The Special Delicacies of Makara Sankranti in Hyderabad

The festival Makara Sankranti is celebrated with pomp and fervor in most parts of the country.  It is a major festival in Andhra Pradesh and well celebrated in Telangana too. As with all Indian festivals, celebrations of Sankranti is never complete without the lip-smacking snacks and sweets, which are served in the family homes.

While the list of delicacies prepared in different regions of the Telugu states during this festival is quite long, a few of them are popular across quite a few districts. Flour of freshly harvested rice, jaggery, and sesame or til seeds are important ingredients which go into the preparation of most of these.

One of the most sought after snacks prepared during the festival is Ariselu, a flattened roti-shaped sweet made of soaked rice flour and jaggery which is crusted with sesame seeds and fried in ghee or oil. Then there is Sakinalu, a traditional snack of Telangana region, a concentric circular savoury made of rice flour and fried in oil. Sesame seeds and carom are also added to the dough to provide taste to the crunchy snack. Appalu and Murukulu are some other snacks for the festival, which are also made from rice flour.  Nuvvula laddu, a popular sweet prepared with sesame seeds, nuts and jaggery is popular in Telangana as well as neighbouring Maharashtra.

A speciality of the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh is Pootharekulu, a sweet which resembles folded paper. The sweet is made from a special rice batter, ghee, and sugar or jaggery.  Other regions have their favourites too. Bandar laddu, a sweet made from besan and ghee originates from Machilipatnam while the plain Kakinada Khaja and layered Madatha Kaja hail from Kakinada and Tapeswaram.

One place in Hyderabad that can be visited for the entire range of Sankranti delicacies is Vellanki Foods, which is around for thirty years and has four branches in different parts of the city. As per Vijitha Vellanki, one of the owners, ariselu, nuvvula laddu and sakinalu have bumper sales during the festival. Apart from these they also make some special dishes like poornalu and chakra pongali only for this special period.

One of their signature sweets is Kajjikayulu or Garijalu, a fried sweet similar to gujiya of North India. It has a crunchy top but as you bite inside the sweet filling of rawa, cashewnut and jaggery is overwhelming.  Vellanki Foods also has an online portal through which you can order their Sankranti delicacies from the comfort of your homes.

Almond House, one of the top sweet chains in Hyderabad with more than thirty years of existence has its branches all over the city, and boasts of the maximum variety in terms of sweets available. Their modern kitchen at Kukatpally uses state-of-the-art equipments and well-designed processes are equipped to prepare the best desserts.  During Sankranti head over to any of their outlets to enjoy ariselu, pootharekulu, kaja, and laddus.

Note: This is an updated version of the article originally published in New Indian Express Hyderabad on 13th January 2018 

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