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Ukkarai served in a silver bowl
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5 from 8 votes

Diwali Special Ukkarai | Okkarai

Diwali / Deepavali is incomplete without this delicious lentil based dessert Ukkarai also known as Okkarai. Enjoy this delicious sweet with friends and family. 
Prep Time1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Diwali Recipes
Cuisine: Indian, Tamil Nadu
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 263kcal


  • bowl
  • pan
  • Steamer plate
  • spatula
  • Blender


  • ½ cup Kadalai paruppu / channa dal
  • ½ cup Payatham paruppu / Moong dal
  • 1 cup Vellam / Jaggery
  • 4 tablespoon Nei / ghee
  • Cashews a handful
  • ¼ cup Coconut grated
  • ¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder


  • Dry roast both the dals until slightly golden brown. Make sure that you keep stirring the pan as the dals can get burnt very easily.
  • Wash the roasted dals and soak them for at least an hour.
  • Drain the soaked dals and grind them into coarse paste adding very little water. Make sure you add very less water when grinding as we want a semi solid paste that we can steam.
  • Make small mounds of the ground batter and place it on a steamer plate or idli mould and steam for about 12 to 15 minutes. The mixture will appear stiff and hard when done.
  • Let this cool down a bit and then break the dough into small pieces and place it in a blender jar. Pulse it a couple of times to make it into a fine powder.
  • In the meantime, heat a pan and add about a tablespoon of ghee. Fry the cashews until they are golden brown. Remove it in a plate. In the same pan, heat 1 more tablespoon of ghee and fry the grated coconut until light brown. Keep it aside as well.
  • In the same pan add the jaggery and just enough water to immerse the jaggery. Bring it to a boil and let the jaggery dissolve completely. Strain the syrup at this stage if needed and then return it to the flame.
  • Let the syrup come to a one string consistency. This is when you touch the syrup in between two fingers and pull it apart; it will form a single thread. You could also use a candy thermometer to check the consistency.
  • Now add the ground dal powder to the jaggery and mix well. Cook it on low heat until it appears dry.
  • Now add the fried cashews, coconut and cardamom powder and mix well. Also add the remaining ghee at this stage and keep cooking in low flame until it becomes dry and powdery.
  • Remove it from heat and serve warm or at room temperature. We enjoyed it for over a week refrigerated.


Expert tips
  • Roast the lentils in a slow flame to evenly roast them. Lentils could burn easily and that would spoil the flavor.
  • Grind the lentils with less water.
  • Jaggery syrup has to come to single thread consistency. If the syrup is too thin, it will take longer to bring the okkarai to the right texture.
  • Do not overcook the ukkarai as it will make the texture to be hard. Okkarai should be soft and crumbly.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg