Spread gram flour on a newspaper or a sheet and dry under sun for one hour. Place a sieve in a bowl and sift the sun dried gram flour through it. Grate the jaggery and keep it aside. Cut the dry coconut into thin slices. In a mortar & pestle powder the cardamoms, mace and nutmeg. When the spice powder is finely crushed add carom seeds and crush coarsely. Take this spice powder into a plate and cover it with another plate to retain the aroma.
Heat a pan and add oil to it. Spread a paper napkin in a plate. After frying, when the sev is placed on this paper napkin it will absorb all the excess oil. Let butter be at room temperature—if not then heat the butter on high power for 30 seconds in a microwave oven.
Take gram flour into a mixing bowl and add softened butter. Mix well by rubbing with fingers to incorporate the butter well into the flour. Add salt and mix again. Then prepare dough adding water little by little. Make soft yet firm dough. Use the large holed plate to press the sev. Arrange the large holed plate in the sev mould. Smear water on the inner surface of the mould and fill the mould with some dough. Hold the mould with left hand firmly and press the sev directly into the hot oil. While pressing the sev let the heat is at maximum. The high heat will allow gram flour to fluff up. While pressing the sev turn the left hand in circular motion to get spirals of sev. Once sev is pressed into oil, reduce the flame to medium and fry. When fried on medium heat, sev gets fried evenly. When the sev appears crisp, turn it with a slotted ladle gently. Fry on medium heat till the sev is crisp. Remove the fried sev with a slotted ladle and place it on the paper napkin to soak excess oil. Now fry another batch. Remember to press the sev into oil on maximum heat. Once the sev is pressed fry on medium heat turning. Transfer the sev placed on paper napkin to a deep bowl. When the sev in the oil is fried till crisp, remove it with a slotted ladle and place it on the paper napkin. Like this repeat the process of pressing and frying the sev till all the dough is used up.
Fry the dry coconut slices in hot oil till they slightly change color and becomes crisp.
Take jaggery into a bowl and add water to it. Place this bowl on stove and cook stirring till jaggery melts. Place a wide and heavy bottomed pan on stove. Strain the jaggery liquid into the wide pan. Cook the jaggery liquid till it forms syrup. Jaggery when cooked in water brings a nice taste.
Meanwhile break the fried sev into half inch pieces by crushing with fingers.
Boil jaggery solution till syrup reaches soft ball stage. Syrup reaches soft ball stage at 120oC on candy thermometer. Cook the jaggery solution stirring occasionally. When the temperature reaches 120oC on candy thermometer, add the spice powder, ghee and mix well. Then add fried coconut pieces and mix well. Switch off the stove and add the fried sev. Work fast otherwise syrup will solidify. Mix well to coat all the sev pieces with jaggery syrup. Now BELLAPPOOSA is ready. When all the fried sev pieces are nicely coated with jaggery syrup, immediately transfer the BELLAPPOOSA to a greased plate & let it cool completely. Otherwise, it will stick to the pan and will be difficult to take it out of the pan later. When cool transfer to a container and store the BELLAPPOOSA.
Points to Remember:
Sun drying the gram flour removes the moisture from the gram flour. If sun drying is not possible, dry roast on low heat till warm. We can even dry the flour in a microwave oven. Spread some flour in a paper plate and microwave on high for one minute. Stir once and again microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Keep watching as timings differ from one microwave oven to the other, otherwise the flour might burn. Like this dry roast the flour in batches and cool.
Use butter at room temperature. Otherwise warm hard butter in a microwave oven to soften it.
Use water little by little while mixing the dough. Make soft dough.
Test a dry coconut while purchasing, by smelling it. If it smells like strong coconut oil then it is old. Do not use such coconuts—as they will spoil the entire taste of the dish with the strong coconut oil smell.
Grate or powder the jaggery so that it melts fast.
Do not crush the carom seeds finely—crush them coarsely. But crush the cardamoms, nutmeg and n=mace to a fine powder.
While pressing the sev let the heat is at maximum. The high heat will allow gram flour to fluff up. Once sev is pressed into oil, reduce the flame to medium and fry so that it gets fried evenly.
Remove the impurities by straining the melted jaggery.
Work fast to coat the jaggery syrup on all fried sev pieces as jaggery solidifies on cooling.
Very important thing is to transfer the BELLAPPOOSA to a greased plate for cooling. Otherwise, it will stick to the pan and will be difficult to take it out of the pan later.
Enjoy this age old delicacy by preparing at home and serving it to your family members.
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