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Monday, April 8, 2013


This is one of those traditional sweet dishes from Andhra, made only at homes and that too for special occasions. Especially the ones that happen to be important chapters in a girl's life like wedding and baby showers. In Andhra brahmin homes, it is mandatory that a newly wed bride carries chalimidi and other goodies to share, when visiting her husband's home for the first time. Chalimidi is said to be a coolant and so, a pregnant woman on 'Seemantham' day (baby shower) receives it from her mother (maternal home). Also some families have this tradition of sending their married daughters with chalimidi, each and every time they visit them, irrespective of how long they have been married. I think there are some festivals as well when this chalimidi is prepared. 

Chalimidi is traditionally prepared using two ingredients - freshly ground rice flour and powdered jaggery, along with the cardamom that enhances the flavor of the dish and the toasted coconuts that give a wonderful crunch to the dish. Don't skip either the cardamom or the coconut from the chalimidi recipe. I remember eating this dish as a child to enjoy particularly those coconut pieces. However if you leave out the coconut, you can prepare even athirasalu / ariselu with the chalimidi you prepared (unless you made it too thin). This can turn into a tricky dish if attention is not paid to the correct consistency of the jaggery syrup. Otherwise, it is not that difficult to master this dish. I have used store brought rice flour to prepare chalimidi a few times and figured out that there is no need to go through all the hassle of preparing rice flour at home. In short, store brought flour works for chalimidi preparation but if you are planning to make ariselu, don't even think about it. The stuff literally melts in oil, when you try to deep fry. 

I personally find this dish very likable but I guess one has to be used to it to like it. In our homes, chalimidi is usually shaped like balls and they are bigger than the ones in the picture above. And as usual, there may be versions of this in the other states. Karnataka has their own version called, "Thambittu". If you have any other versions from your state then let me know through the comments section.

1 cup rice flour
1 cup jaggery powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp ghee
1-2 Tbsp dry coconut pieces

* If you are planning to make your own rice flour, soak the rice for 1 -2 hours, drain and let it dry on a cloth for about 30 minutes or a little more. 
Grind the damp rice finely and sieve it. Collect the fine powder and grind the coarser stuff once again and repeat the sieving step. Use the fine powder to prepare chalimidi. 
* Heat ghee and fry the coconut pieces until they start to turn brown, remove and keep aside.
* Heat jaggery powder and about 1/4 cup water in a pan or a thick bottomed vessel. The jaggery starts to melt and then after cooking for a while (about 10 minutes or more) it starts turning frothy, forming syrup. 

* Cook until the syrup reaches hard ball consistency. (Unda paakam).
To check the correct consistency, take a few tablespoons of water in a small plate or cup. Drop a tiny quantity of syrup into the water. Check whether a ball can be formed using your fingers. If the syrup doesn't melt in the water and a ball is formed, then we got the correct consistency. When you touch the syrup with your fingers and it disintegrates into the water, then some more cooking is needed.

* Add cardamom powder and turn off the stove. Add the rice flour and mix well using a ladle or a big spoon until all the flour is well incorporated into the syrup. Finally add the ghee toasted coconut pieces and mix one more time. When cool to handle, make a ball out of the mixture.
Note: Don't try to cook the rice flour. Turn off the stove before adding the flour.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during this month long marathon.



Akila said...

Nice recipe... Need to try

vaishali sabnani said...

Learnt about this dish from Padma..looks simple with store bought flour..else it surely is lots of effort.Good one.

Rafeeda AR said...

a very interesting dessert...

Srivalli said...

I love this Suma, very nice step by step to showcase this classic dish from Andhra!..

Rajani S said...

Wow...traditions behind foods are always nice to know. I am learning quite a lot with every BM :-).

Chalimidi looks nice.

Priya Suresh said...

Wat a beautiful dish, even padma posted it few days back, very tempting.

Harini-Jaya Rupanagudi said...

Looks good. Actually we don't have this chalimidi tradition in my mom's place but my in-laws follow this tradition..

Vimitha Anand said...

Amma makes this too... Nice one
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Corporate to Kitchen said...

Something new to me. The tradition & also the recipe. Looks nice

Pallavi Purani said...

It is interesting to see how few ingredients make such a delightful goodie

Suchi Sm said...

so interesting post

The Pumpkin Farm said...

nice to know about the traditions, makes it even more special

Nivedhanams Sowmya said...

learning all authentic and traditional recipes.. so good and so mouthwatering..
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Manju said...

Recently read another post too, we do the same without coconut.

Foodiliciousnan said...

Interesting to read about this. Don't think there's anything similar to this in Tambra homes. Nice step by step

veena krishnakumar said...

wow!!!Interesting to read baout the traditions. Looks nice

Pavani N said...

My mom makes the best chalimidi that I've tasted. But I've never tried making it for myself. My mom tried making it while she was here, but my indian blenders are ready to clunck out and it was very frustrating to get a good rice flour. So it's good to know that store bought flour can be used. I'll try it out soon.