Ulundu Paal/ Ulutham Paal/ Ulundu Payasam
Having to choose from half a dozen knives from my kitchen tools, including a chef's knife gifted by a lovely couple, I picked a small cute looking knife with a pretty amber coloured handle and soon realized that, I shouldn't have chosen a knife only because, it looked pretty. On one fine bloody morning, I sliced a small portion of my left thumb along with the cabbage and shrieked, attracting the attention of my better half who broke the ice tray in the frenzy. With a bandaged thumb, I let out another cry in two days interval, this time it was the right thumb, which I promptly wrapped in handiplast, while my better half was still muddling with the broken ice tray. It finally hit my bird-brain that, it was my folly to have chosen the wrong knife for the wrong purpose. There's a reason why knives come in various shapes and sizes, as they are mean't for specific purpose. This cute little knife almost saw the dirty corners of the trash can, when I was advised strictly to get rid of this blood thirsty tool, but I am still holding on to it, with my two bloodied "thumbs up"!
Ulundu paal or ulutham paal is another one of those speciality foods from thirunelveli region, which tastes like payasam. Serve warm as a dessert or simply as a health drink. Urad dal as mentioned in my earlier posts is a health food that helps in maintaining the body, healthy and energetic, a must have food for young girls and a tonic that boosts the natural growth of kids. But my mother never fails to warn me everytime I go over board and cook urad dal too often, as she says excess consumption of urad dal will lead to deafness! Perhaps, that would explain to some people, why I don't react immediately when called!
Urad dal 1/4 cup
Milk 1 cup
Palm jaggery/Jaggery 60 gms (or more to taste)
Dried ginger Powder 1/2 tsp (sukku)
Water 1 1/2 cup
Cardamom 3 ( optional)
Cardamom 3 ( optional)
Grated Coconut 2 tbsp (optional)
Dry roast urad dal until it changes to a golden brown colour, give it a rinse, add 1 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook for about 15 minutes or until cooked.
Add the milk and stir, when it begins to boil add the dried ginger powder and cardamom ( if using) and stir.
After a minute, reduce the heat to low and add the palm jaggery or jaggery and stir until dissolved ( do not raise the heat after adding jaggery, as the milk will curdle)
Stir in the grated coconut (if using) and when everything is well mixed and turns into a slightly thick kheer consistency, turn off the heat and serve warm.
I used 1 small disc of mangalore palm jaggery, you can use regular jaggery or sugar to taste which should approximately measure 1/2 cup.
Ulundu paal/ Ulutham paal is a quick fix health drink and will taste delicious even without adding cardamom and coconut, but don't ignore the dried ginger powder. Do not use readily available dried ginger powder, use freshly ground sukku podi. ( Buy dried ginger, take a samll portion and powder using a mortar and pestle as and when required)