Sweet Coconut Bengal Gram Parcels

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

First of all, I am feeling terribly sad for the people of Chennai and upset how the media hasn't been fair to the pressing issue, and is rather busy with intolerance row... what a shame! I can only pray for them to be safe and sound with family. Imagine even hospitals are impacted. At least now they have deployed army help.

Shouldn't we be grateful for the current technology where communication is made so easy and real time? even if you are thousand miles away from family and friends?  But when I miss home terribly, calling them makes it worse. I do call them and do the listener role or keep asking about the whereabouts of everyone. Some days, I call them when I am hit with a sudden craving for a long lost dish, that even mom would wonder where I got the craving from.

We all associate food with certain memories, that you can bring back by cooking it again. That was how this Ella ada (parcels) were made in my kitchen. I was resilient to get this done to feel closer to home and it was challenging to find ways and alternatives to get the desired output. I enjoyed making it and to top it, this is the first time F wanted to take them to his work and share with his colleagues.

So talking about today's ada, it is a sweet version. This is originally called ella ada (parcels covered with banana leaf and steamed). The filling is made easier and quicker if you use soaked lentils and dessicated coconut. You can save the time of grating the coconut :-P. Using soaked lentil will take less time to cook in a pot, where you can inspect. If you are using pressure cooker, please check after one whistle. Also, this is originally made with banana leaf, as I did not have access to get that, I used freezer bag to help me get it right!

As I was making it for the first time, I wanted to have a measurement for reference. I was so glad to discover Shab's blog. So along with my mom's description I used her recipe to get an idea.

Ella Ada / Kadalaparipu Ada / Thenga Ada 

Yields : 12 to 15 Parcels

You will need

  • Large freezer bag, baking paper, (you get the drift...) or if you can get the actual banana leaf, nothing like that... 
  • Steamer, idli maker

For the Filling:
1/2 cup of channa dal (bengal gram spilt and skinned)
1 and 1/4 cup dessicated coconut (If you are using fresh coconut then add 1/4 cup more)
2 tablespoon water if you are using dessicated coconut
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter)
1 shallot sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
a pinch of salt

For the Dough:
2 and 1/2 cup unroasted rice flour
2 and 1/2 cup water
Salt to taste, I added 3/4 teaspoon


  1. Soak the lentils for 20 to 30 mins in water. 
  2. You can choose to cook in a pot or pressure cooker. Cook the lentils with water until done, not mushy or overcooked. It should retain its shape. I always use pressure cooker and cook on high for one whistle, switch off and let it cool on its own.  
  3. In a bowl, add the dessicated coconut and sprinkle some water (2 tbsp approx) and mix it. This is to make the dry coconut fluffy and resemble the fresh grated coconut. This will also avoid browning while cooking. Keep this aside for a few minutes. 
  4. Now, you can open the pressure cooker and drain the cooked lentils 
  5. Heat ghee in a pan and sauté the sliced shallot on a low flame ( do not over do it, just a few seconds will do)
  6. Add the prepared bowl of coconut or the fresh grated coconut and sugar. 
  7. Keep stirring until the sugar is completely melted
  8. Once the sugar is melted, add the cooked and drained lentils and stir well until the mixture is free from sugary water.. it should all come together 
  9. Add some salt and the ground cardamom and mix again 
  10. Taste it and adjust salt, sugar, cardamom as per your taste and cover and keep this aside to cool

  1. In a large bowl, add the rice flour and salt - give it a mix and gradually add water and mix it until its combined and forms a dough that is easy to handle. It should not be sticky or watery, you should be able to handle it to make balls. I got around 16 balls. The number of balls depends on the size of the parcel that you are planning to make. Smaller balls, little stuffing, or bigger balls and more stuffing.
  1. Take a large freezer bag (cut the closed end and one side of a freezer bag so you get one big sheet on which you can work on making the parcel)
  2. Take one dough ball and make it smooth by rolling between your palms
  3. Place it on centre of one side of the cut open freezer bag and close it with the other end (so you have the dough ball on the centre)
  4. Use a rolling pin to carefully roll the dough into a round shape (you can move the sheet to get the shape)
  5. Open the sheet and place a tablespoon or more/less of prepared filling on one side of the rolled dough (note: leave some space on the border) and bring back the other end of the sheet to close the parcel. Now you will have a semi circle, half moon shaped ada.
  6. Press along the edges to ensure there is no opening
  7. Open the sheet and take the parcel and place it on the steamer
  8. My steamer is small and can hold only 3 at a time, so make as much as your steamer can hold
  9. Steam for 5 to 8 minutes until cooked. You can check for the firmness of the dough to ensure it is cooked
  10. Each steamed batch, I placed in a food container with foil sheet to separate each layer
  11. Serve warm with a cup of hot chai or black tea
  12. To re-heat, you have to steam for a few minutes only, other ways of reheating will make it very dry
I hope my instructions are clear, please do let me know if there is any doubt. You can also check Shab's blog for pictures.

I will be making these again, may be in a bite size or like a ball...there is no rule right!

You'll Also Love These

0 Thoughts

Share your thoughts, I would love to know more..


my photos on tastespotting
my foodgawker gallery