Friday, April 25, 2008

Ariselu or Athirasallu ~ with Love!

When I named my blog as Cooking for all Seasons, I never really had more than a minute to decide on it. But I guess, it came from within. Because that's what life is all about right, we cook for all seasons. Seasons change, our needs changes. But the essence that goes into making great cooking never does! Amma's food is always loved and sought by anybody who gets to taste it. I feel that's because she takes so much care in preparing them. Let it be for whatever occasion or for whomever, it always comes out perfect! Yet I have never heard her saying that she knows everything, she is always ready to learn a new thing that she can cook for her family! I am privileged that I had the opportunity to learn cooking from her, apart from many things in life. The unconditional love that comes, in being a mother, yes that's the extra spice that she always adds in her cooking, and in everything else she does.

Apart from my parents, there have been few others, who have left lasting impressions on my mind. One such person was Ammamma. In the spring of my life, I met Ammama, who was in her autumn. Actually I don't remember her name! I call her Ammama because her grandchildren called her so. And she never treated me any different from them. I must've been about 11, when they moved into our flats. Aunty was Dad's colleague and Uncle was a lecturer. They had two children, very adorable ones. The girl must be about 3 or 4 years younger than me and the boy was much younger. I used to call them Appe and Shok. Since Aunty was always busy, Ammama took care of everything and she did it wonderfully. Just thinking back on those many summers, spent happily at their home, lapping on Tintin, Asterisk besides other things, makes me ache for those lovely days.

Garralu, Boorallu, Poorillu and what not, were some of the yummy things, we used to get treated during that time.. Even now when I eat vada with Avaakkai, I remember them. Ammama had lot of tricks and tips on making soft Chappatis and she used to tell me about them. I guess even then, she knew I am going to be one cranky foodie! With so much interaction every moment, it felt we were all one big family. As Shok was not old enough to climb up to our house, I used to carry him often and we used to play at our home. Those were the fun part. Amma used to make so many goodies for us. Then we used to go down and again feast on the things Ammama would've made for us. Of all the wonderful things, Ammama used to make, most loved were her instant Athirasallu or Ariselu. They were simply out of the world. She always had a ready stock of the dough and used to make them on demand. Traditionally Athirasallu are supposed to be difficult and tedious progress but she used to make them appear so simple and easy. Amma, also makes the regular ones, but these were different I guess, in that you don't have to bother about the pakam or the consistency of jaggary syrup.

Ah, those fives years were the best of my childhood. Aunty, for all the busy schedule she had, still used to find time make lovely frocks for Appe, with all beautiful embroidery. How I wish I had got one made for myself, I was too shy to ask, but I still have the scalpel she gave me. Few tokens of wonderful childhood!

When I read about Jhiva and the theme for this month, being dedicated to Pedatha, I knew I had to write about Ammama. I felt this post was long pending, but this is the most apt time to pay tribute. I feel sad that I have lost contact with them, as they have since relocated. But recently I came to know that my cousin is now in the college where Aunty teaches, I thought of calling her, but time just flew! But luck is on my side, I was able to get Ammama picture and also managed to make these late last night. Though until this morning, I wasn't sure if I will be able to make this post. But I am very happy that I did manage finally.

Finally here it is, Athirasallu as Ammama used to make. These have coloured my childhood with golden syrup of love.



For those who don't know what these are, Athirasallu or Ariselu are traditional south Indian sweet, prepared during Festivals like Sankarnthi, Deepavalli. They are made with Rice flour and Jaggary syrup.

I made very small quantity, as this is the first time I am making it. I could've asked Amma to make these, but I was very particular that I make them myself. And I was so very happy once I was done.

Normally for Athirasallu, rice is soaked, shade dried and ground. I remember my parental and maternal grannies making these, in large quantities in a big stone grinder. I have seen Amma making these and grinding them in mixie. But I wasn't able to follow any of it. I made these with the rice flour we have ground and store.

I am writing both the recipes as given by Amma and what I finally made for record.

Amma's recipe for regular Athirasam

Amma's recipe is with 1 Kg of rice. So you can adjust as per your requirement. With 1 kg, you get about 30 to 40 Athrasams of normal puri size. You got to use paku or pagu bellam or jaggary.

