Vella Payaru refers to a sweet dish made using whole moong beans, a heritage Tamilnadu preparation. It tastes absolutely beautiful, garnished with fresh coconut, with a hint of cardamom to it. This is my mother-in-law’s specialty – she makes it wonderfully delicious. She has been staying with us for some time, and I have been taking the opportunity to learn some traditional dishes from her.
A bit more about Vella Payaru
There are several types of sundal prepared in South India, for various festive occasions. ‘Sundal‘ is usually a legume like chickpeas (kabuli chana), black-eyed peas (karamani) and whole moong beans (payaru), cooked dry, and can be either savoury or sweet. Check out this Karuppu Mocchai Sundal I made last Navratri, using purple hyacinth beans! This Vella Payaru is a sundal of the sweet type, also called Pacha Payaru Sweet Sundal.
This sundal uses jaggery (‘vellam‘ in Tamil), and there is absolutely no oil or ghee that goes in. This Vella Payaru is, therefore, a relatively healthier sweet treat, full of wholesome ingredients. It is not very difficult to put together either. Once the ingredients are ready, it takes just a few minutes.
Sundal are most commonly made as an offering during Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi. This is much loved by everyone at home, and mother-in-law makes it whenever we visit her. Ganesh Chaturthi is just around the corner, and I just couldn’t miss this chance of watching her make it and noting down the recipe with exact measurements.
How to make Vella Payaru or Pacha Payaru Sweet Sundal
Here is how you go about it.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- 1 cup whole green moong
- 1-1/4 cup jaggery powder
- 2 pinches of cardamom powder
- 1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
1. Soak the green moong in enough water for at least 3-4 hours. Then, drain out all the water.
2. Take the drained moong beans in a wide vessel. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the beans fully. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker and allow 3 whistles on high flame. The beans should be cooked through, but not overly mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. Take 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed pan and add in the jaggery. Keep on high flame. Allow the jaggery to get completely dissolved in the water. Let the jaggery water come to a rolling boil.
4. At this stage, lower the flame to medium. Add the cooked moong beans to the jaggery water in the other pan. Mix well.
5. Continue to cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the water dries up and the mixture thickens up. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas when the mixture has considerably thickened, but is still quite runny. It thickens up further with time.
6. Now, mix in the cardamom powder and fresh grated coconut. Your Vella Payaru is ready. Serve it hot, warm or at room temperature.
Is this dish gluten-free and vegan?
Absolutely! The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those leading a plant-based lifestyle. It is completely gluten-free, too.
#MeethePal at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
I’m sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am a part of. The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a bunch of passionate food bloggers, who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. I chose to share this Vella Payaru or Pacha Payaru Sweet Sundal recipe for the theme.
The theme this Monday is #MeethePal, suggested by Sujata ji of Batter Up With Sujata. Sujata ji has a huge sweet tooth (just like me), and her blog is a treasure trove of lovely dessert recipes. She prepared delectable Caramel Custard for today’s theme. You should definitely check out her amazing collection of Bengali sweets – she has some unique ones like Chilli Rasgulla and Watermelon Rasgulla!
Tips & Tricks
1. Forgot to soak the moong beans? No worries. You can just pressure cook them a little longer – say 6 or 7 whistles – before adding them to the jaggery water.
2. Don’t overcook the moong beans. They should be just cooked through, but not overly mushy.
3. Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per personal taste preferences.
4. Don’t let the jaggery syrup get too thick, otherwise the Vella Payaru will get too hard and chewy. The jaggery just needs to get dissolved in the water. You need it to attain a ‘thread’ consistency.
5. Use a heavy-bottomed pan, for best results.
6. Adjust the quantity of fresh coconut as per personal taste preferences.
7. You can add a bit of dry ginger powder and a few slivers of coconut, if you prefer. Here, we haven’t.
8. After adding the cooked moong beans to the pan, cook them on medium flame. Stir intermittently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
9. Black-eyed beans (karamani) also works well in this recipe, in place of the green moong beans.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!