A very Happy Makara Shankaranti to all the readers of Paaka-Shaale!!!
The sun has already entered the Constellation of capricorn Marking the season of harvest for Indians. It is also believed to be the beginning of the Spring. The festival of Shankaranti is especially important to farmers as it is the harvesting festival. During this time one can see women and little girls dressed in their newest of clothes exchanging Ellu Bella, Bananas, Sugar cane and Sakkare Acchu.
The Sakkare Acchu is nothing but sugar figurines made out of purified sugar syrup. Making Sakkare Acchu is an art from in itself. It requires a lot of patience, time and a diligent eye to get it right. And the final outcome can make you dance with euphoria.
This is not my first attempt at making Sakkare Acchu. I had tried making these beauties almost eight years ago. The outcome was not very encouraging. Even the word "disastrous" would sound very mild. It was a wasted effort and it left me in tears.
As a child I never liked Sakkare Acchu. I couldn't (and still can't) understand how one can eat something as sugary as this. My opinion about the Acchu hasn't changed after all these years. I cannot bring myself to taste even a small bite of the Acchu. But the only reason, I decided to try making these beauties again was because I wanted Purvi to be exposed to the wonderful customs and traditions that our ancestors used to follow.
This time however, I did not embark on the Sakkare Acchu making mission blindly. I watched some youtube videos from here and here. I must say that these videos are just brilliant. They have explained all the nuances of making the Acchus in great detail. I suggest you watch these videos if want to make Sakkare Acchu for the first time.
Wish you all a very happy Sahnkaranti!! May your year be filled with an abundance of peace, love, joy, good and prosperity!!
Sakkare Acchu recipe:
Preparation time: 20min+soaking time
cooking time- 60 min
Makes- 2-1/2 to 3 dozen Figurines
Water - 1cup
Two thick bottomed pans
Traditional wooden or metallic chocolate molds
A white cloth for straining the syrup
- Soak the sugar and water for a couple of hours. Mix well and put the sugar solution on low heat and bring it to a gentle boil.
- Line the scond pan with the cloth and keep aside. Add 2tbsp of milk to the boiling sugar solution and mix well. You will see the scum floating on the surface. Take the syrup off the heat and pour it into the cloth lined pan and strain the scum.
- Put the strained solution back on heat and bring it to a boil. Add Curds to the syrup and strain again.
- Bring the syrup to a boil once again, add the remaining milk and strain again.
- Divide the strained syrup into four portions and bring one portion of the syrup to a boil on a low flame. Continue boiling for two minutes. Take off the heat and beat the syrup vigorously for a few seconds.
- Put the syrup back on the flame and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat beat again for a few seconds.
- Continue the process of boiling and beating for at least seven to ten times. After which the syrup turns white and translucent and the consistency itself becomes thick, like castor oil.
- To check if the syrup is ready, drop a small drop of syrup in a bowl of water. If the syrup stays at the bottom with getting dissolved and forms a soft ball when removed from water, then the syrup is ready.
- Take the syrup off the heat and immediate spoon the syrup into prepared molds. Make sure you act fast as the syrup solidifies almost very fast. Allow the syrup to set and solidify in the mold for 10-15mins.
- Remove the figurines carefully from the molds with the help of a sharp knife or a tooth pick. Arrange them on a platter for a couple of minutes more before storing them in airtight container.
- Repeat the procedure with the second half of the syrup.
- The soaking of sugar is not mandatory. But then, the soaking does make the sugar dissolve faster.
- In case you are using the traditional wooden molds, then make sure they are washed and soaked overnight. Wipe and dry them well before use.
- The color of the acchus depends on the sugar that is used. The sugar that I used was slightly pale brown in color. That is the reason my acchus did not come out white.
- If the figurines breaks by any chance, then do not waste them. Put the broken pieces back on the heat along with a few table spoons of filtered sugar syrup and melt it and repeat the procedure.
- A few drops of lemon juice can be added to give a hint of citrus to the caches.
- Since I did not have the traditional wooden molds, I used metallic candy/chocolate molds to make the Acchus. You can also use silicone molds. But I am not comfortable with the idea of hot syrup being poured into plastic/silicone