Pootharekulu: Tried These Sweet, Rice Paper Rolls From Andhra Pradesh?

The village of Atreyapuram, located in the East Godavari coastal district, is a vital part of Andhra Pradesh's food map. Its traditional sweet Pootharekulu is highly popular due to its distinctive appearance and flavour. The sweet's name literally translates to "sheet covering." The sweet is packed with sugar, dry fruits, and nuts and wrapped in a wafer-thin rice starch layer that resembles paper.

The Origin Story And Significance Of The Dessert In Atreyapuram

Also known as Pootharekulu -this scrumptious dessert hails from Coastal Andhra's village of Atreyapuram. The village of 'Atreyapuram,' named after Maharishi Atreya, was ruled by several monarchs and rulers over centuries. Putharekulu was eaten by kings on various festivals and auspicious occasions. Putharekulu/Pootharekulu, the term is made up of two words: 'Pootha' means 'coating' and 'rekulu' meaning 'sheets.' Some villagers refer to this delicacy as a 'dessert born of an accident,' it is thought that a woman prepared it by accident years ago by pouring the leftover starch solution on top of an inverted hot pot. However, many legends also state that it was first prepared by an unnamed woman in the hamlet who mixed sugar with paper sheets (Putharekulu) and homemade ghee. The process of manufacturing the 'reku,' or sheet, is fascinating and provides a source of income for hundreds of women in Atreyapuram hamlet. 

Atreypuram's Poothrekulu became one of the most popular food items of the region because it provides a livelihood for roughly 400-600 families in Atreyapuram, the dry-fruit sweet is sometimes referred to as the village's 'Annapurna'. Every visitor to Coastal Andhra will undoubtedly visit the village at least once to sample and purchase Pootharekulu sweet.

 How Pootharekulu Is Made?

Pootharekulu is made with a unique rice batter. The native 'Jaya' rice variety is steeped for a few hours before being crushed into a fine batter. Fine cloth is dipped into the batter and swiftly spread across the surface of an upturned earthen pot. It is quickly removed, leaving a thin layer of starch on the pot. This serves as the sweet's paper-thin outer coat. After that, the sheet is removed and loaded with powdered sugar, ghee, dried fruits, almonds, and other ingredients before being carefully wrapped into a roll. In certain versions of the sweet, jaggery is substituted for sugar. The people of Atreyapuram are masters in making the paper-like sheet, which they sell to sweet makers.

The state of Andhra Pradesh is working on getting the sweet a Geographic Indication (GI) label. Festivals, religious gatherings, and weddings are all common occasions for this treat. Many sweet stores in Hyderabad prepare Pootharekulu. Sugar, jaggery, and jaggery with dry fruit are available from Almond House, a leading dessert producer with several outlets. As part of the organization's social duty, rice paper is collected from villagers in Atreyapuram.