As far as I can remember, my parents have never failed to celebrate our birthdays. Having an oil bath, wearing a new dress and visiting the temple was the routine. Celebrations were most certainly in line with the Hindu calender, the day during the month of your birth conjuncts with the star that you were born in. We had the English calender birthdays celebrated too.
On the star birthday, there would be extras on the menu like a payasam or some sweet. When we were young, we did not care to think that our parents might have birthdays too. As we grew up we made an effort to remember to wish them, though we do not celebrate in a big way.
Today happens to be my mother's star birthday. I just felt that I shall post a very simple, quick and easy sweet and dedicate the same to her.
This, I made, last Friday for the Aadi velli (Friday of the Tamil month of Aadi) as neivedhyam alongwith urad dhal vadais for reading of the Lalitha sahasranama stotram.
I have made use of thick aval/beaten rice which will give a nice texture to the dish. I have not tried with the thinner variety yet. But if someone decides that might work, I would love to know.
Earlier, I tried the same with red poha and sugar alternative, but on stove top, hoping that would be a low calorie variation. That turned out perfect too. I shall post that soon. For today, I give this recipe in dedication to my mother and would love to send it to Srivalli, celebrating the third anniversary of the MEC Event with a Potluck Party.
1 & 1/3 cups thick variety aval/ poha/ beaten rice
1& 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water for soaking the aval
1/3 cup of water for the sugar to make syrup
4 teaspoons ghee
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
4 cashews broked in bits
few strands of saffron or a pinch of food colour
Pulse the aval in a coffee grinder to semolina consisitency.
In a microwave safe cup heat 1/2 cup of water on 100% power for 1 minute. Insert a wooden spoon in the cup. This helps to prevent water from super heating and the hazards that ensue.
Put the aval in a microwave proof/ safe bowl. Add this water and stir to mix evenly. Leave aside for about 5 minutes for the aval to absorb the water.
In another microwave proof bowl, add sugar to 1/3 cup of water. Set the microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes initially. The sugar will dissolve and will start to boil. Open and mix once.
Restart the microwave to the highest power and allow the sugar syrup to boil down to a one string consisitency. This may take a further 2 minutes. Open and check the syrup consistency.
It is alright even if a thread cannot form, but the sugar should have boiled down to a sticking consistency. The process is done without any lid on.
Add the aval, cardamom powder and saffron to this along with 2 teaspoons ghee. Cook this mix on 80% power without lid on for 4 minutes.
Allow a standing time of 1 minute. Take out and mix the rest of the ghee, reserving a few drops to roll the cashews in.
Use a flat microwave proof dish to roast cashews that have been mixed with a very small quantity of ghee. Roast this on 100% power for nearly 3 minutes or a bit further until the cashews are done.
Garnish the kesari with these roasted cashews and serve.