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Kottayam Churuttu (Mandaka)

Kottayam Churuttu (Mandaka)
Recipe By : Megha Elsa Saju
To make the filling
Avalose Podi……………...1 1/4 Cup 
Sugar……………………….1 Cup
Water………………………1/3 Cup
Lemon/ Lime Juice..….1 Teaspoon
Cardamom Powder…..1/8 Teaspoon
To make the Covering/ Mandaka
Maida……………………....1/2 Cup
Salt a pinch
Water as needed
Oil and Flour as needed

To make the Sugar syrup
Sugar……………………….1/3 Cup
Water………………………3 Tablespoons

Method of Preparation
To make the Filling
Heat 1 cup Sugar with 1/3 Cup Water to a one thread consistency.
Add the Lemon juice and mix well.
Add Avalose Podi and the Cardamom Powder; mix well; switch off the heat and keep aside till it cools a bit.

To make the Sugar Syrup
Mix 1/3 Cup Sugar and 3 Tablespoons of Water; boil till it attains a one thread consistency. Keep aside till ready to be used. (This will give the stickiness and moisture to the Covering/ Mandaka while assembling the Churuttu)
To make the Covering/ Mandaka
Mix Flour and Salt and make a very soft dough using enough Water. (This should be softer than Puri dough.)
Let it rest for 30 minutes. By this time the dough will become more soft and stretchy.
Take two balls which are a bit bigger in size as that of a marble and roll out into 3 inch circles.
Spread some Oil evenly on top of one piece of rolled dough; sprinkle some Flour on top and cover with the second piece of dough.
Roll out this layered dough as thin as possible and keep aside till you finish doing the rest.
Cut out circles as big as possible from the rolled out dough, taking care to avoid the edges where the dough may not be overlapped, as those portion tends to be thick. (You can use the leftover dough to make more of these covering.)
Heat a thawa/ flat pan on medium low heat and partially cook the rolled out dough on both sides. (Don’t let it brown.) Once cooked, it will bubble up revealing the two layers.

At this point take it out and separate the two layers. This will give you the thinnest possible Covering/ Mandaka to make Churuttu. (This is only partially cooked, but we will cook it again later.)
Once all the dough coverings are semi cooked and separated, place the semicooked Flour sheets one by one on the hot pan and cook on both sides again. This will slightly toast the Mandaka, which will later make the covering of Churuttu crispy.
Once cooked, cut it into two so that you get two semicircles out of one sheet. (You can make all of them and then start assembling the Churuttu, but I prefer to do it side by side as the Covering/ Mandaka had a tendency to become crispy after the second cooking. If it becomes crispy before making the Churuttu, it may crack when you make the cone.)

To make the Churuttu
Pour the prepared Sugar Syrup in a plate.
Dip one side of Mandaka in the Syrup and let the extra syrup drip off.
Make a cone by overlapping the two halves of the straight side of the semicircle.
Stuff the cone with some of the prepared filling (Don’t overfill) and press the edges together using three fingers so that the signature three spiked pattern is formed. (The edges will stick together due to the presence of the Sugar Syrup. Please refer the pictures to understand more.)
Repeat the same process with the rest and serve at room temperature.

To know whether the Sugar Syrup reached a one thread consistency, touch the Syrup and press it between the index finger and the thumb. If it forms one thread without breaking fast, then that is a one thread consistency.
Lemon Juice will prevent the crystallization of Sugar which is very important in this dish.
The covering should be as thin as possible so that it will slightly crisp up once made. This will also help the Sugar Syrup penetrate the skin making it moist.
It is easier to make Churuttu if Mandaka and the Syrup are still warm.
Churuttu tastes the best after two or more days.
It will stay good for at least two weeks at room temperature. Don't refrigerate Churuttu as it crystallizes the Sugar, destroying its texture.

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