In search of Ramanathapuram nudhal

Chefs spoke of the Nudhal recipe from Ceylon, where it was a popular sweet more than 200 years ago.

“Only ladies entry. Gents NOT allowed” read the board outside almost every house on the streets of Kilakarai, a municipal town in Ramanathapuram district. The Muslim-dominated town showed no signs of life on a sleepy afternoon during Ramzan. The only semblance of activity was at Raaviyath, a tiny sweet shop on the main road. A motley group of people crowded at the counter asking for nudhal, selling at Rs.180 a kg

I caught hold of a school student who said he knew a paati who prepared nudhal. Prancing, he led me down narrow streets and even narrower lanes when finally we stopped by a board highlighting the stern message. The boy disappeared behind the maze of houses. Even before I reached out for the door bell, Hameeda peeped out of a small window. “I was told you make nudhal here?” I blurted out a wrong question. “Who told you?” she retorted. “Who else is with you? Do you have a camera?” “Only a pen and paper,” I stammered.

She called out to her mother Hadija Beevi, who was hidden behind a black curtain. The lane was so narrow that I kissed the wall with half a twist and lifted the curtain to find Hadija Beevi holding a big ladle and vigorously stirring with both hands the contents of a kadai. The smoke from the firewood chulha and the heat in that little space made her sweat profusely. She flashed a toothless smile and gestured me to wait as she finished making the nudhal to be sent to Ramanathapuram’s oldest bakery, the Master Bakery, where it would sell for Rs.240 a kg.

Full report here Hindu


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here