Deepavali in Karnataka is synonymous with Kajjaya. The festival is a time when loads and loads of Kajjaya and other savory snacks like Nippattu, Chakli are made at home, packed and sent to neighbors, friends and relations! Oh yes, that meant days and days of hard labor in the kitchen, but we got to eat a lot as well.... Strangely enough Kajjaya is something my grandmother never mastered! Poor thing. But my Mother-in-law is an acknowledged expert.
Also Kajjaya is prepared during every wedding. The superstition is that if Kajjaya does not come out well, the wedding is going to run in to rough weather! I remember my mother getting worried during my wedding because the Kajjaya she and my aunt were preparing did not turn out well.. In fact the dough just disintegrated in the hot ghee!
I should say it is slightly difficult dish to prepare, and it depends on the ingredients, particularly Jaggery. So picking up the right ingredient is the key.
Rice 1/2 cup Sona masuri works fine, the unpolished rice like Hamsa works best. I am not very sure about Basmati
Jaggery powdered 1/2 cup i prefer the white variety because the dark ones sometimes are slightly fermented which makes the dough disintegrate
water a few tbsp
Ghee to deep fry
- Soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain overnight in a colander.
- Powder the well drained rice into a slightly coarse powder. Set it aside.
- Combine jaggery, cardamom and a few table spoons of water in a thick bottomed pan on low flame. Stir till the jaggery bubbles. Now test for the soft ball stage.
- Take cold water in a wide mouthed bowl. Drop a spoonful of molten jaggery into the water and try to form a ball out of the molten jaggery with your finger tips. If the jaggery just disintegrates then it is still not ready. If a ball can be formed, then the jaggery is ready.
- Now slowly add the rice powder, stirring vigorously on low flame. Cook the mixture for five minutes till well combined and the mixture leaves the side. Turn off the flame and set aside to cool
- Once cool enough to handle, pinch small balls off the dough and roll it into about 3" rounds 1/4 " thick.
- Heat Ghee in a thick bottom stable pot. Test the temperature of the ghee by throwing in a small piece of dough into the Ghee. If the dough sizzles and floats then the ghee is ready otherwise, the ghee needs some more time on the stove!!
- Once the ghee is ready, slide the rolled out dough. Cook till the oil stops to froth or the kajjaya is honey - golden in colour. Turn the kajjaya just once and cook till it is uniformly honey golden in colour.
- Remove, drain excess ghee on a paper towel and serve it hot with banana and nippattu.