Letri is homemade rice vermicelli topped with fresh grated coconut and jaggery. This dessert is a labor of love but the end result is very delicious and very impressive too!
Growing up we knew this as East Indian letri but do you know that Letri is supposed to have been bought to India, Goa by the Portuguese? The Goans make letri too! The only difference of course, the Goans use Goa black jaggery or coconut jaggery instead of palm sugar or brown jaggery.
Traditionally, the flour used to make the rice vermicelli was freshly milled! So, wash, soak, drain, dry, and then mill to flour in the village mill (chakki).l Told you it was a labor of love! Coincidently, we East Indians always have rice flour on hand because we use it to make rice appas or rice rotis. Don't worry these day rice flour is easily available in most supermarkets so you don't need to do everything from scratch.
What is letri made with?
Most Indian families would have this traditional letri maker or vermicelli maker at home. (first two images below).
These days we use simpler equipment such as these because they can be used for multiple purposes other than just one type of noodles.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Rice flour - use regular rice flour, not glutinous rice flour. If you buy at a store that sells Asian foods they often will have two types of rice flour. So, buy regular, not glutinous.
- Coconut - use fresh coconut and make sure to finely grate only the inside white part. The outer crust closer to the shells is dark brown and does not look nice in the pancake.
- Jaggery - You can use your favorite palm sugar or jaggery. If you are in Goa, of course, use Goan black jaggery it is out-of-this-world delicious.
What do you top letri with?
Traditionally, we use grated coconut and grated jaggery but the options for these are endless.
- I love a generous sprinkle of chopped nuts and raisins.
- Sometimes chopped dates with toasted nuts are a great addition.
- My kids love a drizzle of Nutella over their letri and pancakes.
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- 2 cups Water
- 2½ cups Rice flour
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Cooking oil
- 2 cups Grated coconut
- 2 cups Grated jaggery
- Dough - In a large pot over medium heat bring the water, salt, and oil to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil add the rice flour and combine well. Pro tip - keep the heat to medium or low as we do not want to burn the flour.2 cups Water, ½ teaspoon Salt, 1 tablespoon Cooking oil, 2½ cups Rice flour
- Cook - Continue to stir and cook on medium heat for about a minute. Then, turn the heat off and cover the pot. Leave to cook in the residue heat for 3 minutes.Pro tip - leaving it to cook in the residue heat will soften the rice flour and make softer handbreads.
- Knead - Pour the crumbly dough into a tray/ thala or work surface. While the dough is still warm bring it all into a ball. Dip your hands in water and knead until you have a smooth pliable dough.Pro tip - you do not need to burn your hands so don't make haste to knead it while it is hot. It is ok to leave it to cool until warm.
- Color- Divide the dough into two (or three) colors. Add a few drops of food colors and knead until well blended. Pro tip - of course, adding color is optional but it does look nicer and gets kids all excited.
- Poach - Put a large pot of boiling water on the stovetop. Shape the dough into small tennis size individual balls and drop them in the boiling water a few at a time. Leave them to oil for 6 to 8 minutes or until they float. Pro tip - poaching will cook the dough balls because after this we do not cook the vermicelli anymore so don't make haste let them cook until they float.
- Press - once they float remove and drain them in a colander. Immediately press them through the letri maker or vermicelli maker to create long thin vermicelli (string hoppers). Pro tip - Press each ball on a separate plate so it is easier to move and garnish later.
- Garnish - Place a heap of vermicelli on a plate. Give it a generous sprinkle of grated coconut then grated jaggery. Pro tip - of course, you can also make a large festive platter for a party or special occasion.2 cups Grated coconut, 2 cups Grated jaggery
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Thank you so much Elviera
You are welcome Tippbet
You are welcome Regina
Hey Sam, Well, rice vermicelli is made similarly but it's still not the same. You can tell the difference in the texture of the noodles. But, it will still be delicious.