‘Vella’ Aval (Sweet Beaten Rice)

Date Aval/Poha

Janmashtami was on August 11th. this year. This is a major festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, one of the major Indian Gods. It is believed that Sudama, a childhood friend of Krishna, lived in abject poverty. His wife urged him to seek financial help from Krishna, who was then king of Dwaraka. But Sudama was reluctant to do so. One fine day, his wife convinced him to make the journey. Sudama had nothing to carry as a gift for Krishna. So his wife gave him some beaten rice. When they met, Krishna asked Sudama what was the gift that he had brought. Sudama was too embarrassed to offer such a simple gift to a king. But Krishna grabbed the beaten rice and began to eat it. As he ate, Sudama’s wealth grew enormously.
So, it is traditional to offer dishes of beaten rice (among other dishes) as offering to Lord Krishna. Following tradition, I made sweet beaten rice (poha, aval) this year. When offering food to the Gods, it is again tradition to add one or two holy basil (tulsi) leaves to the offering.

Beaten red rice (red aval, poha)

1/2 cup beaten red rice
1/2 cup date paste
1 green cardamom (elaichi, elakkai), peeled and powdered
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp grated coconut
Heat a wok and heat the date paste (keep it slightly thick)
Set aside
Wash the beaten rice and drain completely
Add salt and cardamom to the beaten rice
Add the date paste to the beaten rice and mix well
Let it stand for about 30 minutes
Finally, mix in the grated coconut
Serve at room temperature

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