Dear readers, Merry Christmas!
DD2 has been asking to make rice crispies for a while now and for some reason or other it never materialized partly because I was not too keen on using marshmallows, I occasionally buy a bag because the kids like them but then which kid doesn't right.
She reminded me again a few days ago. While thinking of ways to avoid using marshmallows it dawned on me to make them with puffed rice and palm sugar. Used equal parts palm sugar and brown sugar (raw cane sugar of the Indian kind, called karumbu sarkarai in Tamil). For pictures of both kinds of sugar see this post. A totally guilt free snack if there can be one. Compared to the golden hue of pori urundai made using jaggery these are a dark brown almost black because of the palm sugar.
The fruit of the palmyra tree (from which palm sugar is made) abundant when we were growing up, a summer time constant in my grandparent's place was harder to find during our most recent visit. I was surprised and sad to hear how these palm trees were dying off due to drought. Once as numerous as the coconut trees that dot the landscape these are much harder to find with just a few here and there. We were lucky to even taste the fruit after paying an arm and a leg. The trees take 50 years at a maximum to bear fruit making it a hard sell among farmers to invest in these trees.
This will be the kick off for recipe marathon or the New Year marathon if you will. I am in good company here.Having never participated in marathons of the physical kind and with the dubious distinction on putting a wringer on DH's aspirations as well by not being enthusiastic enough after his 3rd, this is a chance to redeem myself in the food kind :)
Pori Urundai - Sweetened Puffed Rice Balls
1. 3/4 cups of sugar (I used equal parts palm sugar and brown sugar)
2. 8 cups of puffed rice
3. 1/2 cup of water
4. 1 tsp of ghee for greasing the hand
1. Take a heavy bottomed pan, I used a wide pan so the puffed rice can be mixed in the same pan, add the sugar and water(see Note) and let it boil till the syrup thickens to the stage when dropped in a bowl of water it does not flow and you are able to make a ball. Remove from heat immediately.
[Note: Once the sugar is melted, use a cheesecloth or a cotton towel to filter the sugar liquid to remove impurities (dust, sand etc)]
2. Add puffed rice and mix well, add just enough puffed rice so all of them are coated well.
3. Grease hands with ghee and make balls. Proceed quickly, it cannot be shaped once it cools down.