Athirasam, though popular in Tamil and Kannada cuisine, is also found in Telugu, Marathi and Odiya cuisine. Traced back to Krishnadeva Raya’s royal kitchen, inscriptions about the delicacy is found in those of the Vijayanagar empire.
Athirasam, also has a religious connect, and is one of the prasadams in South Indian temples, besides being made in households during Krishna jayanthi and Deepavali. Apart from Hindu festivals, the delicacy is popular in Christmas celebrations in southern districts of Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala.
One could also term it as almost a week long process. Raw rice is soaked and grounded finely with 3/4th moisture retained. What is now fermented overnight was earlier fermented for 3-5 days. When ready to be fried, a small ball of dough is flattened in a greased banana leaf and dropped in ghee or oil. Some deep fry it in oil, but it is best when you fry in ghee. While Jaggery is mostly used for sweet taste, some prefer sugar instead.
Athirasam is one South Indian sweet, which is a challenge to even an expert chef, owing to the source of materials. A cook might know the amount of rice flour to be mixed with the right jaggery syrup consistency and allow it to cool for the right time period. But, it dissolves in the oil or goes char black colour and you are in nuts about what ever happened.
Owing to such risks, it is better to order the dessert from an experienced chef, rather than spoiling your spirits during a festival or party season.
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