Musara – a distinct Malabari pudding

musara
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Those familiar with the traditional Mappila songs of Malabar may have noticed the word 'musara' in their lyrics. Many of the songs are meant to be odes to the culinary versatility of Malabar and describe in great detail the ingredients, appearance, and flavour of the A-listers in the cuisine. 'Musara' is one such dish, the praise of which is sung in many a song, though most of it would be lost even on Malayalis from other parts of Kerala, thanks to the quirky dialect.

Traditional recipes are sadly lost when generations move on to a different food culture. There may not be many people around even in North Kerala who would know what 'musara' is. A special Malabari pudding made of Bengal gram and coconut milk, it used to be one of the attractions on the menu of feasts during the fasting month. As times changed, the fasting-special dishes lost their exclusivity and began doing the rounds as and when someone fancied making some. Musara, too, makes rare appearances like that – at dinners, on cookery shows or blogs, and quite unexpectedly, at Eid or Ramadan.

Ingredients

1 coconut
50g Bengal gram
¾ cups maida or ground wheat
¾ cups sugar
Raisins, cashew, almonds for garnish

Preparation

Grind a freshly scraped coconut and extract the thick milk and keep aside
Grind the residue again to extract milk once more and use half of this to cook 50g of Bengal gram
Add ¾ cups of maida or ground wheat to the rest of the coconut milk and mix well without lumps
Add this mixture to the cooked Bengal gram and cook it again on medium flame
When it comes to boil, add ¾ cups of sugar, stirring continuously
When the mixture is cooked to medium thick consistency, switch off the flame and add the thick coconut milk
Garnish it with raisins, cashew nuts and almonds
It can be served hot, warm or chilled
They can also be cut into wobbly pieces when chilled.

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