The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Scrawled Keepsakes/Parippu Pradaman

As a child (or a young adult), I never cooked. I did not know how to. I could rustle up a decent cup of instant coffee but that was it. Mummy tried her best to get me to help around the kitchen, maybe learn to cook a few basic things. But I wasn’t remotely interested. Mom, the smart and wise woman that she is, gave up on the obvious-to-be-wasted effort. Her thought? You will learn to cook when you need to.

How right she was. I had to cook when I arrived in the United States, a young and hopeful bride, hopelessly earnest and wondering/wandering. And so I learned. Longtime blog readers may recall some old posts where I described cooking a dal, that I thought was moong and ended up being masoor instead. I used to call Pinch at work asking him to troubleshoot “difficult” cooking situations. Ahh, those were the days.

I started maintaining a notebook of recipes I got from Mom. And that’s how I got hold of the Parippu Pradaman recipe.

Parippu Pradaman Recipe

This is a traditional Kerala dessert made from moong dal, jaggery and coconut milk. Yes, it is vegan. And it is ready in minutes, if you use canned coconut milk. You can fancify it with raisins and toasted cashews, if you like. I love the simple version, so here you go.

Need any further instructions, or will those four lines suffice? 🙂

Ingredients

3/4 cup moong dal
1/2 cup jaggery (or to taste)
2/3 cup canned coconut milk (full-fat)
powdered/crushed cardamom, dried ginger (optional)

Method

  • Roast moong dal in a pan until lightly toasted. Let it cool. Rinse with water a couple of times to wash off any dust, etc.
  • Cook moong dal in a pressure cooker.
  • Mash the cooked moong dal with the back of a spoon until it has a somewhat uniform consistency (no lumps).
  • Place jaggery in a pan. Add boiling water so you can mix the jaggery evenly. Cook on medium-low heat until the jaggery melts and turns syrupy.
  • Add moong dal to the jaggery syrup. Mix well.
  • Pour coconut milk into the moong dal-jaggery concoction. Stir well. Turn off the heat.
  • Sprinkle crushed cardamom and dried ginger on top. Serve warm or cold.

Parippu Pradaman

Notes

If you wish, you can add more (or less coconut milk), so as to get a medium-thick consistency. I think you might also be able to get away with using low-fat coconut milk but then you will miss the incredible creaminess of the preparation. 🙂

You can also vary the amount of jaggery you use, if you would like the dish to be more (or less) sweet.

Space and Time

Most comfortable chairs ever

Most comfortable chairs ever

This evening I came home and made myself a cup of tea. Pulled out an oft-read beloved book (“The Sunday Philosophy Club” by Alexander McCall Smith) and reclined comfortably in one of the two blue-grey chairs by the window. It was a quiet evening. No kids playing out or cars driving by or birds chirping. I sipped my tea and read for a while.

After a few minutes, the peace stealing through my soul felt so urgent, almost compelling. I had to lay my book aside and reflect a little.

A year or so ago, my life began to change. Objects and activities started exiting out of my life, literally and metaphorically. Clothes, music, furniture, books, knick-knacks, hair, interests, people… I bade farewell to all of them. It was an exodus of sorts. I felt that I was creating space. For what? I had no idea. But the decluttering motion had its own energy, rhythm and momentum. I simply followed along.

I discovered the joy of space and time, all to myself. And this space in my house, my head and my life feels so vital, so life-giving… that I wonder if, at a sub-conscious level, I even chose to remain childless because of my intense love for this space and time.

I am, what many term, a “spacey” personality. Previously, I chafed at that description but its meaning is simple. My Ayurvedic constitution is an Air-Space combination. Why resist it? After all, it connotes expansiveness, unboundedness, freedom. As long as I am able to find my grounding and center, it is bliss.