‘Vella payaru’, like many Indian sweets I posted earlier is also jaggery based. It is naturally fat-free, and healthy, and is a traditional sweet offered as ‘prasadam’ (prashad or neivedyam) during any pooja. I had posted a while back that Autumn is a harbinger of festivals in India, and right now we are in the middle of ‘Navaratri’, which marks the worship of nine female deities, each representative of a different aspect of womenhood. Tamilians in general, and Tambrahms (Iyer & Iyengar) in particular make an offering of different types of sundal (chundal). Sundal is a quick stir-fry of various legumes, seasoned with mustard and curry leaves, and garnished with fresh coconut. It is usually a savoury dish. These legumes are also used to cook sweet dishes, with jaggery and coconut and are known by different names.
When we cook black-eyed-peas in a sweet roast, we call it ‘vella payaru’. It literally translates as ‘jaggery with black eyed peas’. This is the offering I made today as prasad or bhog. It is a very tasty dish, and gets done in minutes.
Since I am blogging a dish every day, I am not able to plate and style as well as I would like to. It is a time consuming, though enjoyable activity, but definitely not on work-days. However, this morning both Jr.P and Jr.H were at home when I was taking photographs, and Jr.P did not like the way I had piled up the sweet. He wanted to do something fancy, and today’s presentation is totally his styling. What do you think? I am terribly proud of the lad! The tower crumbled after some time but held long enough for me to take some good photographs.
IF you cannot find jaggery use toddy palm sugar, Coconut palm sugar, Gula Melaka if you reside in S.E.Asia, and whole cane sugar or voll-rohrzucker if you are in Germany. Adjust sweetness.
Recipe: Vella Payaru [Black eyed peas in a jaggery based sweet]
Yield: Serves 4-5 portions
Allergy information: Does not contain gluten, dairy, nuts, casein, lactose or grains. Suitable for all. It is also free from refined sugar
Black eyed peas | Lobia | Chowli | Roongi | Payaru – 1.5 cups | 250g
Powdered jaggery – 1 cup | 164g
Fresh, scraped, coconut – 1/2 cup, pressed | 45g
Dry roast black eyed peas well on even flame in a wok, till aromatic and lightly speckled with brown. Add water and pressure cook on high pressure for three whistles. Let cooker cool naturally. Drain the residual liquid from the legumes.
Place the wok back on heat and add jaggery. Add a tbsp. of water and melt jaggery completely, stirring all the while on medium to low flame.
When melted, strain through a muslin cloth to separate impurities. Clean out the wok and put back on heat with the strained jaggery.
Add coconut and black eyed peas, and cook, stirring all the while, on low heat, till the mixture turns dry, about 10-15 minutes.
Optional: Add podded and pounded cardamom from 4-5 pods, if desired.