Pradhaman is a sweet dish prepared with jaggery and coconut milk. It is sweet , like a custard and tastes absolutely earthy and divine. This is the vegan version of Palada, if you substitute the little amount of ghee used for frying the garnishes with coconut or any flavorless oil .
Jaggery is the un-distilled concentrated sap or juice from sugar cane or palms . These are predominantly used in the Indian subcontinent and SriLanka. This is the home made country sugar of yore , much before sugar factories and the bleaching process came to be. In south India Jaggery from sugar cane is favored. One can still find the large outdoor stoves and vats used to make jaggery among the fields . The end product is very much like unbleached sugar with the molasses added in. In a pinch that is what to substitute with.
Few words on Coconut Milk Traditionally fresh coconut milk is used. Lukewarm water is added to grated coconut is and the milk is squeezed out. This process is repeated at least 3 times . The milk from each extraction is kept separate. The first one being the thickest. If you let this milk sit for sometime the coconut cream settles on top . Consider the first extraction similar to the cream that settles on top of the canned coconut milk. For a detailed description on how to make fresh coconut milk click here.
Use either fresh or store bought ada. Here you can find my quick and easy way for home made ada. If store bought follow the package instructions or soak in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes , rinse and drain.
Jaggery needs to be melted before using. For this take the jaggery in a pan add about a half cup of water and melt over low heat . Strain the melted jaggery into the pot with ada. Traditionally jaggery is made in large vats set among the sugar cane fields. It is quite possible to find bits of sugarcane and other impurities in the mix. So straining the melted jaggery was an essential step.
If you are using fresh coconut milk add the 3rd extraction (and the 4th as well ,if you have) to the mix and bring to boil. The fresh coconut milk is added in order starting with the thinnest version first. The thick or the first extraction of the milk is used to finish the dish , and not boiled. If using the canned version , remove half the settled cream and mix in the rest and skip the next step .
The 1st extraction of coconut milk (thick coconut milk) is added towards the final few minutes of cooking. The pradhaman is not allowed to boil after this, it is brought to a gentle simmer and taken off the heat. The cardamom powder and half of the fried garnishes ar e mixed in at this point.
To make the fried garnishes – heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of ghee (or oil ) and roast the coconut bits and cashew nuts till golden brown and the raisins till they are puffed up.
- 2 C Ada soaked if dry
- 1 Coconut
- 1 lb Jaggery 500 gm
- 1/4 C Broken Cashew Nuts
- 1/4 C Raisins
- 4- 6 Green Cardamom Pods
- 2 Tbsp Coconut bits
- 3- 4 Tbsp Ghee/Oil
- If using dry ada Soak in warm water to 20 to 30 minutes , rinse and drain .
- Melt the jaggery in 1/2 C water over low heat .
- Extract the coconut milk and and keep each extraction separate. Refer to notes if using canned milk or powder.
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil or ghee in a thick bottomed pan and toss the ada in it . Add the melted jaggery and the 3rd extraction. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes .
- Add the second extraction and simmer for 5 minutes .
- Crush the cardamom seeds to a fine powder. Fry the raisins , cashew nuts and coconuts in 2 Tbsp oil/Ghee and reserve .
- Add the 1st extraction to the Pradhaman and once the bubbles appear on the sides turn off the heat . Do not allow it come to come to boil . Mix in the cardamom powder and half the fried garnishes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
- Transfer to serving bowls, sprinkle the remaining garnish on top and serve .
- For Canned Coconut Milk - Remove half the cream and mix the rest . Use as 1st and 3rd extraction . Skip the second step .
- For Coconut Milk powder - Follow package instruction for 1st extraction , double and triple the quantity of water for second and third extractions .
- Adjust the cook times for desired consistency
- You can avoid cooking the ada in ghee/oil .
- Pradhaman thickens a little as it cools.
This one was for Onam – as for Sadya . Pradhamans like these and the thicker versions like Nei Payasam are often served with small bananas like apple banana or finger bananas and fried papadams. The fruity and savory flavors provide a nice contrast to the creamy sweet pradhaman.