In Tamil, the term Surulappam means rolled (or curled) flat fried bread. In this case, the bread happens to be a pancake. It also has a sweet stuffing of fresh coconut, sugar, and freshly crushed cardamom, which gives it the most exquisite taste and flavour.
An exotic and unusual dessert, especially if you have a sweet tooth and a fondness for coconut. In the Tamil Calendar, the month of Marghazhi (mid-December – mid-January) is the coldest month of the year, and people generally avoid frozen desserts during this time, even if the average temperature is only 25° C 🙂 This coconut ice is only chilled, and when served with cream makes a delightful end to a rich and spicy Christmas feast.
Deepavalli, the festival of lights, is celebrated on November 10th this year. Various kinds of sweets are made in households and the children love taking the sweets to their neighbours, dressed in their new outfits. Nowadays most of the sweets are typically bought from stores, but some sweets are still made at home and the coconut burfi is one of those. It is also made during Christmas in Christian households.
Live Viraal is a one-and-half-foot long eel-like freshwater fish, which is a great delicacy in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. I remember my mother buying Live Viraal from vendors, who used to bring a tub of water with the viraal swimming around in it. It used to be bought and kept in an anda (large brass water-storing vessel). The next morning my mother used to rub ash from the firewood stove on to her palms, to be able to grasp the slippery fish, catch it by its tail and take it out into the courtyard and swing it and dash its head against the paving stones to kill it. She used to rub the firewood ash on it and scrape the fine scales off. After slicing it, she used to rub salt on the slices, especially the skin of the fish, before washing it thoroughly. The salt removes the slime which is usually found on the skin of the freshwater fish. Those who are used to marine fish dislike freshwater fish because they do not know this way of cleaning it, and the slime gives it a better taste.
Now, Supreme Seafood in Chennai deliver cleaned ‘live’ viraal slices to my doorstep and thankfully I do not have to go through the gory process of killing it. The recipe given below can be used for any freshwater or marine fish.