A traditional dish made in Tamil Nadu during Diwali, or as Deepavali, as the southern parts of India knows the festival, ukkarai is a crumbly jaggery and lentil sweet that is renowned for both its taste and texture.


1½ cups moong dal

1 cup channa dal

3 cups jaggery

1 cup ghee

15 cashew nuts

A pinch of salt

A pinch of camphor

1 cup fresh coconut pieces

Cardamom powder from 8 cardamom pods


Wash and soak all the lentils together for about two hours

After two hours strain the water and grind to a fine paste

Heat ghee and fry coconut pieces, cashew nuts and keep aside

Fry the ground lentils till dry and keep aside

Heat the jaggery adding ¼ cup of water

When jaggery melts, strain through a strainer and reheat

Simmer and when the syrup forms a string consistency, add the prepared lentil and mix well

At this stage, the lentil mixture starts to crumble and becomes soft like _puttu_

Add 1 tbsp of ghee, mix and let it cool

When it gets to a crumbly texture, that is the right stage to remove from flame

Add fried coconut pieces, cashew nuts and cardamom powder

The traditional Diwali sweet ukkarai is ready to be served

(The author is a food blogger who blogs

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