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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

the delicacy ' Pootharekulu ' ~ from Athreyapuram, East Godavari

Train travel is often interesting – one can enjoy the scenic surrounding,  chat with the co-travellers, 0r enjoy solitude…… .. and at Railway stations – you can hear vendors shouting to sell their products – the cacophony of ‘coffee – tea’, ‘bonda-tea’ vada, masala vada, cool drink, timepass [groundnut] … besides various fruits including banana, apple, orange, guava – and in Andhra, one could hear ‘poothri’ – what ? – more Q on having seen that for the first time – what is that ? and how to eat that – with cover or how would peel that off ??

Atreyapuram[ఆత్రేయపురము ] is a village and a Mandal in East Godavari district of Andhra  Pradesh and this ‘poothri’ is a famous product.  It actually is – “Pootharekulu" made of rice starch."Atreyapuram is located 25 km from Rajahmundry City and 90 km distance from district hq of  Kakinada. Atreyapuram's pin code is 533235.  The main ingredients of this delicacy are : rice starch / black gram, powdered sugar or jaggery and good quantity of ghee.

With its ghee and sugar, Diabetics can only read this post, not eat and enjoy Poothareku.  'Pootha' is coating and 'Reku' (plural Rekulu) is sheet in Telugu. PoothaRekulu are also known as ‘Paper sweets’ as they give the appearance of folded paper. It is a wafer-like sweet created in Atreyapuram, it is labour intensive, made from a particular rice batter called jayabiyyam (biyyam means rice), powdered sugar and ghee.  There are variants of sugary one and other using jaggery (clarified butter).  The delicacy would have  wrappers from riceflour,ghee, coating them with sugar/jaggery and folding them.

An article in July 2005 in the Hindu had detailed that Pootarekulu making is an art and every household of Athreyapuram has mastered it. It has become a cottage industry and has been flourishing here for almost three generations.  In 1994, the women of the village formed self help groups and took orders for the sweet. 

Today’s the Hindu has another article - Tucked in lush green fields on Godavari canal bund, the village became famous for its ‘Putarekulu’ sweet which is exported to various Indian cities and other countries.Boards erected in front of every house with the script ‘NethiPutarekulu’ ammabadunu’ (Ghee Putarekulu are sold here) and grandmothers, daughter-in-laws and grand daughters diligently preparing the delicacies are seen at every house.“Many sweet stalls are surviving by selling ‘Putarekulu’. We sell each roll at a low cost and the stall owners are selling them at higher prices. Still ‘Putarekulu’ sell like hot cakes,” say the traditional sweet makers.

Thousands of women are taking ‘putarekulu’ and rolling the sweets, and men in families are helping to get raw material for preparing the savouries. Sweet stalls in Rajahmundry, Amalapuram, Razole, Bhimavaram, Kakinada, Yanam, Visakhapatnam, Eluru, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune and other cities are the major buyers of the special sweets, said a woman VelpuruMavullamma.“Putarekulu are being served along with meals during marriage functions, birthdays, marriage days, SatyanarayanaVratams, all festivals, political meetings, retirement functions and many other celebrations. No function is being held without ‘Putarekulu’ sweet,” says Yatam Kanaka Durga, of Atreyapuram village.
Photo credit : The Hindu

“Our village is a hub for ethnic foods and we want to provide all traditional foods in Atreyapuram. Along with ‘putarekulu’, we are selling mango jelly, ‘bobbatlu’, ‘purnamburelu’, ‘ariselu’, pickles, curry leaves powder (Karivepakupodi), Red gram powder (Kandipodi) and other varieties,” Ms. Kanaka Durga told The Hindu.“There are a few varieties of ‘putarekulu’. The sweet variety can be made with sugar and ghee, jaggery and ghee, sugar and jaggery mixed, sugar, jaggery and dry fruits and also with milk cake. The price of one roll ranges from Rs. 6 to Rs. 30 while it costs around Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 in a sweet stalls and restaurants,” Ms Kanaka Durga said.

‘Putarekulu’ made with ghee and jaggery can be stored up to one month. If made with dry fruits, the rolls can be stored for 10 days. However, the sweets can be preserved for more days by storing in fridges.Other varieties like mango jelly, pickles and ethnic foods are available throughout the year in the village at reasonable prices, the women said.
However, Geographical Indication status continues to elude ‘Pootharekulu’ of Athreyapuram, East Godavari, as the authorities have failed to initiate steps to register the sweet with the Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry to get exclusive patent on the sweet.

Next time, you are in Andhra – do try out this delicacy …… there is another Kakinada special ‘khaja’ [Kottaiah Kajah] on which I have drafted one quite sometime back and am yet to post ...... .

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

2nd Sept. 2015.

3 comments:

  1. good to read and enjoy but it will be nicer to taste the putrekalu, When is it going to be for me; and by the way are there any families from aatreypuram of rajamundry here in Madras.If so are they and I am sure they must be. I would like to get in touch with them for this variety. thanks for the opportunity.

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  2. Hmmm yummy tasty food... I lOVE PUTHAREKULU.... awesome info dude... from makers of hanuman chalisa

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  3. Can you provide contact nos of athreyapuram sweet vendors

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