Saturday, 6 September 2014

Karam Gavvalu / Savory Shells

Today's special is  "Karam Gavvalu",a traditional, delicious crispy snack from Andhra. There are 2 versions, savory and sweeter versions of it and today my post is about the savory one. The particular shape is attained using a special gadget as gavvalu balla or gavvalu peeta specifically designed for this purpose. It is a wooden board with ridges that comes different sizes. But if you do not have it you can use either a new comb or back side of a big fork to prepare this. Usually it is prepared with a mix of maida(plain flour) and rice flour but this time I prepared with wheat flour as it makes these gavvalu more tastier and healthy for kids.

This snack was came out from the shells of cowries are usually smooth and shiny and more or less egg-shaped, with a flat under surface which shows a long, narrow, slit-like opening (aperture), which is often toothed at the edges. Cowry shells are sometimes used in a way similar to dice, e.g., in board games like Pachisi, Ashta Chamma (board game). A number of shells (6 or 7) are thrown, with those landing aperture upwards indicating the actual number rolled.

  • Wheat Flour - 3 Cups
  • Red chillies powder -1 tsp (as per your taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil - 1 Cup for making the dough
  • Oil - for deep frying
  • First sieve the wheat flour and set aside.
  • Take a pan and heat an oil and in a wide mixing bowl add wheat flour, salt, red chilli powder and first give a quick mix for salt & chilli powder to be even.
  • Then add heated oil little by little, gather to form a soft pilable dough.Once it is gathered to a mass add 1/2 tsp water if requires and knead it once. Make sure the dough is soft but not sticky.. Keep closed aside for 15-30 mins.
  • Make small size balls with the dough. Now take gavvalu balla (or fork or a new comb) and apply some oil to it so that the dough doesn't stick on to it.
  • Take one ball and place it on gavvalu balla and use thumb to press it downwards.The shape of shell will come as shown in the image below. Repeat the process with rest of the balls.

  • Heat a heavy bottomed vessel,add enough oil for deep frying,once the oil turns hot,add the gavvalu and deep fry to a golden brown shade. Remove onto absorbent paper.

    Store them in tight container and serve with tea.


    1. If you want sweeter version, it is basically where the plain dough is rolled to the shape of gavvalu and deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup.
    2. You can even add a tbsp of sesame seeds to the dough for a taste.

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