6 desserts made of rice for some sweet feasting this Pongal weekend
Pongal is symbolised by grain. And we had this sweet idea — to play around a little with that theme, and curate a list of desserts inspired by an ingredient that would be guaranteed to ‘rice’ to the occasion. From a traditional red rice aval payasam to black crêpes made of rice flour — here are six delicious ways to reap the benefits of this year’s harvest.
Best crêpe secret
Gluten-free and a fun option for those looking for a healthier dessert — is this sweet crepe made of black rice. We love that it arrives paired with a Suzette sauce, which is a classic French orange reduction with the juice from the fruit, zest and marmalade. Served with a generous helping of seasonal fruits on the side, this platter is not only delicious but can be a whole meal! Available on request at Writer’s Cafe, Taramani and Peters Road. Rs 250.
Avalanche of yum
Payasams are a given on Pongal. Unlike run-of-the-mill white rice, we love that the hero of this variant is organic unpolished red aval. Prepared with a combination of ghee, milk, palm jaggery, raisins, crushed cardamoms and condensed milk for some decadence — it might be difficult to stop at one bowl. Available on request at Spice Haat, Hyatt Regency Chennai. Rs 75 for one portion.
The kavuni arisi halwa is a traditional dish found in the Chettinad region — prepared by combining the ground black rice with rich coconut milk, sugar, cardamom powder, coconut milk, ghee and cashew nuts. Back in ancient times, because of the novelty of the rice (cultivated only in some parts of South India and the North east ), it was available only to royalty. Available at Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel only on January 16 as part of the Pongal special virundhu. It can also be ordered as an à la carte dessert on the same day.
Moves like Jaggery
This classic South Indian dessert is a favourite at this time of year. And it’s possibly the easiest on our list to make at home. We’re talking about the Paal kozhukattai aka rice flour stewed in a heavenly brew of coconut milk, jaggery and cardamom. Can you smell that sweet aroma? Available at Dakshin, Crowne Plaza Adyar Park. Rs 525 ++
Hot and cold
Sample this masterpiece: carrot ice cream which represents flavours of carrot payasam, green gram dumpling inspired by the sweet kozhakattai and finally, a unique kavani arisi or black rice pudding sweetened with jaggery and adorned with honey caviar. Best of all, don’t worry about an overdose of sweetness — because this is strategically balanced by the tartness of the eclipsed tomato jam on the plate. Apart from its stunning visual appeal, expect a fun contrast of temperatures and textures. Available as part of a set menu at Avartana, ITC Grand Chola.
Get sticky with it
Sticky rice paired with fruit has proven to be a delicious idea. And we suggest you try every variation till you find your go-to. Soy Soi’s Khao Niew Dum — black sticky rice pudding paired with lychees and tender coconut ice cream is oh so good. The rice is filled with antioxidants and is naturally sweet, with an earthy aroma when cooked. Rs 245. A close cousin of this dish is the Khao Niew Wahn (Thai sticky rice with mangoes) which you can try when in season at Benjarong, otherwise, the dessert is served with seasonal fruits. Rs 218.
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