Kadalai Mittai

Pride of Kovilpatti
When you find yourself wishing life was simpler; when you sigh for all those childhood years that will never come back- well, that’s the time when you should reach out for a packet of kadalai mithai. You can find this comfort food in any petty shop in Tamil Nadu, but nothing can beat the taste straight from the very place which made this snack famous- Kovilpatti.
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The kadalai mittai which when translated means peanut candy is just that- a sweet with a nutty flavour. It is a staple snack found everywhere in Tamil Nadu, from tiny hole-in-the-wall shops in villages to swanky department stores in cities. Only in the latter, they are in the form of slabs, sealed inside branded plastic wrappers. But in the former, they are passed over the counter as small squares wrapped in pages torn from old Tamil magazines.

This South Indian version of chikki is nothing but a handful of roasted peanuts, split in two halves and pressed closely, held together by a thick golden syrup. But in Kovilpatti, the glistening syrup that runs overs the nuts is made by melting three different types of jaggery, which gives the candy its intoxicating aroma and taste.

A dash of cardamom powder, a sprinkling of glucose and a dollop of vanilla essence complete the flavours that make the jaggery-peanut mix all the more heady. When the syrup hardens with vigorous stirring, it is flattened out with a rolling pin and cut into several small chunks. Shreds of coconut, coloured bright pink, and green are strewn over the top of the candy, to give it a hint of colour when arranged on shop counters.

As a midnight snack, the kadalai mithai, ranks high. For you need not bother much about calories- you can always console yourself you’re consuming something nutritious as it is packed with proteins. Only be warned- you will never stop with nibbling one!

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