A handful of sweet sampling

DOWN FOODPATH

A handful of sweet sampling

Lakkotana Holige’ is a wonderful fried sweet, which finds a prominent place in the joyous act of celebrating an engagement in the Hoysala Karnataka Community.

In fact, the very mention of this dish takes me back to my childhood days, almost five decades ago, which I spent in Malleswaram, which used to be one of the quietest and nicest suburbs in North Bangalore those days.

Ours was a fairly big family even by the standards of yesteryears. We were six daughters and our grandparents too lived with us.

Hence, any announcement of an impending marriage of a girl in the family would send the entire household in to a joyous frenzy.

   As first step, all efforts would be to conduct  a simple but a memorable engagement function that would formalise the tie-up of the bride and the groom.

On this occasion, the bridegroom’s party would visit the bride’s home and a written agreement (‘Lagna Patrike’) of the marriage would be exchanged between the parents, including finalising the date of the marriage.

In Kannada, the envelope or the cover in which this agreement is exchanged is called ‘Lakkote’.

The bridegroom’s party would then be served with delicious snacks with coffee to start with followed by exchange of ‘Kobri Sakkare’ — a mixture of sugar and dry coconut scrapings. The guests would later be served  a delicious dinner and it is here that the much-awaited ‘Lakkotana Holige’ would make an appearance along with ‘Thuppanna’ (rice mixed with ‘ghee’, coconut scrapings and pieces of fried ‘urad papad’) and a ‘payasam’.

‘Lakkotana Holige’ is essentially a mix of coconut scrapings, sugar and cardamom stuffed in a crisp covering of ‘maida’, which is fried in oil. ‘Holige’ in Kannada denotes a form of the popular dish ‘kadubu’ which refers to sweets or hot stuffings fried in a similar fashion.

   But why the prescript Lakkotana? Well, the shape of the dish is exactly like an
envelope folded at the edges at both the ends, with a slightly bulging belly in the middle.
And the formal marriage agreement, drawn up on paper, would also be kept in a similar shaped envelope! Those were the days when no external help from professional cooks was sought to prepare the dishes and the number of guests being small, my mother Lalithamma took the captaincy on the kitchen front with we children helping her here and there.

And unlike the other preparations of that day, which were not fit for storage, ‘Lakkotana Holige’ could be stored as long as two weeks without losing its crispness or taste and could be eaten anytime of the day as a light snack.

Over the years, ‘Lakkotana Holige’ has disappeared from our kitchens but a similar dish, shaped more geometrically by use of moulds and cutters is made during the Ganesha Puja and is known as ‘Karji Kayi’ or ‘Karigadabu’.

For the covering
*Maida: 1 cup
* Fine ‘sooji’:  ¼  cup
*‘Ghee’: 1 tablespoon
* Salt: A pinch

For the filling
* Dry coconut scrapings: 1 cup
* Khus khus: 2 tablespoons
* Sugar: ¾ cup
* Cardamom powder: ½ teaspoon
* Oil for frying 
 
Procedure
Mix all the ingredients meant for the covering in a bowl.
Add enough water to make a stiff dough and leave it covered with a damp cloth for about half an hour.

Fry ‘khus khus’ and dry coconut lightly and make it in to powder along with sugar.
Add the cardamom powder. This is for the stuffing. Make lemon-sized balls from the dough; roll them into thin ‘pooris’ and apply little water around the edges.

Put one tablespoon of the filling in the centre of the ‘poori’.
Fold one side of the edge over the edge of the filling. Press over the fold gently. Now fold the opposite edge so as to overlap the first one.

Fold the sides now firmly but gently to get the shape of ‘Lakkote’ (envelope).
Deep fry in hot oil till you get a golden hue. Drain and store when cool.

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