Of song and dance sequences and Telugu food to follow!

Class 1 at my kids’ school is in the thick of a multicultural festival. Each week is designated for a different state in the country and parents of one kid from that state are asked to please showcase the state. One day – all right. But a whole week? And so, with a little trepidation and not much clue of what I was going to do or where this was going to end up, I agreed to do the Telugu week.
What I did know and knew I could do – was the food part of it! The rest – song and dance and art and craft, I decided to wing! Unfortunately for someone with all the musical ability of a grasshopper, “winging” the song part was not an option! And so, I roped in reinforcements – in the form of a highly talented aunt –my  Anjani auntie – to teach song and dance sequences. 
Inspiration struck and I “winged” one day with “muggulu” (kolam, rangavalli, the art of drawing decorative designs on the floor with rice powder) – the kids were quite thrilled to “legally” be allowed to create messes! 
Picking up my aunt and her daughter-in-law one morning, we went on to teach the kids (the “we” here is is a bit of a liberty but hey, I drove them there, right?!)  some folk songs, street ditties including one I’ve already I’ve given a link to in an earlier story –
Getting kids of five years to dance and clap and weave in and out was as much fun as getting to do it ourselves after decades!
Since I was determined that they would get to sample a Telugu dish every day of the week, I had quite a task getting 25 portions of each ready every morning and packed! No Telugu list of dishes would be complete without the famous rice-paper sweet – pootharekulu – almost impossible to replicate at home so these were bought!
 I dare any reader to actually try to make these at home – they are so incredibly difficult! And if you do, dear reader, you are definitely a better man than I am, Gunga Din… or in this case… a Veeranarasimha Venkata Prasada Sesha Sai or something like that! (yep, that is a sample of an actual Telugu name – the principle being if you name a kid after as many gods as possible, you’ll provide him with MUCH protection!) Here’s a link to pootharekulu making if you want to try – click here to see the YouTube video.
And if you want me to believe you’ve actually done, send me video proof! No photo-shopping faces allowed!
What I did make at home and was a huge success with the kids was – 
These are known by many names across India – gujiyas, karanji and so on and come with a variety of fillings but this is my personal favourite – taught to me by mom and my grandom before that!
  • Maida/plain flour – 1 cup
  • Ghee – melted – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 large pinch
  • Water to knead

Mix the salt into the maida. Pour warm ghee into the flour and adding water a little at a time, knead to a medium firm dough that can be rolled out. Cover and set aside for ten minutes.

  • Grated dry coconut (copra) – 1 cup
  • Sugar – ¾ cup
  • Cashew and almond bits and raisins mixed – ½ cup
  • Powdered cardamoms – 4-5

Mix all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.

  • Oil for deep frying


Divide the dough into small balls – 1 cup will make about 22- 25 kajjikaayalu. Using a little flour to dust the surface, rollout each ball into a  very thin circle – like my mom says – you should be able to read the newspaper through it! Well, at least the small headlines!
Carefully place about a tsp of filling slightly to the side of the centre of each rolled out ‘poori’. With your finger, wet the edges and fold over so that the filling is covered.
Using a continuous pinching motion, take hold of one edge and press down lightly so that it’s sealed. Pick up the next bit and press over slightly overlapping the first ‘pinch’. Continue till you’ve sealed the whole edge.
Once you’ve made about 5 or 6, drop gently into oil that has been heated to BELOW smoking point – this is very important otherwise they do not stay crisp. If the oil is too hot, large bubbles will form on the surface of the kajjikayas. If the oil is at the correct temperature, bubbles will still form but little fellas. Fry on a low heat till golden brown, turning over frequently. Drain and set aside. Once cool, store them in an airtight jar – if there’s any left over!
And don’t forget the challenge with the pootharekulu!
(Pics courtesy: Internet)
Sorry have had a week’s worth of illness so have been having to pinch pics off the net 🙁