Ragi Halbai

It has been very busy on personal front. Though there is a lot of cooking happening in the kitchen, there is a dearth of motivation to take pictures and write about my beloved food.  It does not help that Sunny boy is rather picky and I have that small repertoire of recipes that I know he will eat without much fuss. This draft has been lying in my inbox for a long time since Navratri , I thought I did post it today!

Vijayadashami was the culmination of the ten day long Dasara celebrations. Back in Mysore that is also the day of the grant parade from Ambavilas palace to Banni Mantap. I loved watching that parade as a kid. I have not watched it these past few years since the time of the parade has been pushed earlier in the afternoon which is way early in the morning for us here.
Vijayadashami for me brings a mixed back. It is of course the day commemorating the victory of good over , "VIJAYA" it self means victory. But then the same evening our Bombe are put to rest. The following day and perhaps the week end is all reserved to packing them up with lots of love and care and putting them away. So there is a sense of relief that the poojas and all the extra work related to the Bombe habba is finally done but by evening my heart is heavy. This time Sunny boy was adamant that I do not put the Bombe away and that he wanted Bombe habba 'every since day of the year'. He did better get a job at Shankar's doll museum.
This year the offering on Vijayadashami was Halbai, a very traditional, tender burfi which used to break the back to prepare. Traditionally, ragi is soaked in water and ground repeatedly to extract milk. The milk thus extracted is combined with Coconut milk and Jaggery and cooked till the mixture coagulate into this jelly - burfi like goodness! But that is a really long process. Now that she is rather busy my sister has figured out an easy method as well. Just use finely sifted ragi flour and soak it in water for a few hours in lieu of the back breaking process of ragi-milk extraction. So here it is. If a lighter colored Halbai is preferred then stick to the traditional recipe!

We will need,

Ragi flour 1 measure
Jaggery 1 measure
Coconut milk powder 1/2 measure
Ghee 2-4 tbsp
Cardmon seeds (ground) to taste
salt a pinch.

  1.  Sieve the ragi flour using the smallest of mesh strainers. Discard the husky part.  Pour about half a measure of water into the sieved flour and set it aside.
  2. Crush the Jaggery, place it in a narrow bowl and cover it with water, should not be using more half to 3/4 measures of water.
  3. Stir in about 1/4 cup of hot water into the coconut milk power one tablespoon at a time making sure there are no lumps. Once all the hot water is used up, run the mixture through a sieve and make sure there are no lumps left behind.
  4. Once the Jaggery has dissolved, combine the salt, coconut milk, ragi flour mixture and the Jaggery mixture in a think bottomed pan. Place it on medium-low heat. Stir often.
  5. Spread about 1 tsp of ghee on a brownie tin or a plate and set it aside.
  6. The mixture will thicken gradually and starts to resemble molten fudge. It can splatter and will be super hot. Caution is required here.
  7. Pour in the remaining ghee into the hot mixture. Keep cooking till the mixture comes together into a ball and starts to leave sides.  Quickly stir in the ground cardamon seeds. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the greased brownie tin/ plate. Cover and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours for the mixture to set. 
  8. Cut it into squares or desired shapes.

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