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Saturday, October 20, 2007



Suhiyan is the only name I know this dish by and it is a traditional festival dish my mom makes, particularly for Saraswathi Pooja celebrated towards the end of the Navarathri.

Navarathri was one of my favorite times when growing up. We used to set up this elaborate display called "Bommai Kolu" where dolls of varying sizes are displayed in a gallery-like steps set up especially for this purpose.

The dolls are usually of mythological figures, Gods and Goddesses, made with anything from clay to wood to paper maché. I wish I had scanned some of the old photos - a picture would be worth a thousand words to describe the beautiful decorations my mom used to enthusiastically set up in those days.

Friends, family, neighbors are all invited, and there is a lot of exchange of visits all through the festival period. Every day of the ten days (nine nights) there is a special dish, mainly chundal ('ch' as in chair) aka sundal, which are usually made with any kind of beans (sprouted, if preferred) like chick peas, butter beans, broad beans, split green peas, Lima beans, black-eyes peas, peanuts, kidney beans and so on. Plus, vadai, payasam, appam and suhiyan towards the end around Saraswathi Pooja and Vijaya Dasami.

While my mom makes the suhiyan in the traditional way soaking the urad dal, rice flour etc., grinding them and making sure the Suhiyan comes out approximately round shaped, I am not that experienced, so, I use some short cuts and the suhiyan turns out oddly shaped, but, quite incredibly tasty nonetheless, if I may say so myself :)

Suiyan is basically a sweet filling (poornam) coated with a batter and deep fried. The filling can have a few variations. I make a simple poornam, just like for Poorna Kozhakattai, with brown sugar and dry grated coconut. The batter is the short-cut one where I mix some urad flour, rice flour, all purpose flour and some water to about oothappam batter or pancake batter consistency. I am not too finicky about measuring, so, the ingredients list below is approximate, bear with me.

for the poornam:
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup dry grated coconut
some water (just about ¼ cup or less)

for the batter:
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup urad flour
¼ cup rice flour
some water

oil for deep frying

  1. poornam: heat the water and brown sugar in a pan over medium low, when brown sugar dissolves and begins to bubble, add the grated coconut and stir till thick, but not rock solid; remove from heat when the mixture has come together and is not runny anymore; this step is mostly from experience and trial and error for me; roll into about 1-inch or 1½-inch round balls while still warm, allow to cool a little so it sets into shape
  2. batter: mix the flours, add a little water at a time till the batter is about the consistency of thick pancake batter, or oothappam batter, or even thick idlee batter
  3. suhiyan: heat oil for deep frying; dip each poornam ball in the batter, coat well (and uniformly if possible), deep fry till golden brown on the outside

This suhiyan recipe is my post for RCI: Regional Cuisine of India: Tamil Nadu Festival Foods hosted this month by Vcuisine

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  • At 9:48 PM, Blogger Vcuisine said…

    Thank you so much Sheela for this wonderful entry. Very nice. Like modak it is my favorite too. Very tasty with the outer covering. Appreciate your interest. Viji

  • At 8:57 AM, Blogger meeso said…

    Yum...fried up sweets sound very good to me!!!

  • At 3:08 PM, Blogger remya said…

    lovely sweet for festival...


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