Ari Pidi – Rice Dumplings in Coconut Sauce

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Well, I am home, as in Kerala for vacation. If you’re already a follower of Being Wholesome I am sure you might have understood that a week back or so, since I have been posting a little this and that about Onam and other traditional Kerala dishes for a few days now.

So, what’s happening in Kerala? It’s Monsoon time!! And I am glad I didn’t miss it this time. Who doesn’t like to watch rains with a cup of hot tea and some crisp savoury snacks or a bowl of hot Kanji (rice gruel) with coconut chutney and pappad to get all comfy on a damp and cold evening? I don’t know about the rest but for me, Ari Pidi is one such comfort in a bowl when it comes to gloomy evenings and rainy nights.

Ari Pidi is nothing but small rice dumplings cooked in a thick coconut milk sauce flavoured with a hint of garlic and cumin along with garden fresh springs of curry leaves (that’s because we have it in our vegetable garden). It’s thicker than a soup but has a very smooth and creamy texture that is light on your tummy as well. It doesn’t have any unhealthy fat or gluten (for the gluten free lovers) but it will provide you with all the essential healthy carbs and calories that you would need.

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Although Ari Pidi is a traditional Kerala dish, not everyone from Kerala would be familiar with this delicacy.  This dish is popular among the Christians in the central Kerala region and is typically served with chicken curry which is then known as Kozhi Pidi. Since I belong to a vegetarian family we have never tried pairing it with any side dish at home; in fact, we never felt anything was missing at all. Yes, it’s that yum with subtle flavours.

The recipe that I am sharing here is my grandmother’s who is no more with us but her legacy sure lives through her amazing recipes that she has passed down to Amma (mom) and me. Today, since it was raining all day, everyone was in a lazy mood so Amma decided to make Ari Pidi as an evening snack which ended up as our dinner. So, without any further delay let’s get down to the recipe.

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Recipe

Serves – 4

Ingredients:

Rice Flour – 2 cups

Coconut Milk Thin – 5 cups

Coconut Milk Thick – 2 cups

Garlic – 6 cloves

Cumin seeds – 2 tsp

Curry Leaves – 2 springs

Coconut Bits/Freshly grated coconut – 1/3 cup

Boiling water – to knead the dough

Salt – to taste

Method:

  • Grind the garlic and cumin into a fine paste and keep aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, salt, 3/4th of the garlic cumin paste and enough boiling water to make it into a soft and pliable dough.
  • Form equal sized small balls and one lemon size ball out of the dough and keep them aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan/pot pour the thin coconut milk and dilute the lemon size dough ball in the milk along with the rest of the garlic-cumin paste, salt to taste, and the coconut bits.
  • On a medium flame cook this mixture stirring continuously and bring it to a rolling boil stage.
  • Drop the prepared dough balls one by one into the boiling coconut milk mixture and let it boil thoroughly on a low flame for 10-12 minutes to get it cooked evenly.
  • Stir the mixture in between carefully after some time of dropping the balls into the milk mixture otherwise you will end up breaking the balls. (and you don’t want to break balls – no pun intended at all)
  • After 10-12 minutes you will see the sauce has thickened and the dumplings are cooked well.
  • Add the thick coconut milk and curry leaves and cook it for 1 more minute and switch off the flame.
  • Let it sit for 20-30 minutes with the lid on before serving.

Notes:

  • It tastes best with freshly squeezed coconut milk.
  • We used 1 ½ coconuts to get 5 cups of thin coconut milk and 2 cups of thick milk.
  • Since the sauce has got rice flour in it, it will become thicker when it cools down. Warm it up to loosen the sauce a bit before serving.
  • If it gets very thick add some more thick coconut milk and heat it up.
  • It is traditionally cooked in a clay pot/pan but you can use regular steel ones too.

 

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