“Vishu’ is New years for Keralites which falls during the second week of April. It marks the first day of the Zodiac New year. The day starts with the ‘Vishu Kani’-
“According to the age-old belief of Malayalees, an auspicious kani (first sight) at dawn on the Vishu day is lucky for the entire year. As a result, the Vishukkani is prepared with a lot of care to make it the most positive sight so as to bring alive a wonderful, propitious year ahead.
The responsibility of decorating the Kani belongs to the oldest lady of the house.” source Wikipedia
The lunch preparation begins after the Vishu Kani, we prepare an elaborate Sadya (meal) served on a banana leaf. The first course is a Vishu katta, rice cooked in coconut milk and served with jaggery syrup.
For Vishu katta:
Raw rice- brown- 1 cup
Coconut grated- 2 medium nos
Water; warm- 5 cups
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
- Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile extract coconut milk from the grated coconut; we require three extracts of coconut milk. Grind the grated coconut in a grinder/blender, and squeeze out the coconut milk. this is the thick/ first extract. Next add the coconut to the grinder/blender again , and this time add 2 cups of warm water. Squeeze the milk out in another bowl, this is the second extract which is thinner than the first. This will yield around 2 cups of milk. Repeat the process with the same coconut to the grinder/ blender and add 3 cups of warm water. This will yield almost 3cups of third extract; the thinner coconut extract.
- In a heavy bottomed vessel; bring the third extract of coconut milk to a simmer. Add the rice to the vessel. Cover and cook until the coconut milk is absorbed.
- Next add the second extract and continue cooking. The rice would be 3/4th way cooked. Add the cumin seeds and salt and stir well.
- Finally add the first extract and cook until the milk is fully absorbed and the rice thickens (a tighter consistency than a risotto).
- In a wide rimmed plate, lay a banana leaf. Pour the cooked rice, and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon. Let it cool, then cut into squares and serve with jaggery syrup.
For jaggery syrup:
Water- 3/4- 1 cup
- Heat a saucepan, add the jaggery and water and stir until the jaggery has melted.
- Simmer for 5 minutes and take it off the heat and let it cool.
- This can be prepared earlier and left in the refrigerator until ready to use.