Ingredients Needed

Rice - 1 kg
paku jaggary - 750 gms
Sesame Seeds - 2 tsp
Gasa gasa or Poppy Seeds - 1 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp

Method to prepare.

Soak rice for 6 hrs and then shade dry it. Meaning it should not become dry but should still have some wetness in the rice. You can either grind this to fine powder using your mixie or give to mill. The rice flour should have that texture of soft and wet feeling when you take a handful and also it should kind of retain your fist shape. Hope you understand what I am saying. This is very important because if the flour is very dry it wouldn't turn out well.

Have all the things ready when you put the jaggary for cooking.

Take water that is enough to dilute jaggary. Cook it so that the jaggary is also dissolve. Remove any impurities that may be present. Then again cook till the pakam is ready. The consistency here is also very important. Hope you know that pakam is calculated as threads. So after 3 thread, when the jaggary is really cooked well, it become thick. When you take a bit and put it in water, you should be able to make a ball of it. This is when you know the pakkam is ready.

Remove from fire, and add poppy seeds, sesame seeds and cardamom. Mix well. Then slowly add the rice flour and keep mixing well. The consistency is very important, so you need to add the flour little by little so that you have enough jaggary. Some flour might remain, so problem Important factor is you should get the consistency of Chappatis dough.

Divide into lemon size balls and a greased top roll out the balls with hands smeared with oil.

Heat oil for frying and slowly drop these circles into the hot oil. You can simmer for a while until you know the inside is cooked. Turn to the other side and cook till its golden in colour. If you are cooking alone, you can roll out one by one and cook. Else it might get burnt. Once done, remove and drain on a Kitchen towel.


My method: As Ammama used to make

I got about 8 as shown in the picture!

Ingredients Needed

Rice Flour - 1 glass (standard measurement)
Jaggary - 1/2 glass
Coconut grated - 2 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Water - 1/2 glass
Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp

Oil for deep frying.

Method to prepare:

I had the Achu vellam, so grated and added water just enough to cover them. Cooked on high and removed the scum. Then added the cardamom powder. Once it starts boiling, add the grated coconut. You will see lot of bubbles coming out.

At this stage, add the Rice flour slowly and stir it together well. You will know when the consistency is correct, so till then you got to keep adding the flour, but I used up the entire glass of flour.

The beauty of this dough is, you can store and use whenever you want. If it becomes too hard, just add about 2 tsp of water along with 2 tsp of sugar. Get it to boil, while you keep stirring it. The mix should become soft again. When you handle it, it should come together as a soft dough. Divide it to equal balls.

Heat a kadai with oil to deep fry these. In a greased plastic sheet, pat them down to equal sized circles. Press down the sesame seeds over the top. Once the oil is hot, gently drop these into them. Fry on both sides. Since the sesame seeds are just pressed over the top, they will get into the oil. If you want to avoid this, try adding to the dough.

Once they are golden brown, remove and drain them on a kitchen towel.They will be soft when you remove them, will become crunchy once they are cooled.

The regular ones are normally soft and oily, but these were crunchy and no oil at all!

Konda was absolutely trilled that I made these, as she loves them a lot! So will be making these again!

I would like to thank Indira for this event, and Jigyasa and Pratibha, for choosing this lovely theme, what is life without food and food without love!

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26 comments :

Priya Arun said...

Dear Srivalli,

That was a lovely post. I guess all of us have some food memory associated with our childhood.

It was great to read. Btw, is this the same as athirasam ?

Best Wishes,
Priya

Srivalli said...

Priya, thank you!..I have updated the post!..my mom's is the regular one. And what I made is the instant and simpler one

Rajitha said...

Srivalli..what a lovely write-up..your love and emotions shone thru this one :)

kamala said...

Lovely post srivalli.It reminds me think of childhood days.Athirasam is my fav.Never made instant one.Definitely will try

sra said...

That's a nice photo! And you have some energy! Ariselu in the night!

shriya said...

