The trick is getting the right consistency in Jaggery syrup. The syrup should not spread when you drop in water instead it should form a ball instantly. Also, if you lift that and drop it in the plate, it should make a noise. So, the syrup is really hard compared to anything you have ever used to for other sweets.
In India, they sell a press for ariselu. In US, it's hard to find so I bought a cast iron bacon press as it's heavy, used a steel flat colander and a plate underneath to fit it so I can press the excess oil out. It worked out great.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Rice soaking time: 2 days ( wash and change water twice a day)
Cook Time: 15 minutes (Syrup)
Cook Time: 30 minutes (Ariselu)
Makes : 40 Ariselu
Rice : 750 gms ( soak for 2 days, wash and change water twice a day)
Jaggery: 500 gms
Ghee : 2 tablespoons
Water : 3/4 cup
Oil : For deep frying
Take the rice, drain it and put it on a cloth for 10 minutes to dry.
Take the rice in batches and grind into a fine powder. Sift twice so there no lumps and only the finest powder is used. The left over pieces after sifting can be grinded to get a fine powder again.
Chop the jaggery into small pieces, add water and start making the syrup. After the first 10 minutes, stir frequently and keep checking if the syrup is ready in a little bit of water.( take a tablespoon of water in a plate) once the syrup you drop forms a ball without spreading, the syrup is ready. It took me 15 minutes total for the syrup to be ready.
Turn off the stove, start adding the flour to the syrup stirring constantly. Make sure no lumps are formed.
Let it cool for 10 minutes.
Heat oil for deep frying, take a golf ball size dough and spread into a circle on a greased plastic paper or ziplock cover. Drop one at a time and cook till they turn golden brown on both sides.
Take them out and press the oil out immediately. Place them in a plate till they cool off.
Store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
Variation: if you like sesame seeds, you can just roll the dough into the seeds before making it into a circle. Follow rest of the process as above.