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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hayagreeva


The name Hayagreeva stands for two important things in the Madhwa Brahmin community of Karnataka - a deity and a sweet dish.
The belief is that Lord Hayagreeva or Hayavadana is an avatar of Vishnu and is the god of knowledge and wisdom. He is a god with human body and a horse's head and hence the name. According to the religious belief, he is brilliant white in color, adorns white garments and sits on a white lotus.
And hayagreeva also happens to be a delicious sweet item that is commonly prepared during the religious celebrations at Madhwa homes and temples (Rayara mata / Raghavendra Swamy temple).
One of my close pals whom I have known since my preschool days happens to be a Madhwa brahmin. Her mother introduced me to this delicacy, which remains to be one of my favorite dishes even for today. My friend would always remember to invite me over to her house whenever her mother made hayagreeva or would lure me with this if she wanted me to visit her. :) Thanks Kala.
Three ingredients remain constant in hayagreeva preparation - the chana dal, jaggery and the dry coconut. Some versions use poppy seeds as well but that is not mandatory. I don't remember my friend's mother ever using it. Ditto with ghee. If you are not counting calories, you can liberally use it or use sparingly as I did. And of course there is cardamom for flavor like the rest of Indian sweet dishes. Though the list of ingredients used strike a resemblance to the other delicacy of the Indian region, the chana dal kheer, the two dishes are way apart. Hayagreeva doesn't use milk and is fairly on the thicker side when done. The dal is cooked until just done so that the shape of the dal is retained in the end product.
When Design a Menu - 2 was announced and I saw chana dal in the list, I knew what was going to be my dessert. In fact, I have a whole menu with chana dal alone but since that is not the rule, we will go with this for the dessert part.


And also linking this to Akila's Dish name starts with H.


Ingredients for 4 - 5 servings:
1 cup chana dal
Jaggery powder to taste (1 - 1.5 cup depending upon the sweetness preferred)
1/2 cup grated copra / dry coconut
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 Tbsp ghee roasted cashews and raisins (optional)

Method:
* Cook chana dal in a pressure cooker adding 2 cups of water. The chana dal should not turn mushy but still hold their shape when cooked.
* Add the cooked chana dal, jaggery, grated dry coconut and cardamom powder to a sturdy pan or non stick pan. Start cooking on medium flame till all the jaggery melts and gets incorporated into the chana - coconut mixture. Turn off the stove.
* Add the toasted raisins and cashews if using.

Note:
Don't add water when jaggery is added since hayagreeva should be a thick mass. And also the chana dal should hold its shape. Mine was a little mushy since I added overnight soaked chana dal.


16 comments:

savitha ramesh said...

new to me.but gorgeou looking dessert.

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

what a wonderful explanation. And the dessert looks absolutely mouth watering. I love your bowls too :)

Preety said...

i can finish the whole bowl right now:)..

harini-jaya said...

Love the traditional sweets anytime. Thanks for sending it to the event. Love the bowls :)

SouthindianHome said...

Wonderful dish. I love this dessert so much. It almost ages since I made this
South Indian Home

Kurinji said...

Wow delicious and yummy dessert
Kurinjikathambam, Event : HRH-Healthy Summer, Roundup : HRH-Puffed Rice

Prathibha said...

I did not know the story behind it but even we prepare this at home and is one of my favorite sweet from childhood..I was under the impression that it was our community special..hmm..gr8 2 know the story behind it..

Priya said...

Wat an authentic sweets,have it anytime without any hesitation..just love it..

Kairali sisters said...

Very new to me and i couldnt even read the name properly i guess :P, whatsoever looks absolutely yummmm

Shanavi said...

Looks so fantastic Suma.. So authentic and dicine !! a good neivedyam !!

Smitha said...

I dont know if my previous comment went thru!...
It looks soo good...I have heard about but never made it!....I can taste it in my mouth now!

Smitha
Smitha's Spicy Flavors

Krithi's Kitchen said...

Yummy and decadent dessert.. so good..
http://krithiskitchen.blogspot.com
Breakfast Club - Pancakes - Roundup

Pavani said...

I've heard abt it but never tried it. Dish looks delicious. Enjoy ur weekend.

Sobha Shyam said...

Excellent dessert..loved it :)

Suparna said...

hi,
Your connection with this sweet dish seems quite similar to mine :P as you, this dish seems to me one of my top favorites, I'd done it referring LG's blog :P

jayasree said...

Love these traditional desserts...Looks delicious