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Sugiyan - a local delicacy


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—Photo by Harini Prakash

I hope all of you celebrated a happy and peaceful Eid, amidst mouth watering sweets. For us this was immediately followed by Ganesh Chaturthi, which calls for region specific preparations.   Today, I am sharing with you one of delicacies that is prepared by my mother during the festival. Sugiyan is not as popular as kheer or halwa as it is made by a small community of people. Most of my friends don’t seem to have heard of it! Yet, I find that out of all the sweets I share with during Ganesh Chaturthi, it is ‘sugiyan’ whose recipe I have given out most often. Often some sweets get ‘scheduled’. We do not seem to make them unless the occasion demands, and the same goes with this one, but sugiyan is very easy to prepare and seems perfect for rainy days. It is deep fried! I am sure you will agree that one can indulge in a treat sometimes!   Sugiyan is a sweet, fried dumpling made of a filling of mung dal, jaggery and coconut, gathered into small balls, dipped in a batter of urad dal and rice flour and then fried. It is amazing how the savoury and sweet blend together to offer culinary nirvana! I recommend that you have it crisp and warm, but I have never heard anyone complain over the cold ones.   Last time I was requested to serve up dishes that use local ingredients. This delicacy uses items that can be easily sourced at your corner shop.   Dish: Sugiyan Yield: 35 to 40, depending on size of portions   Ingredients:   Filling: Mung bean split / Mung dal – ¼ cup Coconut, freshly grated – ½ cup Jaggery, powdered (preferably organic) – ½ cup Cardamom / Elaichi, split and powdered – 4 Oil (Any neutral smelling oil like sunflower oil) – 2 tsps.   Dipping batter: Black gram split lentils / Urad dal – ¾ cup, (soaked for 1 hour in warm water) Rice, soaked for 1 hour in warm water – ½ cup Salt to taste (I prefer a touch of salt)   Oil to fry the dumplings   Method:   Filling: Cook moong dal with just enough water till soft. Grind the coconut to a coarse paste. Heat the oil in a wok/frying pan.   Mix the cooked dal, coconut and jaggery together along with the cardamom powder.   Add to the oil and keep cooking on reduced heat till it comes together as a thick paste. Initially the mixture will have some liquid as the jaggery melts, but it will later gather into a soft ball. The cooking should be done on reduced heat to prevent the jaggery from burning. This took me about 15 minutes. Do not leave the mixture in the wok. This needs constant stirring.   Cool the mixture till it comes to room temperature.   Dipping batter: Grind the washed, rinsed and drained dal and rice together till you get a smooth paste, adding water sparingly. I have found that fine rice flour and urad dal flour give the same results. If the batter is very liquid, and sticky add some rice flour and beat till you get a batter similar to the one we use for bhajias (gram fritters). If the batter is thin but not sticky add urad dal flour and beat to get the right consistency.   Add salt, a tsp. of hot oil and beat well.   Preparing sugiyan:

Make small balls of the filling, about the size of ping-pong balls. I made about 40.   Heat oil for frying till moderately hot. The oil is ready when a drop of batter will sizzle and rise to the top immediately.   Dip each ball in the batter and deep fry in moderately hot oil. The batter may not stick all over. Some portions of the filling may remain visible. This is normal and will not disintegrate in the oil.   I fry about three dumplings at a time as my cast iron wok is a very small one. Turn over after two minutes when one side is done, so as to cook the other side. Fry till uniformly golden.  Drain on a tissue paper.  Set aside till warm enough to relish.   Serve immediately.   If you try it let us know whether you liked it!

Harini aka sunshinemom is a vegan food writer, food photographer and food stylist. To see her work, visit her blog or Flickr album.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (16) Closed

Sep 03, 2011 09:11pm
Yum I am sure its tasty. a happy Ganesh Chaturthi day to all our hindu friends!!!
Mr Guy
Sep 03, 2011 09:21pm
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.. Ganapati Bappa Moraya Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya. Ganesh Chaturthi is also celebrated by Pakistani Hindus. There is a sizable Marathi speaking population in Pakistan who celebrate with fervour.
N.G. Krishnan
Sep 03, 2011 09:45pm
I am thrilled to see this kind of blog getting encouragement from Dawn. I am sure more than rigid Government to Government transactions it is this kind people to people social intercourse will help to tear down the artificial barrier between the people of sub continent who have so much shared values. Sugiyan is indeed commonly prepared sweet dish in Tamil south Indian Iyengar house holds especially during Krishna janmashtami festival and is very delicious, not too complicated to prepare. Letter 'g' is silent in Sugiyan at least among Tamil speaking people.I warmly recommend this preparation to my Pakistani friends.
Sep 03, 2011 10:29pm
Love to see recipes; It gives ideas and suggestions .While entertaining company other than from our region.
Sep 04, 2011 10:40am
Not specific to "IYENGARS"... It is prepared in most tamil house holds.
Jay S
Sep 04, 2011 12:28pm
This dish is very popular in Brahmin households in the south of India.
Sep 04, 2011 12:56pm
I remember it as a common snack in the small hotels/restaurants in north Kerala/Malabar. Very tasty indeed to go with Tea/Coffee. Thanks to Dawn for bringing back the memmories
Sep 04, 2011 08:08pm
Sep 05, 2011 01:31am
The recipe does not call for sugar, then how does the dish get sweet?
Sep 05, 2011 10:24am
man jaggery is "gur" , the raw form of sugar.
Sep 05, 2011 10:34am
Jaggery is the sweetening agent and is nothing but unrefined whole cane sugar. Brings back lots of memories because my grandad used to own a sugarcane plantation. At the time of harvest and jaggery production, the cane juice is boiled in huge vats. At the right consistency, it is poured into moulds to make the final product. Just before that, the worker who tended the vat would swirl a piece of sugarcane in it and make a giant lollipop, if you will, cool it and hand it over to us kids to munch. Just the thought of it makes me salivate even after all these years.
Sep 05, 2011 12:44pm
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi day to all my hindu friends in Pakistan.
Sep 05, 2011 03:01pm
ahhhh.. ....that was another thing i wanted to ask, didn't understand 'jaggery'! :) so its 'gurh', thats ok then! :)
Sep 05, 2011 06:02pm
Surprising, This sweet is claimed by regions and communities and festivals. 40 to 50 years back I have seen this in all tea shops of the entire state of kerala owned by hindus, muslims and christians. My mother used to make it. Now it belongs to festivals, communities , regions
Sep 06, 2011 05:24am
Moong dal (greena gram) is replaced by chana dal (Bengal gram) the batter is made of Udad dal only in the entire south India during festivals and on some religious rites. Perhaps it is one of the ancient sweet dishes of the entire Indian sub continent.
Thomas Mathai
Sep 06, 2011 07:21am
This is a very common snack for Keralites especially in Central Travancore- has nothing to do with region or religion. An evening snack with tea or coffee.