Chalimidi is a very traditional dish with only 3 main ingredients, but don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients. It requires patience and practice to finesse this dish and the end result tastes much like pala kova (milk khoya) with much less effort and time. (But patience and practice are the key words here). Chalimidi is usually given to Mom’s-to-be for baby showers. It is supposed to act as a coolant for the would-be mom.
My grand mother used to give chalimidi to my mom and my aunt every time they visited, even if it’s just for 2 days. That is a tradition that my ammamma started and my mom wants to continue it with her daughters now. It is also a tradition to see the correct thidhi (asterisms) and nakshatram (Star) before even starting the preparation for making the dish. I do not have a clear understanding of the reason behind the whole process and am still in the process of learning. This dish can be made with either jaggery or sugar. My mom always makes it with jaggery.
Soak rice for 10 hours or overnight. Drain the rice completely and leave it to dry for about 30 minutes.
Grind the soaked rice into fine powder. Sieve the powder to remove coarser grains. Grind the coarser grains and sieve again. The end rice powder should have pretty smooth texture.
Combine jaggery with 1 cup of water and boil till the solution gets to a very strong consistency (Unda paakam). You will know that you got the correct consistency by testing the jaggery solution: add a drop of solution to water, and it should form a bead without dissolving.
Meanwhile saute dry coconut pieces in 1 tbsp ghee. Remove and keep aside.
When the jaggery reaches the desired consistency, remove from heat. Add the remaining ghee, sauteed coconut pieces and gradually stir in the rice powder. Add rice in small installments and keep stirring after every addition, until the mixture stops sticking to the spoon, but is still creamy like khoya.
Remove into a clean dish.
This keeps well in the refrigerator for almost a month.