Hi All! Its been a hectic 3 weeks for me but finally I'm back to routine. School's started again and summer's almost over - so planning to be back on schedule here at my blog too! Thanks to all of you who keep checking on me! You keep me going.
Let me wish all of you who celebrate - a very joyous Krishna Jayanthi! This is one of my favorite festivals and I always have wonderful memories about this very special day. As kids, we would always be dressed up in Krishna outfits and go around to all the houses in the neighborhood to eat all the gastronomic loot we could find! And then of course, I do love putting the little Krishna feet all over the house and welcoming him into our own homes! And of late, my interest -blame the blogger in me - is all in the delightful specialty food that we prepare just for this day! I'm sure Krishna is probably overwhelmed with all the seedai, appam etc on his bday..but we all do sure love to help him finish his treat! Don't you agree??
There is one thing common between all the Indian festivals - the food is always great! I think I can go ahead and say that's probably true for all festivals all around the world. Where there's celebration, there's always good food and lots of it there! And then the workouts come the next day..or the week after...or the month after..wait..that's almost time for the next festival! Oh well...
Before I go further, I have to thank Shanthi Krishnakumar of Shanthi's Thaligai blog for her wonderful Iyengar bakshanam recipes. I made Thenguzhal, Vella Seedai and Appam from her recipes. They all came out very good. Shanthi Maami...your blog is like "Amma Veedu" for me. Love your traditional Iyengar recipes - thank you for taking the time to pen all these down so that our generation and the coming generations can use them. I always check your blog for pandigai recipes and always do end up making something!
I also made Seeyam from Shanthi's maami's blog. Don't ask me why I call her maami...I know she's not old too - but somehow I can't call her just Shanthi..so my 'maami' is out of respect for her. Ok va, maami?
Seeyam is a very south Indian - Iyengarish thing...I havent' heard of this being popular in other states or cultures. If I'm wrong - let me know. I'd like to know who else has tasted this little piece of heaven!
This seeyam was out of the world (heaven, right?) The filling is just a regular coconut- jaggery filling - but it was the outer coating that made all the difference. Shanthi maami had suggested using a thenguzhal maavu coating for the outside. And so I made the coating just the way she makes her thenguzhal too - and also ended up making thenguzhal today! The more the merrier! Why not!
The next time you make seeyam - make it this way. You'll love these - they do melt in your mouth. No hard spongy elastic coating to bite through - trust me on this one.
And here's a picture of a monstrous piece of jaggery that I got from my indian store this morning - this thing is huge. This is like a weapon of mass destruction by itself - only sweeter! I think I can carve a whole statue of Lord Krishna with this!
And so I just chopped off the sides to prepare for my marathon cooking. And just when I thought I had way too much jaggery...
....another 3/4 of the monster block was left. I don't think I'll finish all this jaggery even after my next Krishna Jayanthi! LOL!
Take about 1/2 cup of jaggery for the seeyam filling.
Heat up the 1/2 cup jaggery in a pan to melt it down. Add a few drops of water to the sweet stuff..
Melt it down until all the lumps are broken up and its a smooth liquid.
Now, add 1 cup of grated coconut to the melted jaggery.
Mix well and keep cooking.
Cook until all the excess water evaporates and the mix starts to thicken up.
Like this. Once they thicken up and start drying out, switch off the stove and move it to another plate immediately.
Let this cool down for a bit.
Then, make small balls out of this.
Now, for the awesome outer coating - this is Shanthi Maami's thenguzhal maavu recipe - but a lot more watery thinned down version.
Take about 1 cup of rice flour - to it add about 1 tbsp of urad flour. You can dry roast some urad daal and then grind it to a fine powder in a mixer. Sieve it before using.
Add a pinch of salt to taste and also a pinch of hing.
Then, add about 1 tbsp of melted butter to this. (remember I told you it was out of this world - now you know why!). Mix gently to incorporate the butter well into the flours. You'll get a crumby textured flour mix.
Then, add water to the flours - enough to get a thin consistency like this below.
Now, gently roll each of the coconut-jaggery balls into the rice flour paste. Make sure the coating is thin - you should almost be able to see the inside from the outside!
Now, deep fry this in hot oil. (oh yeah..now you believe me...this is indeed very good!)
Seeyams are ready! Offer to Lord Krishna - he's the bday boy and all this is in honor of his big day! Once he approves, pick one up and place it in your mouth - and just feel it melt away. I wish you can pick one from here and taste! These were gone first...I wish I had made more of these.
Here are all of my Krishna's at home celebrating their special day! And they are adorned with hibiscus and roses and tulsi leaves from my own garden!
And no Krishna Jayanthi is complete without serving Krishna a dollop of just plain old butter and some sugar. I wonder what his triglyceride level was....
Here's my feast for the day - bakshanams galore.
and some thenguzhal ( not in the traditional smooth shape - more of a manamkombu shape - I could not find my thenguzhal acchu)
Happy Krishna Jayanthi / Janmashtami to all of you.
Enjoy. Peace Out!