Belladanna, Rice Pudding

Wishing you all a very happy sankranti. Sankranti, the harvest festival usually means sweet and savory 'pongal',cooked sweet potato, Avarekai and groundnuts. But back in the days of my granny, it was not sweet pongal but belladanna that used to occupy the center stage during Sankranti. Sankranti was also about exchanging Ellu-bella, a mixture of toasted sesame seeds, jaggery, coconut, roasted channa dal and peanuts.Me and my sister used to wear our silk-langa (reshme langa) and go about the neighbourhood exchanging Ellu-bella, sugar cane, banana, sakkare acchu and elchi hannu (ziziphus as it says in Wikipedia).Very typical of me, I had once mixed up Ellu-bella packs to-be-taken-home and to-be-given-away and mom had the surprise of the day to find all our Ellu-bella packs cozily still in my basket. This year should have been a 'bombe-Ellu' for me because of my new born. It is a tradition of distributing a small toy/doll the year a new baby is born. Sadly this is not home and I miss the tradition so much. Memories and traditions apart, these foods are rich in fat and are good during the cooler season. In fact it is surprising that people celebrating Lordhi in Punjab too consume chikkis-sesame seed chikki as well as peanut chikki. That is probably what holds India together despite the diversity...a common thread running inconspicuously.
Apart from Ellu-bella, Sankrati also mean Sakkare Acchhu, moulded sugar candy.
I love the soft ones that mom makes, in all shapes, fruits, animals,tulasi-katte, Mantapa etc. Both my grandmothers are good at making Sakkare acchu but mom is the best. I will reserve the recipe for some other day.
Another tradition associated with Sankranti is 'Kitch haisodu'. It is the 'fire-jumping' cattle. A small fire is lit and domestic cattle are prodded to jump over the fire. The cattle participating in the event are decorated with bells, colours and other trinkets. It is fun to see all the cattle so festive and colourful, though I did rather not see the fire part of it.

For now it is all about Belladanna. It is actually a very rustic and ancient family recipe. Somehow it was forgotten in between. recently mom and Doddamma retrieved the recipe for this dish and have started making it. So me and Honey had it for the first time, courtesy mom. We both liked it. It is not as heavy as sweet pongal but equally satisfying. Best of all, it is good for new mothers as well :)


Rice 1 C
Jaggery 1/3 to 1/2 C
Nutmeg a pinch
Cardamon 1 whole
Coconut grated 1/2 C (optional)
Raisin a handful
Cashew nuts a handful
Ghee 1/4 C

  • Cook rice in 2 cups of water till soft.
  • Bring the jaggery and very little water to a boil and simmer till it attains one thread consistency. (When the syrup is easily stretched into a single thread between two wet fingers. Requires care, the syrup being hot can scald)
  • Mix grated coconut into the syrup.
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pot. Drop the cashew nuts and raisins, fry till light golden in colour. Throw in the whole cardamom. Pour it over the syrup and coconut mixture.Grate a dash of nutmeg into the syrup.
  • Gently fold in the rice while still warm. Serve warm.

Goes to the SHF hosted by a merrier world..


Lakshmi said...

Belladanna looks yummy. Kitchu haisodu nodi decades aythu. Mandyadalli iddaga adanna nodalikke anthane hogthaidvi nodi. Mathe aa dinagalu baralla. Celebrations are not the same these days alwa. Trust you had a wonderful time yesterday.

Rachel said...

Loved reading about the traditional giving...very enlightening.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Savi-Ruchi said...

your post took me down the memory line Smitha. Great info on sankranti. Very true, belladanna is rustic & soo different to taste

Shanthi Krishnakumar said...

awesome click and wonderful recipe

Asha said...

Reminded me of my grandparents who do all the celebrating properly as it should. Great post. Belladanna is to die for.

Vani said...

You're moving to Edison? Wish I was still in NJ so we could have met, S! Portions of it are like little India. Lots of Indian restaurants, shops and grocery stores apart from tons of Indian families living there. Have a safe move!
Beladanna looks yum! Kichchu haisodu is kinda sad for the cows. Wish the fire portion was not there, alva?

Kannada Cuisine said...

@LG,Howdu ri... celebrations are just not the same any more.. My young cousins in Bangalore hardly know what the tradition and Ellu-bella is all about.. they are just as alien as it is to us miles away from home...

@ Thanks Rachel,Sush,Shanti and Ashakka

@ Vani,
Sure alva missed a chance to meet you. Anyway yet another place, yet another move. Let us see how Edison will treat us.

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Looks so yummy.... Happy sankranthi to you dear...

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Rekha A said...

Belladanna, Yummy... Idu tumba simple ide alla re, I will try..

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to trying this - it sounds delicious. And it's lovely to read all about the traditions associated with the food.
Thanks for entering SHF :-)