While other bloggers are gearing up with their Orange, white, green colour coded post for Independence day, I am posting this Aadi Pooram special. Aadi Pooram was last week. Yeah, I am slow like that. So this sweet somas was a revelation to me and is far better than the store bought ones. No, really. This is not a standard blogger phrase (“better than store-bought”) that I am using here although I’ve been guilty of using it too before. This somas really, truly is better and I’ll never be buying them from stores again. What I really love about this somas is the filling. The filling is a very un-assuming combination of roasted coconut, poppy seeds, cashew nuts and sugar. Poppy seeds! I thought. I’ve never been too fond of the store-bought somas, so last week, when we were making these somas for Aadi Pooram, I really didn’t expect much out of it. I was so wrong. I loved these somas. The poppy seeds took the somas to another level adding crunch and a wonderful nutty flavour to the somas.
I made these somas alongside my Maamiyaar and I learnt real-time the somas-making process. I am really happy at these times for the joint-family setup. You’ll need patience however to make these somas, especially if you’re making large batches like we did that day. We slogged the previous night making these sweet somas, Murrukku, Coconut burfi, Boondi Laddu and variety rices for Aadi Pooram. It was heady, cooking up all these dishes and I was really excited. I get a great kick out of large scale cooking. This wasn’t large scale at all actually. But it was larger than usual.
There are a few things to keep in mind to get those lovely crisp, puffed up somas. The dough has to be really soft and well kneaded. So knead like crazy. Use only a small lemon sized ball of dough for a somas. Roll it out really thin, so thin that you’re able to see your hand if placed beneath the rolled out disc. To do this, you’ll need to flour your rolling surface generously.
These somas are traditionally done for Seemandham (baby showers). Aadi Pooram is when we celebrate Amman’s Seemandham. We offer these sweets and variety rices (the traditional Seemandham Menu) to Amman. Amman is adorned with coloured glass bangles and Temples distribute coloured glass bangles to devotees too. Head here or here for more on Aadi.
Prep time: 1-1/2 hours Cooking time: 30 mins Makes – 30 somas
Oil – as necessary for deep frying
Ingredients for the Dough
Maida/All purpose flour – 3 cups + 1/2 cup for dusting Sunflower Oil – 2 tsp Warm Salted water – as necessary
1.For the dough, take the flour in a large bowl and add oil. Add salted warm water little at time to make a soft dough. Knead well for 10 minutes and let it rest for an hour.
2.For the filling, dry roast the grated coconut in a kadai on low heat for about 5 minutes. Stop when it starts colouring. Transfer to a bowl.
3.In the same kadai, heat ghee and roast the cashew-nuts till golden brown. Remove the roasted cashew nuts with a slotted spoon and dump them on the roasted coconut.
4.In the remaining ghee, add the poppy seeds and let roast till they pop – about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the roasted poppy seeds to the coconut mixture.
5.Add sugar to the coconut mixture and mix well with a spoon. Your somas filling is ready.
6.Before assembling the somas, knead the dough again for 5-10 minutes. Pinch a small lemon sized ball of the dough. Cover the remaining dough with a wet cloth to keep the dough from drying out. Dust a rolling surface generously with flour and roll out the ball of dough into a large chappathi sized disc. Flip over in between and dust with flour to prevent it from sticking to the surface. The disc has to be really thin, when placed on your hand you should be able to see your hand through it.
7.Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the coconut filling onto the centre of the disc and fold the circle in half with the filling in the middle. Press the edges together with your index finger to firmly secure the somas. Trim the outer edge of the somas with a fluted cutter or pizza cutter. Place on butter-paper or bamboo moram to avoid the somas sticking to the surface. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling to make more somas.
8.Deep fry the somas in oil in batches till golden brown and puffed. Remove onto absorbent paper. When cool store in air-tight boxes for upt0 2 weeks.
1.Don’t spoon more than 2 tablespoons of the filling into the somas. Make sure to seal the edges of the somas firmly. If the filling emerges out during frying, it’ll mess up the oil.
2.After filling and sealing, place the somas on butter paper or a bamboo moram so that it doesn’t stick to the surface. Handle very carefully. The somas will be like muslin cloth now and the filling will not take up the entire somas. That is fine. That is how it should be.