Sunday, October 07, 2012

Recipe: Vorn - Manglorean Lentil Paysam/Kheer - (Vegan)

This is a kheer that nana used to prepare for us as kids. We were often served this at tea time. The lentils in this dish make it high in proteins and hence extremely nutricious for growing children.

Also, since this particular dish is made with moong dhal (split green gram), its very light on the stomach and easy to digest and can be given to people recovering from fevers and other illness.

This dish uses coconut milk and hence unlike other Indian paysams/kheers which use regular cows/buffalo milk, this can be served to vegans too.

1/2 kg moong dhal (split & husked green gram)
1/2 kg jaggery/gur (molasses are an acceptable substitute)
1 cup rice flour
400ml thick coconut milk (extract of 2 coconuts or packaged coconut milk)
powdered cardamom seeds to taste (optional)
salt to taste
roasted cashewnuts to garnish (optional)

Wash the dhal and soak for awhile till soft (moong dhal cooks quickly, so soaking isn't really required, but it helps speed up the process and saves fuel)
Extract the thick and thin milk from the coconuts if using fresh coconuts.
Boil the dhal in water and thin coconut milk (if you are using packaged coconut milk, you can mix 2 tsps thick milk with a glass of water) until soft.
The total liquid used when you start should cover the dhal + 1-2 inches.
If you find scum/thick froth rising to the top, skim and discard, but add more water to maintain the liquid level.
Always ensure that there is enough liquid, so that the mixture can bubble and not stick to the bottom.
When the dhal is cooked, add a pinch or 2 of salt and the jaggery/gur/molasses.
Remember the sweetness of jaggery/gur/molasses varies widely, so start with 1/4kg and then keep adjusting to your taste.
Keep stirring constantly till the jaggery is fully dissolved and the dhal has begun to absorb the sweetness.

Make a batter with the rice flour and water, until it is of pouring consistency.
Slowly stir in this batter into the dhal, stirring constantly to prevent the formation of any lumps,
Keep stirring the dhal and boil well
Cook until the vorn reaches your desired consistency and the flour is cooked (loses its raw taste).
Add more water if it is too thick and rice flour has not yet lost its raw taste.
Once the vorn has reached your desired consistency, lower the flame and add the coconut milk and bring to a slow boil while continuing to stir.
Cook on low flame until you are satsified with the consistency, then take it off the heat.

Traditional consistency is slightly thick, not as thick as a pudding, but slightly more liquidy than that.
When you scoop out a spoon of vorn, the rest of the vorn should fall in to occupy the negative space.

Vorn is served either hot or cold.
Before serving, sprinkle a little cardamom powder or garnish with roasted cashewnuts.

Kim's Tip:
If you don't have access to jaggery or gur, you can use molasses, but don't use sugar as the main sweetening agent.

When you look at the orginal quantities, you may be tempted to use a smaller pot. But the dhal expands when cooked and you need a large margin on the top for the constant stirring. So for these quantities (1/2kg dhal) use at least a 7 liter pot

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