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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Despatches from Elsewhere: The Indian doughnut from Dindugul, Tamil Nadu

Gopalpatti, a small town in Dindigul serves paal bun or milk bun, a fried golden wonder, priced at Rs 2, which gives the doughnut a serious run for its money.

Written by Rakesh Raghunathan |
May 23, 2016 8:14:31 pm
paalbun foodie1_759 (left) The South Indian twist to the doughnut; the author in Dindugul with the paal bun master.

There are some things money can’t buy. This cliché couldn’t have rung truer with my experience of the ‘Paal Bun’ (milk bun being the literal translation) in Gopalpatti, a small town in Dindigul.

The paal bun leaves you with a rush of sensory delight as it dissolves in your mouth. Priced at a mere Rs 2 per piece, in this age of soaring chilli prices and a latté that sells at Rs 500, the paal bun is truly one of those rare sweet treats.

paalbun foodie3_759 The milk buns soaking in the sugar syrup.

Intrigued, I get talking to the ‘master’ paal bun maker at Marimuthu Tea Stall that churns out these circles of heaven, every day. A batter is made with maida (all purpose flour), soda bi-carbonate, yogurt, water and oil and allowed to ferment for a good 30 minutes.

While the fermenting process begins, the sugar syrup is made by boiling water and sugar. The master scoops out small balls of the batter, fries them in oil and then drips these fried golden wonders into the sugar syrup, where they soak for just about a minute.

paalbun foodie2_759 The paal buns en route to Marimuthu Tea Stall in Gopalpatti.

The paal bun will have you at first bite. Now, think of the all the times you tossed away that 2-rupee coin, contemptuous of its value.

Rakesh Raghunathan is a food traveller, show host and musician who travels to various parts of India to research and document food (heirloom recipes, quaint eats native to the region). He runs along with his wife Preeti. When he’s not stirring the pot, or invading your kitchen, Raghunathan spends his time helping young start-ups and food brands with developing content, branding and marketing strategies.

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