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 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 .
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 .
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan and lightly toast the drained Ada. If the homemade ada is very delicate , just turn off the heat and stir a few times. The intent here is to coat all pieces with a little oil , to prevent them from sticking to each other .
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. If you are using fresh coconut milk add the 3rd extraction (and the 4th as well ,if you have). Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes . If using the canned version , remove half the settled cream and mix in the rest and skip the next step .
Now is the time to add the second coconut milk extraction. Bring it back to boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. This is the time to taste and adjust the amount of jaggery .
Remove the seeds from cardamom pods and crush to a fine powder.
In a small pan heat up 1 to 2 tablespoons of ghee and roast the coconut bits , raisins and cashews .
Add the 1st coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat . Add the cardamom powder and half the fried garnishes and mix well . As it cools the Ada will thicken a bit .