In a skillet, heat about 1/4 tsp of ghee and toast the lentils for 2-3 min in low-medium heat until aromatic. It should not change color since that would increase the cooking time. You can dry roast it as well although a little bit of Ghee makes it immensely aromatic and better tasting.
Now pressure cook this in about 1 cup water for 6-8 minutes in high heat (or until 1 whistle). You can otherwise cook this in just milk (or a mix) to give it a richer taste.
You should be able to mash it with your spatula.
The amount of Jaggery would depend on your taste buds and the kind of jaggery you get at the stores. For us, I take about 1/2 cup worth (when broken)
break it into tiny pieces (if available as slabs)
Place it in a bowl and pour boiling water on top of it - just enough to submerge the jaggery. I do this in order to remove any impurities in the jaggery. Its not necessary per se though I would personally recommend it. If you don't want to do this, go to step 12
The hot water will help to dissolve the jaggery. Using the back of a spatula, break lumps if any.
Now sieve it into another bowl. You can break up those few jaggery pieces remaining in your sifter and add it along with. Set aside.
In the same skillet that you used to roast the lentil, add the remaining ghee. I use about 1.5 tsp of Ghee in this recipe. You can add more or less as per your need. Roast the cashews
and when it slightly starts changing color, add the raisins, if using. Set aside.
Take the cooked lentil and heat it up (low-medium heat ) over stove top. Add the jaggery water.
Stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes for the flavors to combine. Since the jaggery is already melted, the heat can be at low. If you skipped step 6, then you would have to add the jaggery pieces directly to the lentils but keep the heat medium and keep stirring so that the jaggery can melt. The stirring is to avoid the lentils burning.
Once the jaggery has melted / mixed well, add the milk. The amount of milk would depend on the consistency you prefer. We prefer the "pour-in-your-tumbler-and-drink"
here (not Tumblr! ) referring to South Indian way of saying cup! :). But if you prefer the "enjoy-with-a-bowl-and-spoon
", then simply add few tbsp or skip the milk completely.
Add the cardamom powder and the roasted nuts (and raisins). Mix and stir for another 2-3 minutes.
until combined. Though adding Saffron is traditional in almost all festive desserts, this one is an exception. It just does not need saffron since it does not provide that distinctive color or taste that it normally does to more milk based desserts. Add a pinch of Edible Camphor, if using. Be careful about the amount. A wee bit goes a long way.