This pristine looking rice pudding called palambali from the kongunad region is a sublime dessert. Miniature Rice dumplings are cooked in milk to a consistency of a pudding. Making palambali is an occasion in itself. All the ladies of the family would sit across a dhoti lined dining table. They would roll the rice dumplings for hours together amidst a sea of gossips, sarees, jewelry and jokes. The dumplings would then be cooked with care and distributed to the families. Palambali is labour of love and is very special. The dessert is so smooth with a little textural bite from the rice dumplings. This is my mother in laws recipe. These days in kongunad, they do add cardamom to flavor the palambali. My mother in law says that cardamom was never added to palambali during the yesteryear’s. Palambali had no extra flavoring. The flavor of cooked rice in milk is very delicate and it shines in the recipe. She says that cardamom if added over powers this delicate flavored dessert.
So here is how to make Palambali
We will be using two varieties of rice for this recipe. Par boiled rice (puzungal arisi) and raw rice (pacharisi). Soak both the rice in water for 8-10 hours or over-nite.
First lets prep the Par boiled rice (puzungal arisi)
We will have to grind the soaked and drained par boiled rice to a smooth paste. Add a mere two tablespoons of water while grinding. Grind to a perfectly smooth paste in a small mixie jar. Really smooth. Smooth like paint. Take care not to add too much water while grinding.
The Indian mixie does this job perfectly. I have a panasonic mixie and love it! Its a mean machine in the kitchen.
Transfer the ground mixture to a cotton absorbent cloth. Wrap the cloth and set aside for 15 minutes. The cloth would absorb most of the moisture from the rice.
We will repeat the process one more time. Transfer the mixture to a fresh dry cloth so we can pull out some more moisture from the rice mixture. Wrap and set aside for fifteen more minutes.
After the time, take a small piece and try rolling it into a small ball. If you are able to roll a ball, the dough is done. Else repeat the procedure to take some more moisture out from the ground rice paste.
Now get yourself a comfortable place to sit and some music to play as we are going to roll smally small balls out of the mixture. Start rolling the balls. Make balls that is somewhere close to the size of a corn and not bigger than that of a peas. Yeah. that’s really small. Place the rolled balls on a cloth lined plate. This rolling will take an hour to do.
Let the balls dry for a couple of hours. After couple of hours, the balls should not stick anymore.
In the mean time, grind the soaked raw rice with 1/2 a cup of water to a really smooth paste. Add in the milk and sugar to the ground rice. Mix well and set aside.
Lets start cooking!
Bring 1.5 cups of water to a full boil on a wide pan. When the water is boiling, add in the rolled rice balls all over the water. Do not dump the balls all at once. Sprinkle the balls in the water. By sprinkling, the balls wont get stuck to each other. Do not disturb the water for 3-4 minutes. After the time, if you have some balls attached to one another, use a spoon to separate.
Now, add in the milk-sugar-rice mixture that we prepared earlier. Reduce the flame to sim. Cooking the milk mixture in a high flame would create lumps. So low and slow is the key. Cook the milk mixture stirring CONSTANTLY for 20 minutes.
The milk mixture will start thickening up considerably. It will be really thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Refrigerate the mixture for 4-5 hours and serve chilled. It tastes awesome when its cold!
One word to describe palambali – Its a sublime dessert.
This dessert can be stored in the refrigerator for up-to 3 days.
- Measurements Used - 1 Cup = 250 ml (approx)
- ¼ cup Par Boiled Rice
- 2 Tablespoon Water
- ¼ cup Raw Rice
- ½ cup Water
- 1.5 Cups Water for boiling dumplings
- 1 Liter Milk
- 1 Cup Sugar
- Soak the rice (both varieties of rice) over nite seperately.
- Grind the Par Boiled Rice with water to a smooth paste.
- Transfer the ground mixture to a cotton absorbent cloth. Wrap the cloth and set aside for 15 minutes. The cloth would absorb most of the moisture from the rice. Repeat this procedure if necessary to remove more moisture.
- Make small balls out of the mixture and let the balls dry for two hours on a cloth lined plate.
- Grind the raw rice with water to a smooth paste. Mix in the milk and the sugar. Set aside.
- Bring a pan with water to a boil. Sprinkle the balls and boil for 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the milk mixture and simmer constantly stirring for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 4-5 hours and serve chilled.