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'Chittu urundai' - a Deepavali rare gem

KLANG: It is a common scenario that during the Festival of Lights or Deepavali, Hindu households will offer an interesting array of festive specialties made up of snacks, confectioneries or desserts for their guests to savour.

As Deepavali is around the corner, J. Manimegalai, 54 has been looking high and low to purchase chittu urundai, one of the most popular Indian sweets also known as green pea balls for the past month to usher in the joyous celebration.

The tradition of making this Indian delicacy is a 'dying art', said the mother of three.

“Even if they do, they aren't as crunchy like those made by the older generation,” said Manimegalai.
For the uninitiated, chittu urundai is a popular traditional Indian delicacy -- made from brown sugar and green peas mixture -- served during Deepavali and Ponggal.

K. Lega, who manufactures and sells the delicacy said she closely keeps to the recipe passed down from her mother.

"I've been selling them in Tengku Kelana, Klang for the past 20 years,” she said when met at her stall which she operates with her husband.

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Lega shows the 'chittu urundai' she makes and sells at her stall in Klang - Photo by Suganthi Suparmaniam/Astro Awani

Lega said her mother was strict in ensuring that all her children learnt how to make the delicacy.

“Many people don't even know about this delicacy as it's the older generation who would normally request for it. Young people who have never heard of them would only start buying after they have tasted them,” she said.

Lega said making the chittu urundai is a tedious process which requires patience and skills.

“If you don’t do them properly, you will end up with hard chittu urundai," she said.

Due to overwhelming response from her customers, the price of one kilogramme of chittu urundai has increased by over two-fold from RM18 (per kilo) to a whopping RM50 now!

“Making it is tiring but it's important to note that the tradition to make it must be passed on from one generation to another. It's disheartening to see our traditional cuisines are forgotten or claimed to belong to other cultures," she said.

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Lega's husband S.Aravind, 47, helps to sell the Indian traditional sweets and delicacies at their stall at Tengku Kelana, Klang. - Photo by Suganthi Suparmaniam/Astro Awani