bother to shape them properly. Once you are done with all of it, leisurely roll the laddoos tightly into shape. This way they stay firm and don;t disintegrate.
- Store in an airtight container and enjoy a bite whenever you feel like snacking on something sweet. It is a very healthy snack!
Note: 1.The addition of lemon juice helps to prevent the syrup from hardening and making it difficult to roll the laddoos into shape. Several times over the years I have had to make a naivedyam of sweet kheel, which had disintegrated because of the hardening of the syrup! I came across this tip recently and it works like a charm.