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Friday, March 15, 2013

Masala Cheeyam

Masala Cheeyam is again a very famous Chettinad Evening Snack.  Takes it place along with the Medu wadas and Vellai Paniyaram.  It is made using a mix of rice and urad dal batter. It is crispy from outside and soft inside.  My mother and grandmother say that it should be like a koodu inside, i.e. like a crisp covering for a soft ball.  It is a very forgiving snack, does not absorb much of oil and does not create much of problem if you add in a bit more water.  It is very simple and easy to make.  Try it out in your kitchen to taste this delicious soft crispy balls.  Also please go through the note section so that you can get the perfect cheeyams.


Raw Rice - 1 cup
Urad Dal - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste

For Tempering
Onion - 1 big (finely chopped)
Green Chilies - 5 to 7 (finely chopped)
Coconut grated - 1/4 cup
Oil - for tempering + frying
Mustard Seeds - 1 t.sp


1)  Wash and Soak the rice and dal for about 2 to3 hours.  Grind it to a smooth and fine batter, using little water.

2)  In a kadai heat some oil for tempering.  Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.  Add the onion, green chillies and cook till the onion becomes translucent.

3)  Add the coconut and required salt, saute for another 2 minutes.

4)  Add the mixture to the batter and mix well.

5)  Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying.  When the oil is hot enough drop the batter in the oil using your palm and fingers.

6)  Fry the small ball in batches.  Fry till they are golden brown.  Drain and remove them to an absorbent paper.

7) Serve hot with red chilli tomato chutney.

Sending it to the T&T : Classic Chettinad Event.

Note  :   Add little water grinding.  In the end when you are ready to fry them in the oil, you can add more if required.  It should fall of from your finger tips loosely.  Just a little bit of push should be enough for it to fall like balls in the oil.  

If there are long thin strips forming on the cheeyams that means your batter is too watery.  For such situations, always keep some batter without adding water, handy.  So that you can add it to the watery batter and adjust the consistency. 

If the cheeyams are turning out hard inside after frying that means you can add still some more water.  Adjust the consistency of the batter by adding water little by little.

Freezing Tips :
After grinding the dough.  Transfer it into a freezer safe box / air tight box and put it in the freezer.  Do not add salt or other ingredients.

When you want to use it, remove it from the freezer, bring back to room temperature and use it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kavuni Arisi Payasam - Method 2

Kavuni Arisi from Chettinad is also known as "Karuppu Arisi".  For more info on Kavuni Arisi and how it looks, please click the link here.  Already I have a post on Kavuni Arisi Payasam, here I am putting down another method to make it.  Both the methods are yum.  Try it the way you like.  Here is the other method.


Kavuni Arisi - 1/4 cup (soaked for about 4 to5 hours)
Water - 2 cups
Milk - 1 litre
Sugar - 1 cup
Milkmaid - 1/4 cup (optional)
Thick Coconut Milk  - 1 cup


1)  Cook the rice in a pressure cooker for about 30 minutes or for about 10 to 15 whistles. You can cook it using only water or half milk and half water.

2)  Let the pressure go off and the rice cool down.

4)  In a sauce pan or in a heavy bottomed pan boil the milk.  Simmer it till it has decreased to 3/4 of it original quantity.

3)  Reserve about  1 tb.sp of the cooked rice and coarse grind the rest of it using milk.

4)  Add the grinded rice to the milk and keep cooking for about 5 minutes.

5)  Add sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.

6)  Add the condensed milk, bring to boil and put off.

Note :

I normally reserve a small quantity of the cooked rice about 1 cup whenever I make Kavuni Arisi for making payasam later.  If you are just making the Payasam then go for the other method.

I like to dissolve the sugar seperately, make a little thick syrup and then add it to the payasam.

You can use coconut milk instead of condensed milk, but do not let it boil after adding the coconut milk.

Do not let the milk stick to pan at any point of time, it gives a burnt smell.

After adding the grinded rice, cook the whole process on low or medium heat and keep stirring in between.


Kavuni Arisi is a very special dish in chettinad.  I has its origin from the Burmese influence of Chettinad. No Chettinad function is complete without Kavuni Arisi in its menu.  Kavuni Arisi is made from a dark violet glutinous rice, which is a very rich source of "Vitamin B".  It is available in Tamil Nadu in many of the shops.  You have to ask for "Karuppu Arisi".  Otherwise available in Singapore and Malaysia.  Sree Krishna Sweets also used to make Halwa from this rice and was named as "Apsi Halwa".  Nowadays we also make payasam which also tastes excellent.  Its very easy to make, uses very less ingredients and is very delicious.

Here is a snap of the raw rice of how it looks.

Kavuni Arisi - 1 cup (soak overnight)
Water - 3 cups
Sugar - 2 cups
Coconut grated - 1/2 cup

1)   Pressure cook the soaked rice in 3 cups of water for about 30 minutes.

2)   After the pressure is released mash the rice nicely with your ladle.  You can reserve about 2 to 3 tb.sp of the unmashed rice and mash the rest.

3)   Now add sugar and coconut.  Cook till it reaches a thick consistency.

4)   Serve hot or cold.

5)   If you are planning to prepare for guests, you can prepare it a day ahead and keep it in a air-tight refrigerator and serve hot or cold next day.  This way the rice also absorbs the sweetness of the sugar.

6)   Both ways, whether served on the same day or next day it tastes great.