Monday, July 8, 2013

Paripogum Palagaram

I vividly remember during Deepavali preparation many years ago, the adhirasam is one 'tough cookie' to make and keep safe. My late grandmother insist on using the 'ural & ulakkai' traditional mortar to smash the rice to make the flour. If you have used it before, you'll know how tough it is. Then she will make the caramel from thick brown sugar and check the consistency by dropping small dots into cold water. After the laborious preps, the dough for adhirasam is made by hand and kept at high place for a day or 2 till it hardens. Then she and my mother will fry the sweet, succulent adhirasam ... and keep it under lock and key till Deepavali!!! According to my granny, it must not be eaten until the Deepavali morning prayers and 'padayal' offerings are completed. It remains the only item that is kept, not tasted till the day, 'etchal padamal irukanum'. The adhirasam she makes, will keep for at least 2 months without spoiling nor hardening.

So the adhirasam remains an elusive snack throughout the year, until Deepavali comes. It all changes when ready-made mix for adhirasam was available, we can make it and savor at anytime of the year. But yet, it remained in our houses, occasionally can be found in restaurants or muruku shops.

Now, adhirasam and many of our traditional snacks and sweets are available in almost everywhere, unfortunately not made and sold by our people. Take a short walk along Jalan Masjid India, you'll witness many Indons making our Masalvadai and selling it as Masalodeh!! In Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, a stall makes and sells our Adhirasam in large quantities as Denderam!!

I did a few image search to see the number of results pops out for some famous items, see yourself:

maruku 156,000
muruku 60,200

kuih ros 161,000
achu muruku 2,200

adhirasam 91,600
kuih telinga hindu 7,850
denderam 5,010
kuih telinga keling 4,890

idiyappam 44,300
putu mayam 29,700

Our palagarams are being commercialized by others, while we make and keep them in cupboards (now you know why the intro above). Why aren't we confident in our own traditional delicacies? We only make them in small quantities and sell in our own shops or stalls, without bigger vision for making them in commercial mode. Very few entrepreneurs who dared to venture into this business, but they only look at (small) Indian market, unlike the others who have learned our recipes and making it big in all nooks and crannies of the country.

The worst part is, allowing the names of our delicacies to be changed (corrupted). WTF is masalodeh? maruku? denderam? papadom? bariyani? putu mayam? I don't know what is so mayam (mythical) about the putu here.

While opportunities are aplenty in this field, we also face challenges when our people make and sell them. The belilah tanpa was-was issue dances in front of our traders, even though these items are pure vegetarian. So the others are taking advantage of our reluctance and diffidence.

In short time, Indon troops on bikes will be hawking their invention putu mayam everywhere, while we duduk melopong.

1 comment:

  1. lol
    puttu mayam is puttu & idiyappam rolled into one.

    our puttu has become beautiful putu piring and putu bamboo by the Malays... they are verty good at creative presentations.

    have you seen nyonya mee goreng/rebus in chinese restaurants, served with fork and spook and not chopsticks? those are nothing but penang indian mee.

    also in penang you will find our appam sold by chinese with just some banana slices in them. :)

    at the rate this is going, everyone will call these items native to malaysia ... lol

    as it is they are saying roti canai and teh tarik is malaysian and cannot be found in india... the claim obviously made by those who have never been to india. :)