Meet ‘Mittayi’ Basheer, the panchara paal mittayi seller at Thekkepuram beach in Kozhikode

Khader fashioned out the candy into shapes of butterfly, peacock and spectacles before handing them over to the customer : Manorama

From popular Malayalam movie songs to award-winning literary works, panchara paal mittayi or the traditional sugar candies have been part of Keralaite's nostalgia since ages. ‘Mittayi’ Khader sells this sticky and gooey candy that are loved by the kids and adults alike, at Thekkepural near South Beach, Kozhikode.

The natives of Kuttichira often buy sweet candies from Basheer, whom they know since childhood. The green tin that he carries on his left shoulder is filled with this candy that is loved by many. Khader would pull out a ball of the sticky candy and then turn it into the shapes of butterfly, peacock and spectacles before handing them over to the customer.

The candy has a thick consistency and would slowly melt in one's mouth. More than the taste, the unique experience of enjoying the panchara paal mittayi is what matters.

Basheer who lives at ‘Suharas’ near Kannamparrambu mosque has been selling sweet candies for almost half a century. It was in 1968 that Basheer and his family moved from Thanoor to Kozhikode.

Basheer’s father Aboobacker had learned to make the sugar candies when he was staying at Nagore in Tamil Nadu. Aboobacker sold sugar candies for almost six decades before teaching the technique of candy making to his sons. Basheer remembers how his father would sing songs while selling the candies. However, Basheer, says with a smile that he doesn’t sing songs. Basheer’s younger brother Muhammad too sells sugar candies at Thirunavaya.

Basheer and his wife Suhara have four kids. Suhara helps him in making the sugar candies. A makeshift woodfire stove is arranged in their front yard to make the candies. They follow the traditional recipe that has sugar, lemon and coconut oil. Basheer says that they often begin cooking by 9 in the morning and the candies would be ready by noon.

It was Basheer who made and painted the green tin that has now become his trademark item. He would go to the beach with the tin, in the afternoon, when the sun isn’t harsh. He sells the candies mostly at Thekkepuram beach. He hardly goes to the main beach. Basheer says that many children who had enjoyed the sweet candies from Basheer have now grown up. They would still run to Basheer and buy candies from him for their kids. For Basheer, it indeed is a sight that gives him happiness.


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