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Sugiyan - a local delicacy

September 03, 2011

—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.

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