Puffed with Goodness
Mandaki - an ancient Indian snack comprising of puffed rice in its many forms that is beloved by both Gods and men.
Mandaki , also called Kadlepori and Nelpori variously , is an ancient Indian snack comprising of puffed rice in its many forms. Mention of it is made in the Sangam literature of 200 BCE where the people of Tamilakam – made up then of the peoples of Kerala and Tamilnadu jointly – used puffed rice to propitiate the God Murugan during the festival of Karthigai. Even to this day puffed rice or pori as it is known among common people constitutes a popular offering to gods on all religious festivities.
Mention of it is made frequently in the epics and mythologies of India too. In the Ramayana the humble pori is used like confetti by the people to celebrate the return of Rama from exile. However, the pori’s hidden occult power is alluded to when Lakshmana destroys Indrajit’s ghee and puffed rice, the sacrificial materials for his yagna that would have rendered him invisible.
The pori’s cousin – beaten rice or poha – finds mention in the Bhagavatha purana, being one of Krishna’s favorite childhood snacks.
Both pori and poha are seen as nourishing and light foods and have been used by travelers and those on a diet for ages. Mandakki has retained this image in our times and is popular today among households in northern Karnataka as a great snack that is easy to make and consume.