Pelalu vadiyalu

My friends from other parts of Andhra also never heard of this item, so let me explain a little about them. These are sun dried items, mainly used as a side dish with rice and dal. They belong to the category of papads and varthans (vadilayu). I guess it is a regional delicacy; even my husband had not tried it before marriage and now is a big fan himself!

My aunt back home in India is a specialist in making pelalu vadiyalu. She would send us every year when we were small. But, with age she stopped doing personally, but passed on her recipe to the mahila society, a small scale industry run by the women of the village. That was one returning gift we brought from home with us always. Every time I would fry them, I would ration at the dinner table, saving for a special craving time. These are the pelalu vadiyam that I am talking about, but, not anymore.

I spoke to my aunt, she assured me that's it's all about mixing to a right consistency and binding the ingredients together. So, a prized family recipe I am sharing with you all today.

This is my maiden in trying out the pelalu vadiyalu. I am very happy with what I was able to make. It all started when recently I was strolling by the aisles in Apna Bazar in Edison, I found a big bag of pelalu, by the puffed rice and rice flakes (poha-atukulu).

Pelalu (Juwar Dhani) are already-popped sorghum. They are exactly like popcorn - flavor-wise, only with teeny tiny kernels.

1 bag Pelalu
1 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp Vammu
½ cup Sesame seeds – Til

Add salt, vammu, red chili powder and roasted sesame seeds on pelalu and mix well, sprinkle water (in small amounts) till you are able to make a solid round ball. Squeeze hard so that it binds well. Place the ball on the knob of a pickle or jam jar and level it using your fingers, pressing hard and leveling at the same time. Then turn it around and gently tap the knob so that it falls freely on the cover.

Sundry the vadiyams on a polythene cover for 2 – 3 days or till they are dry and light. Store in an air tight container to be used throughout the year.

Heat oil in a kadai and fry the vadiyams on medium/low flame till nicely done. Drain and place on a paper towel to absorb the oil. Serve with lunch or dinner as a side dish for pappu or sambar. My son loves it with his curd rice!