Last week I eagerly awaited my nephew Supreet’s arrival from India. Getting ready to go to the airport, greeting him at the airport and seeing his bright face and a brighter smile, hearing about interesting stories or incidents that happened in my family back home, it was all very exciting. Of course, most fun was in opening the suitcases and getting the goodies out. And there they were, boxes of Nandini milk pedas, dharward pedas, Mysore Pak, Laddus, packets of spicy mixtures, kodubale and of course Yellu and Sakkare Acchu. Leelamma, the grandma, captured the scene well by saying “With so many sihi and khara items, the house feels likes a Maduve mane”.
Yellu is made of sesame seeds, neatly cut jaggery & coconut pieces and peanuts. Many Indian customs are waning away but the tradition of making and giving yellu and sakkare acchu to friends and relatives during Makar Sankranthi is very much alive even now. Sakkare Acchu is made by pouring hot sugar syrup in molds. Once the syrup cools down, it solidifies into the shape of the mold. Creating a perfect sugar figurine is really an art. One has to know exactly when to pour the syrup into the mold as even a few seconds before or after can make a huge difference in shape and color. Some of the more popular shapes that I have seen are Tulsi brindavan, temple, swan, Nandi bull, sugar cane, and lotus flower.
Nandini brand of sweets are quite popular in Karantaka. They are affordable, of high quality and delicious. Doodh pedas are made from milk and sugar and last for a week at room temperature. Dharward pedas are a specialty from this town called Dharward. These brown colored pedas, also made from milk and sugar, have a distinct smell and are often sprinkled with sugar. For Mithai lovers these Nandini sweets are a great treat.
For days now these goodies have been satisfying that craving to eat something sweet or spicy.
Thanks Amma, Valli and Supreet!