“Amma, amma… ” says a two-year old tiny tot with a strangely deep, gruff voice.
“Amma, amma… ” echoes her twin in an equally deep voice.
The baby twins of our family – S & S are tiny, delicate creatures whose baritone voices never fail to astonish – they are so unsuited to their physiques! They also never fail to bring a smile to the visage of anyone who hears them!
“Cheppamma,” (tell me) says the harried mother of four children, whose patience never seems to desert her.
“Evaro ostunnaru.” (Someone is coming). The twins are hanging over the back of the sofa and watching the world go by, in a vantage position to watch people coming up the path to their home.
“Who is it?” asks the mom, not having time to look around.
The little ones stare at the middle aged man coming up the path. Realisation dawns. They’ve seen him before – a friendly uncle who never fails to bring them sweets. His name they don’t know but they know him – and, in the manner of twins the world over, have a description of him between themselves!
“Aa konchem juttunde bodigunduvaadu vastunnadu (that bald man with the little hair is headed this way)!!” they announce in unison.
Like I said, their voices are deep and… carrying… and carry all the way to the bald man with the little hair, who has carried himself to the doorstep by now!
Luckily the slightly bald man, or should I say the slightly be-haired man (happens to be my dad, by the way!) has a good sense of humour and is most amused by the twins’ description of himself and shares it with the extended family!
The twins, being the youngest in a large family of many cousins, continue to provide much amusement till they grow up!
On another occasion, I take the two of them to watch Jungle Book in a theatre which is putting on a special screening for children. The theatre is packed with kids, parents and grandparents. Some of the jokes go quite above the heads of our two. Some they get immediately and their amusement is a joy to behold!
But the best are the jokes (like the vultures’ song, which goes, “What are we gonna gonna do? So what are we gonna do?”) which they get five minutes after the theatre has erupted in laughter! Light dawns and they start off with a slow, deep chuckle which turns into a veritable steamroller of deep laughter and continues for several minutes as they get really into the joke! By now, the rest of the audience has turned around to look at us and is laughing uproariously – all in all, just what a children’s film ought to be!
They also always, but always look out for each other. If one is offered a sweet, she will hold out the other hand promptly, asking, “Paapaki?” (one for the other baby?)
Which is what I want to do every time I’m offered one of these – the melt-in-the-mouth Andhra sweets unromantically called boorelu, except I don’t have a twin, so I have to ask for myself!
For the dipping batter
- Black gram dal/Urad dal – 50 gms (about 1/4 cup)
- Raw rice – 2 tbsp
For the filling (poornam)
- Bengal gram/Chana dal – 1 cup
- Grated Jaggery – 1 cup
- Grated coconut (fresh) – 1/4 cup (optional) I prefer mine without.
- Cardamom powder – 3/4 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
Soak the urad dal and rice separately for about 4 hours.
Grind the rice to a fine paste, 1/4 tsp of salt and the dal. Grind together to a fine paste adding about 3-4 tsp of water. The batter is thick, coating batter – like idli batter.
Soak the chana dal for an hour in about 2 cups water. Pressure cook for three whistles till soft. Drain and cool.
Mix 1/4 cup water to the jaggery and cook to a single string syrup.
Grind the cooked, drained chana dal and coconut along with the cardamom and 1 pinch of salt.
Gently mix in the jaggery to bring it to a not too soft dough. If it is too watery, cook it for a few minutes on a gentle flame, stirring constantly. The water evaporates, leaving a pliable dough.
Cool this jaggery mixture and form into small balls – about the size of a small lime.
Heat the oil till below smoking point.
Dip the jaggery balls into the batter till it is coated thickly and evenly and fry till golden brown.
Drain and serve. These are traditionally served at the begiining of an Andhra meal along with gaarelu as vadas are called in Telugu.
Want another one for paapaki?