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Adirasams studded with sesame seeds

In South India, festivals are defined by the food that is made for each one. Adirasam is one such sweet that is made on all important occasions and is especially cooked to perfection during Deepavali.

Made with rice flour and jaggery, this seemingly simple dessert is backed by an elaborate and tedious process. It takes hours of patient and skilled working to dole out a batch of good adirasams, and a single bite into these sweet disks makes the entire festival come together.


Adirasams are native to the Tamil Nadu, although they are made even in Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, of course, under different names. Unofficially, they are the souvenirs one would take home from Chennai. Their origin can be traced back to the Vijayanagar Kingdoms, under the rule of King Krishna Devaraya. Nonetheless, they are something that all Tamilian households take great pride in. Being able to cook is an incomplete skill if one does not know how to make a good adirasam.

The detail that this recipe demands is what makes it tedious. But once the process is mastered, it is a delight to make. Known as kajjaya in Kannada, adirasams are made a little smaller and sometimes with sugar. Image credit: tasty appetite

The recipe involves working at least a night before making the dessert. Raw rice is washed three times and soaked for a few hours. It is then drained and left to dry. When the rice is ground, it has to be absolutely moisture-free. Cardamom powder is added to the mixer. Jaggery is heated on a pan and dried ginger is added. The mixture must reach soft-ball consistency. This is a crucial step.

Once the syrup is ready, it is strained and mixed with the flour. It is left to cool, after which it can be kneaded and rolled into small balls. These spheres are laid out on a banana leaf, greased with oil, and flattened. These are then fried in oil and drained.

The detail that this recipe demands is what makes it tedious. But once the process is mastered, it is a delight to make. Adirasam in Tamil translated to mirth or happiness that is unbound. This sweet confection certainly tastes like joy when one sinks their teeth into its crisp crust and soft, sweet interior.

Keywords: Adirasam, Diwali Sweet, Tamil Nadu, Festival


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