I can see clouds looming above me and how can I not think of something hot to munch on? The concept of SKC was possibly invented for evenings like this, taking within its sweep the perfect combination of Sweet (S), Kaaram (K – meaning spicy) and Coffee (C). Enroute to Tuticorin, right in the middle of the highway, in a small town called ‘Keela Eral’ is Srinivasan Mittai Kadai. The heavens open up as I sip on a hot cuppa and get talking to people there. Srinivasan Mittai Kadai is famous for Mittais (sweet) made from Cheeni (cane sugar), Vellam (cane jaggery) and Karupatti (palm jaggery). They resemble the Jilebi and are displayed in swirls one on top of the other. Unlike the Jilebi that is made of maida or our very own Jangiri that is made of a paste of ground urad dhal, these mittais are made with rice flour. For every kilo of rice flour, 100 grams of urad dhal is mixed with the previous day’s batter and set aside for 4 hours to ferment. The dough is poured over hot oil in concentric circles by using a tumbler that has a hole at the bottom. 3 types of syrups are made with cane sugar, cane jaggery and palm jaggery. These fried swirls are soaked in the respective syrups for about 10 minutes and arranged one over the other to form a Croquembouche like tower. A nice hot Karupatti mittai in my hand, freshly made karasev and a steaming cuppa in this weather, how does life get better than that?
Watch how they make this regional sweetmeat!
From left to right: vellam mittai (cane jaggery), cheeni mittai (cane sugar) and karupatti mittai (palm jaggery) on display in the store counter
Beautifully arranged Karupatti mittai (Palm jaggery) to form a tower. Almost looks like braided hair
Interestingly, small towns use various items to fuel the stove and in Tuticorin it is dried corn fiber. Note the sugar syrup being made in the kadai
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