This feature was written for Dawn blog and is now reproduced here.
Today, I am sharing with you one of delicacies that is prepared by my mother during Ganesh Chaturthi. 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. 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.
I recommend that you have it crisp and warm/ 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.
Yield: 35 to 40, depending on size of portions
Mung beans 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.
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
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 unattended. Cool the mixture till it comes to room temperature.
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 dilute and sticky add some rice flour and beat till you get a batter similar to the one we used 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.
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.
Note: Sugiyan is for me a festival preparation but it is said to be popular as a snack in Kerala.