Ari Unda – Rice Jaggery Balls has a lot of memories for my Husband and his brothers. Let me put it in his own words…
“As a kid, summers used to be the most awaited ones. Because it was time for our summer vacations and the long train journey to Kerala from Bombay where my dad was working. The journey itself was for about 52 hours and while most people will feel bored and tired, we as kids enjoyed every bit of it.
Summer vacations in Kerala were fun with all the time that we would spend on the mango trees or, roaming around with the local boys playing all the indigenous games. 30 days would pass as if it was 24 hours and it would be time for us to go back.
While we all would be sadly preparing for our return journey, my grandma would be busy preparing a wide variety of snacks that she would pack for us to carry. The menu was the same every year but we never got bored of it. In fact we yearned for more.
One of the items in the pack would be ari-unda. She would spend hours making it and we would finish it off in a just a day. Such was the taste of it.”
It was my first experience with this variation of the Laddu. But I absolutely liked it, especially for the spicy flavor it gets because of the cumin seeds used in it. Unda is a form of Laddu that is a favorite of Keralites. But with the changing generations, it is fast becoming a not so preferred one, primarily because of the efforts required to maked it. After all it is the generation of the fast food, you see.
Now onto the recipe..
- Parboiled Rice - 1 Cup
- Grated Coconut - 1 Cup
- Jaggery Grated - 3/4 Cup
- Cardamom Powder - 1/2 tsp optional
- Roasted Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp optional
- Water - as per required
- Clean, wash and drain the rice.
- Roast the rice in a a deep pan on low flame.
- Roast until the rice starts to puff up and crackle and change color to golden brown.
- Remove from flame and set aside to cool.
- Once it gets cold grind it into a powder.
- Add the grated coconut to the rice powder and coarsely grind it together for few seconds in the mixer-grinder and set aside.
- In a pan add grated jaggery and pour water to it as per required and melt it on a low flame.
- Strain and pour it to the rice and coconut mixture.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well.
- Allow the mixture to cool a bit.
- Now take small portions of the mixture and shape it into medium sized balls. (apply little ghee in your hands before making balls to prevent the mixture from sticking).
- Let it cool down and serve along with tea or coffee.
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