Ukkarai is a traditional Diwali sweet made in Tamilnadu for Deepavali. This kadalaiparuppu puttu has many childhood memories associated with it, especially of celebrating Diwali. Every Diwali to date, ukkarai or okkarai is a permanent fixture in our house. It is a relatively healthy dessert with no white sugar and no frying .
200 grams / 1 heaping cup (250 ml) split Bengal gram / chana dal
200 grams / 1 heaping cup jaggery / gud
1/4 cup ghee
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup water
Roast chana dal until it slightly changes colour, taking care not to burn it.
Wash chana dal well and soak in water for a minimum of 2 hours.
After 2 hours, the chana dal expands a bit in size.
Now, drain it off all water by placing it in a colander.
After all the water is thoroughly drained, transfer to a mixer jar and pulse it a few times until it becomes a smooth paste which is not very sticky.
Now we need to steam this ground mixture. So, grease an idli plate with ghee. Heat water in the idli steamer. Take a handful of the ground mixture and roll it into a ball and flatten it and place it in the slots in the idli plate which is greased with ghee.
Place this plate in the idli steamer in which water is boiling.
Close the lid and let it cook on high flame for about 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes, switch off the flame and insert a fork in one of the slots. If the mixture is cooked right, the fork will come out clean.
Transfer this cooked mixture to a plate to let it cool.
After it cools down completely, you can crumble it with your hand. But a mixer grinder does a better job. So we chopped the cooked mixture roughly and transferred to a mixer jar. And pulsed it by pressing the whip/pulse button in the mixer grinder.
After pulsing, you get a slightly coarse powder which has a sandy texture.
Keep this aside and now prepare the jaggery syrup.
Transfer the jaggery to a skillet and add half cup water to it.
Switch on the flame.
Once the jaggery melts and the texture begins to become syrupy, we need to check the consistency of the syrup by adding a spoonful of the syrup to a bowl of water. If the syrup can be rolled into a ball, it is the correct consistency. Take care not to let the syrup turn hard. As soon as you can rll it into a ball, switch off the flame.
Now, add skat, cardamom powder and the cooked and blended chana dal mixture to the jaggery syrup. Add 1 tbsp ghee and mix well.
Switch on the flame. Keep the heat very low and stir continuously for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, switch off the flame and continue to stir for about 5 minutes using the heat of the skillet.
Now heat ghee in a small skillet and fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Add this to the okkarai.
Yummy ukkarai is ready to be served. Enjoy this healthy dessert.
You may want to check out some more Diwali sweets below: