Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sweet Cheeyum | Sweet Deep Fried Dumplings | Happy Tamil New Year

Wish you all a very happy Tamil New Year. Inniya Puthandu Nal Vazhthukal! There are so many Chettinadu sweet varieties in my "to-make" list and its becomes a good routine to use these happy and auspicious days to choose one of the dishes from the list. Today it was Sweet and Masala Cheeyum also known as Seeyum. If I have to translate this dish to english I would call them sweet deep fried dumplings. The sweet stuffing is made of moong dal, jaggery and coconut which is bound together to form a ladoo. This ladoo is dipped in rice-urad dal batter and deep fried. The advantage about this recipe is all the prep work can be done a couple of days in advance and on the day of the festival it takes only 15 minutes to finish the deep frying. The left-over raw rice-urad dal batter can be seasoned with onions, green chillies and made into a savoury item - Masala Cheeyum, so all in all two dishes for the work of one! :)


Serves - Makes about 10 pieces
Prep Time - 30 min + 2 hrs soak time
Cook time - 15 minutes

For the sweet stuffing

Moong Dal [Green Gram Dal] - 1/2 cup
Crumbled Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut - 1/3 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 Tsp
ghee - 1 Tsp

For the batter

Raw Rice - 1/2 cup
Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Water as per need

How do you do it

1. To prepare the sweet stuffing, boil the moong dal until its 3/4 done. Make sure to drain the moong dal of all the water, let it dry for 15-20 minutes. Cool the dal completely and give it a few pulses in your food processor so that it crumbles. Make sure it doesn't become a paste. Just a few quick pulses for it to break down.

2. Heat a kadai, flame must be medium level. Add the broken/crumbled jaggery and sprinkle 2-3 tbsp of water on top of it. Let the jaggery loosen a little and form a thick syrup.

3. Add the dal, grated coconut, ghee to the pan now and mix everything well. Saute in low-medium flame for a few minutes until it forms a thick mass.

4. Switch off flame and mix in the cardamom powder. Cool the mixture.

5. Once cooled, make small lemon sized balls and keep them aside.

6. To prepare the batter, soak the rice and dal in enough water for 2-3 hours. Drain completely and grind to a smooth paste with as little water as possible. I used about 1/4 cup water while grinding. Add a pinch of salt, mix well keep aside.

7. Take half of the above batter in a bowl. Save the remaining batter to make masala cheeyum. The consistency of the batter should be little thicker than dosa batter consistency. So add water to get to that consistency. Adding too much water will make it very loose and the sweet balls will not coat well and the cheeyum might soak a lot of oil.  On the other hand if the batter is too thick, you will get a very thick outer layer, so be cautious in this step. Start with little water and then you can add more after testing a few pieces.

8. Heat a kadai with oil for deep frying. Maintain the flame in medium level. Dip the ball in the batter, coat it well with batter and drop them in oil. Deep fry to a golden brown and drain them using a slotted spoon. Put them on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.

Note: Bite into one of fried cheeyum. If you feel the outer batter layer is thick, add little water to make the batter loose, you will get a much thinner outer layer.

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