Earlier, Ayyappa devotees from Tamil Nadu had a custom of stuffing their shoulder bags with a peculiar kind of snack called ‘poruvalankai’. Apart from faith, this used to be the source of energy for them during the tedious climbing of Sabari hills.
One might feel that the name is a bit too weird for a snack, but the taste will prove you wrong. Poruvalankais are really delicious and bear a strong resemblance to our ‘ari unda’ (rice laddu), but far superior in taste! It is extremely delectable and sweet! But they will test the determination and strength of your jaws before giving in, they are hard.
Poruvalankai is distantly related to an old time snack called ‘maladu’, which was widely used in central Travancore. In Kerala, poruvalankai is more commonly found in Palakkad, a region which still preserves its Tamil connection.
In Tamil Nadu, this snack is generally known as 'poruvalankai urundai'. The pronunciation of the word has many variations depending on the diverse dialects in the state. Some call it porunkalai urundai while some others call it podalankai urundai. It is believed that the snack got its name from the phrase ‘porul vilankai urundai’, which means a ball that manifests the truth. You cannot give a better name to this snack which you take on your pilgrimage to the holy mountain seeking the essence of truth!
How to make it
» Take three cups of rice and fry it up well.
» Fry a cup of green gram also.
» In the past, these fried grains were ground by a pestle. But don't worry, use a mixer grinder to powder the grains.
» Add one teaspoon cardamom powder to this.
» Take two and a half cups of jaggery and add water to prepare a mixture.
» Add grated coconut to this mixture and boil it for some time.
» Keep few teaspoons of rice and green gram powder aside.
» Carefully pour melted jaggery mixture into the remaining powder and blend well.
» Roll this mix into the size of a lemon.
» Roll these ball in the rice and green gram powder kept aside and keep it inside an airtight container.
Note: Poruvalankai balls will stay intact for a long time if you store them in dry place in airtight containers.
Statutory warning: Before venturing to munch the Poruvalankai balls, please ensure that you have very strong teeth, lest you break your teeth, laying bare the ‘porul’ - the inner truth- of your mouth!