Cook the chana dal in water till soft, but not mushy. It must hold its shape. Drain and set aside.
Now let’s make the pidi. Boil water and salt in a large bowl. Set aside 1 ½ cups rice flour in a plate.
As the water starts boiling, be ready with a wooden ladle with a long handle. Slowly tip in the rice flour, increase the flame to make the water boil and mix rigorously to combine.
Ensure that the rice flour is completely wet and crumbly. Reduce the flame to bare minimum, close the lid and keep it closed for 5 minutes. Switch off.
In a big flat plate, put this rice flour mixture. Allow to slightly cool, till your hand can touch. It shouldn’t go too cold, otherwise it will be difficult to handle. Keep some water in a bowl close by.
Dip your hand in water and bring together the mixture to look like a dough. Start kneading.
Knead for at least 10 minutes, occasionally dipping your hand in water. At the end of the kneading, you will get a non-sticky dough.
Keep some oil in a small bowl near to you. Keep the extra 1 cup rice flour in another bowl as well. Take a wide plate or bowl and sprinkle some rice flour generously. Oil your hand well.
Take a lime sized ball, make it into a log shape. Pinch from the top a tiny piece, roll and press to represent a button. Repeat till the log is done.
Then take another lime sized ball and continue with the steps till the whole dough is exhausted. Keep oiling your hand occasionally if the dough feels sticky.
After finishing each lime ball, make sure to sprinkle rice flour on top of the pidis so that It doesn't stick to each other. * I have tried to give a step by step for this but it’s not very clear!
Grind the coconut along with 1 cup of water in the blender. Strain through a sieve and reserve the coconut milk.
In a large saucepan, add the 2 cups of water, ½ tsp cardamom powder, salt and the jiggery. Let the water boil and the jiggery to melt.
Now add in the pidis. Cook till done, around 15 to 20 minutes on low flame.
Keep stirring in between so that it doesn’t stick, but not too much that the pidis lose their shape. You will see that the mixture will start thickening.
Now add the coconut milk and the dal and cook for a further 5 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining cardamom powder, adjust the salt. Switch off.
In a little saucepan, heat ghee, fry the shallots till brown. Pour into the prepared kadala pidi and mix well.
Serve warm with a cup of chai. Oh, bliss!!!