Akkaravadisal is a melange of rice, moong dal and milk.
The history of rice desserts in India is as old as time. With rice being one of the staple ingredients in Indian cuisine, there are myriads of rice dishes up for grabs. From kheer to payasam and pithas, the rice dishes in India are genuinely endless. Keeping the savoury dishes aside, it's time for us to talk about rice desserts. Although most of them are made with rice and milk, Indian rice desserts are aromatic, creamy and decadent. It wouldn't be unreasonable to say that most of these desserts are just variations of the humble kheer. From the North Indian phirni to the South Indian payasam and Bengal’s payesh, the variations of kheer are a good many. One of these variations is in the South Indian Akkaravadisal.
My tryst with Akkaravadisal began when one of my South Indian friends brought us to college. The dish is made with rice, dal and jaggery in a creamy milk base. The dish is given a finishing touch with a generous drizzle of ghee. The dish is flavoured with cardamom, which adds much-needed flavour and aroma. The warm and comforting pudding soothed my soul, heart and palate altogether on that winter afternoon. Upon asking her mother about the pudding, she said that the humble bowl of Akkaravadisal is filled with myths, legends and rituals alike. The rice pudding is a typical Iyengar recipe. The dish is a quintessential prashadam during numerous festivals in South India. For example, it is served as a prasad to Lord Vishnu during the month of Margazhi.
The dish is made in a similar process to the kheer. Moong dal and rice are dry-roasted and cooked with milk in a pressure cooker for three whistles. The mix is reduced to a dense texture by adding milk and water. The pudding is given the finishing touch with a drizzle of ghee and ghee-roasted nuts and raisins.
As the nip in the air is being felt already, it’s the best time to indulge in a warm and comforting dessert-like Akkaravadisal. Try the recipe out at home and get ready to drool over it.