Local to Kerala, these chewy, lightly granular sweet rice balls are made by binding green mung bean flour and rice flour with cashews, coconut, raisins, and cardamom, using melted ghee and jaggery syrup. Their flavor profile—sweet but strongly spiced—is typical of South Indian sweets. At the Attukal Pongala festival, where they’re created as an offering to a Hindu goddess, they’re steamed in special pans with individual divots, but a bamboo steamer or steamer insert works just as well.
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbspjaggery
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated coconut
- 1⁄2 cup green mung bean flour
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
- 2 tbsp. ghee
- 1⁄4 cup golden raisins
- 1⁄4 cup chopped cashews
- In a small pot over medium-high heat, add the jaggery and ¼ cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the jaggery dissolves.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, add the rice flour, coconut, mung bean flour, and cardamom and stir to combine.
- In a small pan over medium-high heat, warm the ghee. Add the raisins and cook until plump, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the raisins to the rice flour mixture, then add the cashews to the warm ghee. Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, 2–3 minutes. Transfer the cashews and the remaining ghee to the rice flour mixture.
- Add the syrup to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Slowly add ¼ cup water and stir until a thick dough forms.
- Prepare a steamer. Meanwhile, scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough and, using your hands, form the pieces into 14 evenly sized balls.
- Place the balls in the steamer and cook, covered, until they appear glossy, 25–30 minutes. Serve warm.