purtassi lamp

How To Create The Rice Flour Lamp known as Mavilakku

Rice Flour Lamp (Mavilakku) is the sweet lamp made for Purtassi Fasting Prayers. 

The Maavilakku was also offered to the Divine Mother Mariamman by Lord Vishnu to pacify her anger towards the sins or transgressions of mankind, as She wanted to infest the earth with pearls of small pox (Muthu Mari).

The Maavilakku is made out of grounded white rice, honey, butter and elatchi which is mixed together and then moulded into a lamp. In the centre of the lamp, a cotton wool wick soaked in ghee is placed and lit.

This edible lamp is made from rice flour, ghee, cardamom (elachi) powder and a suitable sugar agent to bind the ingredients together -forming a cookie dough-like texture. Amma used to make the lamp with honey or condensed milk.


There was always much excitement over the making of the lamp in our house-mostly over who would get to make the Lamp.

Amma would usually cook everything herself but she sometimes got one of my older sisters or me to make the lamp. Amma had a strict rule whenever she made any food for Prayers-she never tasted it and expected us to do the same if we were helping her cook.

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The Rice Flour Lamp was one of the last things to be done on the prayer day. If you want to make it early in the day- it can  be kept in the refrigerator. I have used Honey to make the Rice Lamp in this recipe, similarly if you use condensed milk, the color of the lamp will differ from the one pictured in this recipe.  I have used 1 cup Rice flour to yield a  small lamp. If you would like a larger Rice Flour Lamp then increase all ingredients proportionately.

Finding Rice Flour is not too difficult; you can find it in most supermarkets either in the Gluten Free Food section or in the Health Food Section of smaller supermarkets.

To make Rice Flour Lamp you will need:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee
  • 2 tablespoons honey or condensed milk
  •  ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup rice flour for dusting
  • Additional Ghee for lighting the lamp
  • Cotton wool wick

1. Start by sifting the  cup rice flour. Add cardamom powder. Mix.
2. Add the Ghee.
3. Mix to form fine crumbs.


4. Add the honey/ condensed milk. Mix well, until soft pliable dough is formed.  If the dough gets too soft -dust with rice flour.

How To Shape the Rice Flour Lamp

1. Shape the dough into a ball then place on to the plate you wish to place the lamp.


2. Use a teaspoon to shape the lamp. (If you are making a larger sized lamp-use a tablespoon). Simply press a teaspoon on the top of the ball to make an indent in the lamp. This indent will hold the oil/melted ghee for the lamp. You can store this in the fridge until it is ready for use.
3. Remove the lamp from refrigerater just before you intend lighting it.
4.Fill this indent with ghee/oil.
5. Place a cotton wool wick in the indent.  Light the lamp.


Source: foodlikeammausedtomakeit

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