Srivalli, that's a nice post. Athirasam is one of my fav sweet. My mom used to make this for diwali. And adding sesame seeds is something new, ll try this sometime. Pics are really inviting,I am craving for it now. :-)

Uma said...

wonderful post, srivalli! so well done! lovely recipe!

Cham said...

Deep thought about ammama! beautiful sweet too, adding coconut is new to me:) Lovely Ariselu Srivalli

Divya Vikram said...

this is my favorite too..my grandma makes these often for me..And nice post too Srivalli

Rina said...

Wow, Srivalli this is gr8. I really miss those days when my Grandmothers made Ariselu with bellam in Vizag.. I prefer vellam to sekkarrai. In chennai I only had store Athirasa. Bookmarked to try.

Vanamala said...

Lovely post..nice to read :)
&
fantastic recipe

Kalai said...

What a wonderful, touching post, Valli! Athirasams look wonderful. I'm still intimidated to make these as my MIL is the athirasam queen, but your Ammamma's instant version looks pretty simple! :)

Arundathi said...

Valli - that was a lovely post. I love Adhirasam and had no idea it was simple to make! :) Thanks!

Vaishali said...

Srivalli, That was a lovely post. It also brought back many memories of my lovely mom-in-law who made the most delicious adhirasams. It is quite a treat.

Suganya said...

Athirasam is one thing I wouldn't try without elder's supervision. It is so tricky. This shows how much of an expert you have become :). I am sure your Amma and Ammamma are proud.

Sandeepa said...

Thats a sweet post Sri, I have never had this sweet but the memories you have with it are so wonderful I want to have some

Cynthia said...

Dearest Srivalli, this was such a wonderful tribute and the love and care is evident on her smiling face. Such wonderful memories to keep you warm, secure and safe. Thank you for sharing it with us.

satya said...

I remember elders in the family dedicating one whole day to make ariselu.:D
Thanks for bringing out a traditional recipe and for sharing your nice memories with us Srivalli.

Divya said...

Lovely post Sri...
And do check out my blog..Surprise!!!

Sig said...

That is such a loving tribute... Ammama looks lovely!

Kamini said...

Srivalli,
What a lovely tribute to a beloved person from your childhood!
Kamini.

Bhags said...

Ah! those fond childhood memories...:)

These are my fav south indian delicacies....seems to be a very big deal making them

Mallika said...

Hi Srivalli - what is pedatha and the first thing you mention in the second version of the recipe? I remember eating these on holiday in Chennai and would love to try your Ammamma's recipe.

Madhuram said...

Thanks for stopping by Srivalli.

Lovely write about amamma. So thoughtful of you to remember her and write about her in detail. I really wish that you are able to contact them again.

Srivalli said...

Rajitha, Thank you..glad I was able to infuse that!

kamala, thanks..do try and let me know

sra, hahah...yeah anything for a blog event!

shriya, thanks!...glad this brought back memories

Uma, thank you!

Cham, yeah I have never had it other than from Ammama..

Divya, thank you!

Rina, my pleasure!..do try this out..pretty easy

Vanamala, thanks!...:)

Kalai, thank you...yeah what our elders do are a class of its own...while this is pretty simple!

Arundathi, yep it was quite easy..I was surprised by it

Vaishali, wow..thats lovely to know!

Suganya, hahhaah...thanks for the words!...hope so!

Sandeepa, thank you my friend...do try this out sometime...its quite easy!

Cynthia, I am so glad you came around here..thanks

satya, yep I remember too! those days are great!...its been my pleasure!

Divya, oh thank you so much!

Sig, thank you..and yes she is

Kamini, Thank you ..so glad I did this post!

Bhags, yes they are always there...and its no big deal!

Mallika, Pedatha in telugu means Elder sister..and in here it refers to
Pedatha, the motivating person behind the book, Cooking with Pedetha!...

and I hope you are referring to achu vellam, not sure which part you are talking abt...if its achu vellam, its a type of jaggary that comes in cube shape. Normally, jaggary comes as balls, but this one gets made as a cube sort of

let me know if you are referring to something else

Madhuram, thanks for dropping by..yeah I too wish I will do it someday!

Pooja said...

Hi srivalli mee ariselu recipe copy chesaru find the link http://telugu-recipes.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html

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