Sakkare acchu in Kannada, which interprets to sugar moulds, is a sugar sweet that may be a conventional dish ready for the Makara Sankranti pageant.
Growing up in Hyderabad, the primary pageant of the calendar 12 months, Sankranti was all the time particular. As a toddler, the distinctive custom of constructing Ellu Bella (a preparation made with chopped jaggery, peanuts, dry coconut, roasted gram dal, and sesame seeds) was one thing I seemed ahead to.
However, what intrigued me was the Sakkare acchu. These small white doll-like items made with sugar piqued my creativeness particularly after listening to my mom regale me with the way it was made at her maternal dwelling. “My mother always made the acchu with just sugar and lemon over a traditional stove that used coal. It is a skill that ensured the mould came out perfectly every time,” is how my mom defined the method. Since we lived in Hyderabad, we didn’t have entry to the mould, so it remained a little bit of a thriller to me.
After we shifted to Bengaluru within the mid-1990s, I began noticing the native shops promoting the sakare acchu throughout Makar Sankranti. To be sincere, I paid little consideration to them then because it was prepared made and I had no solution to learn the way they had been made. The attention-grabbing half was that they got here in numerous sizes and shapes, usually assuming types like a peacock, a temple, horse heads, fish shapes and lotus floral motifs. However, this 12 months, I made a decision to lastly learn the way these cute little sugar dolls are made.
Making some enquiries with outdated time contacts, I used to be launched to 65-year-old Geeta who agreed to indicate me how they had been made. It helped that she had a large assortment of moulds in numerous shapes that she introduced alongside.
Geeta defined the method, “making the acchu needs patience and comes with experience. Depending on the size of the mould, you can start with one measure of sugar, like a cup and add water to the level that covers it completely and then start melting it over a stove. Once it is done, you need to use a muslin cloth and strain it. Then add some milk and keep stirring it. Once the milk has blended in, strain it again. Repeat the same process with some curds and once you strain it, the impurities present in the sugar will be removed. After that you need to start boiling the syrup again, stirring continually, till it starts thickening. You can squeeze the juice of half a lemon and continue stirring. Finally, you will need to quickly pour this into the mould so that it sets in the pattern chosen.”
The trick to get the acchu proper is to make sure that the sugar syrup is cooked properly when you may see the water bubbles on the highest after which shortly pour it into the mould. If you could have performed it proper, you may see the sugar solidifying whilst you pour it contained in the moulds. Once performed you simply want to attend for a few minutes after which rigorously open the moulds and you’ve got the sakkare acchu in your fingers.
The mould itself is kind of fascinating and is available in numerous sizes and shapes. A well-liked selection is the tiny temple-like construction that has 4 elements which might be secured along with a rubber band. All the moulds have a small opening on the highest portion the place the recent sugar syrup is poured.
The mould curiously was once product of teak wooden previously. As the method is time consuming and desires dexterity, there was a pattern of shopping for the acchu from shops as a substitute of taking the difficulty to make them. However, conventional households consider that making the acchu on this method is the easiest way as they keep true to how they’re meant to be. “The store-bought ones could have chemicals added to ensure the milky whiteness of the acchu,” warns Geeta.
As moulds themselves are product of wooden, it is very important soak them in water in a single day or a minimum of six hours earlier than utilizing them so the sugar syrup de-moulds simply with out getting caught. Likewise, as quickly because the acchu is demolded, the mould goes again into water to allow them to be cleaned simply.
A favorite with youngsters, sugar can also be utilized in one other type, small sugar balls strung into a sequence that youngsters beneath 5 years outdated are made to put on on Sankranti. There is an arati carried out and it’s believed this may keep at bay the evil eye and make sure the youngsters are wholesome and pleased via the 12 months. A want that’s as candy because the reminiscences of the pageant itself. And one we are able to all use now.
Views expressed are private
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