In honor of my late aunty Mary, a treasured recipe for an addictive sweet. These nutty confections, known also as unda, are an anytime pleasure and lovely served with an afternoon chai or a coffee. The crunchiness comes from roasted rice, the flavor from the cashews, and the sweetness from jaggery. (Demerara or your everyday brown sugar is an acceptable substitute.)
- Parboiled or Matta Rice 1/2 cup, washed well and soaked for an hour
- Fresh Grated Coconut 1 cup
- Roasted Unsalted Cashew Nuts 3 cups
- Grated Jaggery or Dark Brown Sugar 1 cup
- Drain rice and pat dry with a paper towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Add rice to a heavy-bottomed frying pan and dry-roast over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, slightly crisp, and puffed up. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- Add coconut to the pan and stir until lightly toasted. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- Using a food processor, grind rice into a coarse powder, then transfer to a large bowl. Add cashews to the food processor and pulse to a fine powder. Transfer to the rice bowl. Add jaggery (or brown sugar) and coconut to the food processor and process into a fine powder. Add it to the bowl. Using your hands, mix well.
- Shape the mixture into firm, lime-sized balls. Serve immediately. (Cashew balls can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. To freeze them, place balls on a baking sheet to freeze individually, then store in an airtight container in freezer for up to a month.)
Excerpted from My Thali: A Simple Indian Kitchen by Joe Thottungal with Anne DesBrisay. Photography by Christian Lalonde. Copyright © 2023 by Thali Restaurant. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.