Ginger-jaggery anyone? At Kayalpattinam in Thoothukudi, palm jaggery comes in many flavours

Ginger-jaggery anyone? At Kayalpattinam in Thoothukudi, palm jaggery comes in many flavours

Jariya Azeez and a crew of children are documenting households making conventional flavoured jaggery in Kayalpattinam in Thoothukudi district

When the mud of the day settles and other people wait out the afternoon solar indoors, the ‘puttu kaara paati’ arrives. She walks from one road to a different within the seaside village of Kayalpattinam in Thoothukudi, a basket balanced on her head, singing-announcing recent puttu. The previous girl — her identify is Samudrakani — was a fixture in Jariya Azeez’s childhood. “She’s unable to stroll lengthy distances now, so doesn’t promote puttu any extra,” says Jariya over telephone.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jariya, who was raised in Chennai, is from Kayalpattinam. She runs Abati, a retailer that focusses on sustainable and handmade merchandise, from her ancestral dwelling within the city. In the course of the course of curating merchandise for her enterprise, she got here throughout palm-based edibles akin to puttu, paavu, and pudisakkaram.

Puttu in the making

“These are regionally produced and are well-liked in a couple of different villages round Kayalpattinam as properly,” she explains. Made by households who’ve been within the enterprise for generations, they’re offered in small portions within the villages throughout summer season. “However these delicacies have been confined to our area; not many individuals outdoors are conscious of them,” factors out Jariya.

Which is why throughout lockdown, she determined to doc the making of those desserts. She met and interviewed households concerned. “Puttu,” explains Jariya, “Is out there for six months a 12 months. In Kayalpattinam, there are a handful of households making it. The lads head out early within the day to climb palm timber and produce down padhaneer (palm sap).”

Puttu, paavu, and pidisakkaram

The preparation is generally completed by the ladies within the household. They empty fermented palm sap into enormous cauldrons and stir them over a wood-fired range till it takes on a golden color.

“Then the flavouring is added: this may be mango, dry ginger, moong dal, sesame seeds, coconut, or cashews,” says Jariya. This concoction is then poured into moulds and let to harden. So puttu, in essence, is flavoured palm jaggery.

“To make paavu, the ladies proceed to stir the identical combination till it takes on a thick, fudge-like consistency,” she provides. “Rice flour is added to this combination to make pidisakkaram that derives its identify from ‘pidi’, that means, to form by hand.” Jariya laughs as she remembers how her nice grandmother saved the jaggery in earthen pots, hung excessive up from the ceiling, out of attain of youngsters.

Jariya Azeez and team with ‘Puttu paati’ Samudrakani

Right now, when you go to Kayalpattinam or its neighbouring villages in the summertime months, you should buy flavoured jaggery by the kilo. “However nowadays, although, the ladies make them solely in small batches as per demand.” Jariya, with assist from Mohideen MSL and Mubarak VMH, each faculty college students from the city, and Ahamed Mujahidha, an area, is making a documentary movie on the method. “I keep in mind how previously, ladies from our village would stroll to close by Poonthottam, the place paavu was made each summer season. They carried coconut, fruits, and greens of their selection and handed them over to the paavu makers, waited till it was completed and introduced the dish again dwelling,” she remembers.

Today, although, this apply has change into a factor of the previous. “These are indicators that this craft is dying, and we wished to doc it to showcase this to our future generations and the skin world,” explains Jariya.

This summer season, Jariya even offered the desserts on her Instagram web page. In a hand-woven palm field, she packaged 50 grams every of 5 completely different flavours of the jaggery in small, vibrant palm leaf pouches; a field of paavu; a multi-millet combine; and a candy seeni maavu made from rice flour and coconut milk.

“I wished to share what Kayalpattinam needed to provide with everybody else; we take pleasure in what we make and designed this assortment as an alternative choice to a field of sweets,” she provides. The jaggery and the seeni maavu will be included into breakfast. “They are often added as topping to plenty of dishes, had with tea…paavu can be utilized like jam.”

Puttu paati’ Samudrakani, in the meantime, regardless of not stepping out for work, is hale and wholesome. Jariya and crew met her not too long ago for his or her documentary. She even posed for a photograph with them, sporting darkish glasses.

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