It’s that time of the year again! Err.. Ok I don’t want to start this post like that. Let’s start over.
Hope you’re doing good, enjoying the two days off that you got from work, or the one day – either for Eid/Pongal/Sankranti. I’m a Tamilian. Ideally I’m supposed to celebrate Pongal in all grandeur. But I learnt only today what the festival is about. To ‘pong’ in Tamil means to overflow. So the festival basically is a celebration of life, praying for/wishing that everyone’s life overflows with happiness, isn’t that nice? But I don’t like pongal. The dish I mean. So I won’t write about it.
What I do like, is sakkare achchu. And ellu. And the toffees and chocolates and little toys that people generally give along with the ellu bella. If you’re confused, I’m gonna give you a tutorial of this Sankranti festival. Not the religious bit, but the colloquial bit. I’ll tell you what all people do for the festival, and since I don’t wanna ramble on, I’ll show it to you in pictures.
Sankranti is a festival that’s celebrated to thank God for a good harvest. My mum says Samyak (Excellent) + Kranti (Revolution) = Sankranti. I have no clue if that’s right. Anyway, you’re generally happy about your good produce, so you feel generous. So you distribute things. Here are a bunch of things that are shared with others. All pictures shot on Malleswaram 8th cross.
Those are a few of the things we share with everyone. Of course you want a box or something to put all these in. So currently, markets are FULL of colourful boxes and plates!
And of course! The festival is about ellu bella (essentially sesame seeds, jaggery, groundnuts, cobri and some sort of gram. Dad says donkey gram. Sigh.) When I said colloquial, this is what I meant. It’s what the festival is known for now. They even harvest ellu (sesame seeds), and share with their well-wishers.
The best part of the festival is, of course, sakkare achchu.
So I found this garland of sakkare achchu. I’d never seen this before. I clicked a picture of it. And then the owner of the store came along and said “That’s not how you click a picture. Go stand there… Haan stop. Now as I’m explaining the garland to you, you click a picture.” This is what I got.
There are just too many varieties of sakkare achchus. You’ll get tired of them really. There are colourful ones also but I wouldn’t recommend them.
Why don’t I feel like eating them? Because I get mom-made, melt-in-the-mouth sakkare achchu and those are the only ones I have ever eaten. And they come in the coolest shapes. Check these.
I’ve titled this post as a glorious post for a reason. There are TOO many pictures. AND I’m going to show you HOW to make these achchus. So only those that have lasted this long in the post will get the secret, precious tutorial.
Step 2: Soak 1 kilo of powdered sugar in water overnight. The next morning, boil it and while boiling, add half a glass of milk. Strain into another vessel with a muslin cloth.
Step 4: After a few minutes of boiling, take it off the stove and begin to stir it, until it turns from a clear liquid, to a dense white liquid.
So that’s that. Anyone who has eaten my mum’s sakkare achchu will know what I’m talking about when I say it’s out of the world! I don’t have a sweet tooth really, but I eat it anyway. My mum says the stirring bit (Step 4) is the key to the perfect sakkare achchu. Now I’d suggest you don’t completely rely on this blog post if you’re making the sakkare achchu. Call my mum if you have to or read up a proper recipe. But I hope this gives you an idea of how it’s made.
So go spread sweetness, with everything Sankranti-ish! I’ve spent an entire day on this blog post, not to mention, gotten a really sticky camera and a tanned face. So thank you if you actually scrolled down until the end. (Even if you didn’t read it, I’m glad you saw the pictures!)
Also, if you’re not celebrating Sankranti, go out and walk around the markets around you. I had such an awesome time clicking pictures of all those vendors on 8th cross. They are such a happy people.
Ok enough. I’m tired. Bye : )