A healthy festive drink!
Last Monday we celebrated Akshay Trutiya, a religious occasion which calls for a sweet treat. “Akshay” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and this day falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of the Indian month of Vaishakha and one of the 3 and 1/2 “the most auspicious days” or also known as “Sade-Teen Muhurt” considered by Hindus. It’s believed that Akshay Trutiya was the day when Lord Ganesha started writing epic Mahabharata to Ved Vyasa’s dictation. It’s considered auspicious to start a new venture or a new job, buy new property and jewelry too.
Every year my aajji used to celebrate Akshay trutiya by buying a gold coin and visiting the Vishnu temple. And I used to wait for her to come back so that I could get the prasad – the sweets! She tried making new sweets every time and this Moong Kheer (Porridge) was one of those innumerable treats I have had from her.
Traditionally it’s served warm but I like it chilled too. A very simple lentil kheer with just over 3 ingredients. Easy to make yet rates quite high on healthy spectrum which is quite unusual for an Indian sweet.Here is what you need.
A festive healthy drink! the two words fit in one sentence quite rarely!
- Moong Dal - 1/2 cup
- Jaggery - 3/4 cup powdered
- Ghee - 1 tsp
- Milk - 1 cup
- Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
- Dry Ginger powder - 1 tbspn
- Water - as needed
- Lightly toast the moong dal with some ghee in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Do not let them turn brown. You should be able smell their nutty aroma.
- Add one cup of water to moong dal and pressure cook it for 2 whistels. They should be well cooked with very little water left in your cooking pot. It will have soft and smushy texture.
- Meanwhile, add jaggery in 1/2 cup water an dlet it dissolve completely. Strain the mixture in order to separate any impurities. Keep it aside.
- Using a potato masher or churner, mash the lentils so they become creamy but still have some bits in it.
- Put these cooked lentils and the jaggery solution in a pan and let it come to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn.
- Add the milk and stir till mixed well, and turn up the heat a bit. Bring it to a boil, and let it cook for another minute.
- Take it off the heat and then add the powdered ginger and the cardamom. Stir well.
Let it cool a bit before you pour it in glasses. Serve it warm. This recipe serves 4 to 6 depending on size of serving.
- Toasting helps to bring out the nuttiness which makes the kheer more flavorful. But be careful not to turn them brown or it would overpower the taste.
- Before adding milk, stir frequently as it doen't contain lot of liquid and it may stick to the bottom and burn.
- Add basil leaves and a pinch of saffron before serving. Adds another dimension to the simple flavors.
I recently came to know that this is also known as Parippu Kanji or Paruppu Kanji where “parippu” is lentils and “kanji” is porridge in Tamil and it’s almost synonymous to Shivratri in some communities. I think it completely makes sense. The kheer made of moong dal, a rich source of protein yet easy on digestion system and jaggery which is unrefined sugar, high in energy, added with milk, sounds like a perfect recipe which is light but nutritious for a fasting day. Enjoy your healthy treat!