Adhirasam or Ariselu or Kajjaya or Arisa or Anarsa - Traditional Diwali or Deepavali Delicacy (sweet)

Adhirasam, Ariselu, Kajjaya, Arisa, Anarsa, adirasam, athirasa
Adhirasam fried in ghee/clarified butter

Adhirasam/Ariselu/Kajjaya/Arisa/Anarsa is a sweet dish prepared in most of the South-Indian homes during the Diwali/Deepavali festival. In the state of Tamil Nadu, this sweet is called by the name 'Adhirasam', in Andhra Pradesh, it is called as 'Ariselu' or 'Neti Ariselu', in Orrisa, it is known as 'Arisa' and in Karnataka state, the same sweet is called by the name 'Kajjaya'. Now, coming to the Northen part of India, the sweet delicacy is called by the name Anarsa. The traditional iron-rich sweet can be prepared with sugar/jaggery, though traditionally, the use of jaggery was more. In Nepal and Sri-Lanka, too, this sweet is prepared and called by various names.  

The authentic preparation of Adhirasam takes about a week. First the rice is soaked in water and dried. Then it is ground into fine powder. The jaggery is then melted with little water and once you get the consistency, rice flour is added to it to make a thick dough. It is then transferred to a earthenware pot and the pot is covered with a thin white cloth, where it is then allowed to ferment for about 3 to 5 days by placing it in the sunlight during the day time. Finally when the batter is ready for preparation, small aize balls of the dough is taken and flattened using fingers in a small piece of oil brushed banana leaf and deep fried in oil until golden brown. Finally the Adhirasam/Areselu/Kajjaya/Arisa is pressed with a flat bottomed bowl to remove the excess oil.


1. Rice rice - 1 kg
2. Jaggery - 3/4th kg (grate the jaggery)
3. Cardamom - 4 to 5 nos. (powder the cardamom)
4. Poppy seeds/Khus Khus - 2 to 3 tsp.
5. Sesame seeds/Till - 4 to 5 tbsp.
6. Oil/Clarified butter (ghee) for deep frying

Cooking Method:

1. Clean and soak the rice in water for about 5 hours. The soaking of the rice makes the sweet more soft and gives a nice texture.

2. Drain the rice from water and spread it over a cloth for about 15 minutes, until the water gets dried up and easy to blend it in the mixer. Once the rice is powdered, allow it to pass through the sieve to get even powdered form.

3. Heat up the jaggery in a vessel with 1/4th cup of water and allow it to boil until a thick consistency is formed. To check the right consistency, there is also a traditional way to check, where you keep the water in a small bowl and pour a drop of this mixture and check whether you can form a ball out of the same.

4. Once the jaggery is attained the right consistency, add sesame seeds, cardamom powder and poppy seeds to it, and then add the rice flour little at a time by constantly mixing it with a spatula until a dough consistency is formed. 

5. Make small balls of even size out of the dough and flatten it on a leaf or a foil or a plastic sheet.

6. Heat up oil/ghee in a deep bottomed pan, and fry this on both sides. With the help of another spoon or spatula, press the Adhirasam to remove excess oil/ghee and once chilled store it in a container, and offer this to the goddess Lakshmi during the deepavali/deewali festival and relish this traditional sweet to heart's content. 

Nethi Ariselu


1. The The dough can be keep in a refrigerator for some days and can be fried anytime you desire to have it fresh and warm.

2. The consistency of the jaggery when its boiling should be very prefect to get the best results.

3. If not very experienced and the consistency is not attained with the jaggery, do not panic, just drop the balls in the oil or ghee and enjoy the dish as the taste remains the same but only the shape would not be formed as seen in the picture.

4. Here the Adhirasam/Kajjaya is fried in ghee/clarified butter. If the same sweet is fried in oil, a different texture is formed. As I told earlier, sugar/jaggery both can also be used separately for the sweetness to the Adhirasam. The poppy seeds and sesame seeds can also be made optional. So make it the way you prefer though there is lot of varieties in this authentic sweet dish, Kajjaya.

5. If you like to relish this sweet with a different taste, fresh coconut pieces also can be added to this though purely optional.

You might also like:

Rice Pudding (Chawal ke Kheer)


Makhane ki Kheer