Tamilnadu's sweet delicacies have received colossal accolades from their devotees. Palkova, the most seductive sweet ever, has left a legacy and an unseen history in its wake.
Dev Singh, a Rajput, established Lala Sweets, a sweet shop, at the renowned Andal temple in 1921. Rajputs are always known for their amazing art in the process of sweet making. Observing the abundant milk production and being inspired by the prasadam in the temple made of milk, sugar, and other nuts, he began manufacturing palkova.
Since the milk supply was abundant at the time, the Srivilliputhur Milk Cooperative Society Ltd. and other local traders began producing the sweet. Members of the Tirunelveli Halwa family are reported to have created Palkova. Palkova rose to prominence after visiting the birthplace of the Goddess Andal, the first woman saint to bring home the dessert. This Goddess was honored with a temple in Srivilliputhur.
The process starts with cow's milk obtained early in the morning from sellers and cooperative societies. By 7 a.m. milk cans are brought by farmers. The milk's quality and fat content are determined using a lactometer. Slow boiling over a wood fire reduces the milk. Traditional mud heaters typically use dried tamarind wood as firewood.
As part of the customary preparation, ancient firewood burners and stoves are also used. The milk is used to manufacture palkova if the fat content is greater than 7%. Other desserts are made using milk with less fat. For every 10 liters of fat-rich milk, approximately 1.5 kg of sugar is added, and the large containers are then brought to a boil. Previously, Kerala-sourced cashew shells were used as firewood; however, some units are now semi-automated. The worker speeds up his stirring as the boiling milk thickens after 30 minutes. Some of the milk clings to the ladle as it condenses.
A small amount dissolves, and a small quantity sticks to the side of the cauldron, ready to be scraped, while the remains wrap around itself and gently tumble to the bottom. The sumptuous dish is now ready to be removed and set on cooling racks for 15 minutes. The first batch of palkova is packed and ready for sale at 8 a.m.
The first scoop gradually dissolves in the mouth, leaving a lingering taste for all who enjoy this meal. Fans of this delicious claim one are never enough.\n\nThe sweet can be purchased by the kilogram for Rs 300. All the packets have been sold by the time the shop closes. Every day, 2,000 liters of milk and half a tonne of palkova are purchased.
Palkova from this region tastes and smells better than Palkova from other parts of the state because of the high-fat content and naturally sweet taste of the milk. Locals claim they manufacture 3.25 to 3.5 kilograms of palkova from 10 liters of milk, but other localities make less than 3 kilograms for the same quantity. For every ten liters of milk, around 1.25 kilos of sugar are added.
Palkova is now made with milk, milk powder, or condensed milk. Long beforePalkova was produced with the traditional and healthiest palm sugar, also known as PanaiVellam, and fresh milk.