Sunday, March 21, 2010

Purnam Kattu Chaaru/Sweet Rasam

This is another of the many rasams made at home. Purnam kattu chaaru is a must in almost every festival menu at most south India homes, more so because purnam or the filling used to make sweets like the obbattus is the main ingredient for this rasam. This is indeed a very tasty sweet rasam.

Serves: 2-4

Preparation time: 10-20 mins


Pigeon peas (toor dal/kandipappu) 1 cup (100gms)
Jaggery (gud/bellam) 1 cup (50 gms)
Fresh and grated coconut 1 cup (25gms)
Tamarind 1 blob
Cardamom (elaichi/yelakkayi) 1
Curry leaves 4-5
Ghee 1tsp
Mustard seeds 1tsp
Cumin seeds (jeera) 1tsp
Black gram (urad dal/uddipappu) 1tsp
Rasam powder 1 ½ tsp
Tomatoes (optional) 2
Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
Salt to taste
Fresh and chopped coriander to garnish.


There are quite a few methods that have evolved over the years for making purnam kattu chaaru. As mentioned before, purnam is the sweet filling and kattu is the stock boiled pigeon peas. Thus, as the name suggests purnam kattu chaaru is sweet filling boiled in pigeon pea stock this is infact the traditional method of making it.

The Purnam:

The method of preparing purnam or sweet filling is available in the obbattu recipe below. However for a quick recap:

Dry roast 1 cup pigeon peas, 1 cup jaggery and fresh and dry coconut. Grind to fine paste adding a cardamom.

For preparing purnam kattu chaaru, we require just 2 tbsp of the above filling. So if preparing just the rasam, prepare purnam for just the required quantity.

The Traditional method:

The traditional and most authentic way of preparing purnam kattu chaaru is to drain the pigeon pea stock into a vessel that is water used for boiling pigeon peas.

Add 2 tbsp of purnam or sweet filling, 4-5 curry leaves, salt to taste, 1 blob of tamarind and leave to boil for 10 mins. Add 1-2 tsps rasam powder and leave to boil for 2 mins.

Make tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black gram and a pinch of asafoetida in a tsp of ghee and season the rasam.


Another ingredient used to make purnam kattu chaaru is tomatoes. Few of them use it while few do not. To the above rasam add 2 cubed tomatoes and leave to boil along with the tamarind, rasampowder, salt, curry leaves and purnam. Add tempering and serve.

Please note that just a pinch of tamarind or no tamarind at all will do if tomatoes are used as tomatoes itself are tangy.

An alternative:

Now a days, sometimes we do buy obbattu/poli/puranpoli/hollige from sweetshops. On such occasions, grind into a fine powder 1 obbattu and add to the pigeon pea stock with tamarind/tomatoes, salt, rasam powder, curry leaves and boil. Add tempering and serve.

Another Alternative:

There are also times when we just want to have this rasam and no obattu in the menu. In such a scenario, add 1 tomato, 4tsp jaggery, 2 tsp fresh and grated coconut,1tsp rasam powder, cardamom and salt to taste into the blender and blend to a semi-thick paste. Tomato can be substituted with a cup of soaked tamarind water or 2tsp tamarind paste.

Add pigeon pea stock to the above semi-thick paste, curry leaves and leave to boil for 10 mins. Add tempering and serve.

A tip:

Now a days we all use pressure cookers to boil the pigeon peas (kandi pappu/toor dal). There is not much stock left generally when the pressure cooker is used unless of course we add more water to the pigeon peas while keeping it in the cooker. This way there is some stock. However, if pigeon pea stock is unavailable, take water in a vessel and add the pressure cooked pigeon peas and allow to boil for 5-10 mins. The rest of the rasam process will be as per the alternative chosen.

Whatever the method used, garnish the rasam with fresh and chopped coriander before serving.

Purnam kattu chaaru is typically a rice supplement, but can also be served as sweet and tangy soup. The best way to have it is however mix it with rice, ghee and munch fries in between.

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