When B Stalin planned to visit his nephew P Yuvadhan, he wanted to get him something nice to eat. The embedded systems engineer, who was into R&D with an electronic bike-maker, recalls how he didn’t want to buy anything processed, and the available peanut candy did not make the cut. “I wanted to give him a taste of what I enjoyed as a kid,” says the 31-year-old. “I thought, why not make it myself?” He spent six months meeting people who made the mittai . Kovilpatti, Sattur, Sivakasi, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, and Dharmapuri (here, the candy was called malatta )… he says that peanut candy in each city tasted different. “This was due to the way it was made, and the taste of peanuts grown in the region.”
He met interesting people and even came across a village called Elayirampannai in Virudhunagar, where the chief livelihood was manufacturing scales, knives, and so on used in the making of peanut candy.
“Koodalingam, a friend’s father, based in Thanjavur shared his knowledge from 35 years of mittai making,” he says.
But instead of the jaggery that most peanut candy-makers use, he used karupatti , palm jaggery . “Most sweets made before the 1960s had karupatti in them,” says Stalin.
He set up a unit at Kariapatti near Madurai in 2015. Today, his brand, called MotherWay Karuppati Kadalai Mittai, is available at 160 organic shops in the State, including Chennai, Madurai, and Coimbatore, besides Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
The process, right from frying the peanuts, to mixing, cutting, and packing, is done by hand. “We use a clay oven,” explains Stalin. Karupatti peanut candy has the right amount of sweetness, and is a shade darker than the regular variety. Recently, he launched a line of peanut, white and black sesame seeds and coconut candies, and a multi-grain version made of cashews, fried gram, and peanuts.
“Customers want me to make lollipops for their toddlers,” he says.
His candies are gaining popularity, and Stalin sees it as his bit for healthy snacks for today’s children. “It’s the Cuckoo Movement for Children (a Tiruvannamalai-based organisation that works with children) that got me thinking on these lines,” he says.
Based in Madurai — where his wife Gowthami runs the packaging and despatch unit — Stalin markets through Facebook and takes orders online.
He recently posted a photo of a wizened lady sieving sesame seeds. “She’s my grandmother Ilanji Ammal who’s 97 years old,” he says. “She wanted to give me a hand.”
For details, visit www.facebook.com/KaruppatiKadalaiMittai, or call 9994846491.
Most sweets made before the 1960s had karupatti in them
B Stalin, Founder