Adhirasam the Indian pastry

When Deepavali comes, the first thing that comes to my mind is adhirasam. No amount of donuts, blueberry cheese tarts or even brownies can come in between me and adhirasam. So, I thought, why not share the age-old recipe of this South Indian dessert with all of you, to express my love for it.


  • 1 – ½ cup of raw rice
  • I cup of jaggery (dark brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 2 pinches of dry ginger powder
  • 2 pinches of elachi powder (ground cardamom)
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • Cooking oil for frying


  1. Firstly, wash and soak rice for two hours. Drain the rice and spread it on a white cotton cloth for 30 minutes. Don’t let it dry for too long as it will give a rubbery texture to the pastry, so make sure that the rice stays somewhat moist.
  2. Next, grind it in two batches in a mixer into flour. It doesn’t have to be fine like store-bought rice flour, so don’t worry too much about the texture of the flour.
  3. Once that’s done, sieve the rice flour. After that, press it gently so that it locks the moisture and doesn’t get dry. Meanwhile, powder the jaggery, immerse it in water and then heat it in water.
  4. Once it’s completely dissolved, filter the jaggery syrup to remove impurities. Reheat the syrup in medium flame. Stir occasionally to maintain the syrup’s consistency. If you want, you may add water into the syrup.
  5. Now we have arrived at the most important step of making adhirasam. At the beginning stage, the syrup dissolves as you pour it in water. Then, a fine thread will be formed in the water, but dissolves when you touch it. After a while, the syrup will thicken. When you pour in the water, it won’t get dissolved and you will be able to gather it with your fingers and form a loose ball. This is called the soft ball consistency and at this stage, you should put out the fire. Immediately, pour it to the flour, little by little. Add sesame seeds, elachi powder and dry ginger powder to the mixture.
  6. You won’t be needing all the sugar syrup (only three-quarters of the syrup will be used), so be careful when you are adding the syrup and keep mixing with a spoon. At first, the dough will be a bit gooey and sticky. After some hours, it will get absorbed and stiffen.
  7. Keep it overnight at room temperature in an airtight container. You can keep it in such a way for two or three days. Over a longer period, make sure it is refrigerated. At the time of making, divide it into balls the size of a small lemon. You can use sesame oil when you roll, because the dough will be slightly sticky.
  8. Heat oil in a kadai (wok). Once it is hot, reduce the flame to low. Flatten the dough you have made just now, thicken and grease it with a drop of ghee. Carefully fry it until it turns golden brown.

There you have it, Tamil Nadu’s famous adhirasam. You can make it to look like a donut by using a donut cutter before frying, the way Malaysian Tamils do it. It is an important sweet delicacy in Tamilian homes during Deepavali, and also known as an offering to gods during prayers.

I am aware of the fact that this recipe requires a lot hard work, but I can assure you that the taste is mindblowing, and not something to be missed. So give it a try and have a great Deepavali. Happy Deepavali to all Malaysians out there!

Sourced from:

By Shivasangari Kanawathi, 21, Kuala Lumpur

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