Hithala is a kind of root vegetable or fruit belonging to the Pachyrhizus erosus or Jícama family. Fu in Maldivian language is flour, but Hithala fu is not in flour form, if you rub Hithala fu particles between your fingers, then it will break very easily to powder form. My mum use to make different kinds of desserts, cakes using hithala fu. Even she put Hithala fu rubbed little between her fingers in to hot tea, after sometime hithala fu will turn translucent. My mum says when it turns translucent that means the Hithala fu is cooked in the hot tea and it is ready to drink adding a pinch of pepper powder and sugar. This tea is called "Hithala fushu Sai". I too love this tea.
It has been sometime since I bought a small bag of Hithala fu from a local shop, which is not much available these days in the local market. I love anything made from Hithala fu so I thought I will make one of the dessert or cake and post in my blog, but I had a problem because I didn't know how Hithala fu was made. If I am posting or writing about a new product which will be new to the world I like to give a small explanation about what it is, so I asked my mum and the way she explained nothing was getting into my head.
This morning I was sitting with my mum & her sister for morning cup of coffee. My aunt does not live in Male' but some of her children lives in Male', she came for her eldest son's wedding. I asked my aunt about how Hithala fu was made because I knew she will be more familiar to these kinds of local products then my mum as she is the second eldest and she has been living at the island since childhood up to now. She did explain to me briefly how Hitala fu is made.
First the Hithala or Pachyrhizus erosus or Jícama is dug out from the ground, then it is washed properly and skin is peeled. A rough stone call "hiri gaa" is used for grating Hithala, the stone is cleaned and washed properly and placed in a container full of water, then the Hithala is rubbed on the stone so it will get grated roughly. After grating is finished, the stone is taken out and water is strained again new water is put into the grated Hithala container and left for several hours. Changing water like this will go on for three to fifteen days until the impurities (impurities they say the water turning to reddish color) are gone from the Hithala, at this stage Hithala will be grind or rubbed on a stone grinder to make a fine paste, then this paste will be mixed with water and left for several hours until the powder goes down the water container (Powder & water separates). If water is not clear again the washing with water will continue until water gets clear. When the water gets clear, water is drained properly from the paste. Now the Hithala will be in a dough paste like texture, then an aluminum sheet is put under the sun and the Hithala dough is pressed inside a holed coconut shell to make small rod like pieces, then left to dry under the sun for several days. Below is the picture of final product which we call Hithala fu.
Hithala Fu (Used to make sweet desserts or teas in Maldives)
I have given this information about Hithala because my next recipe is Hithala fushu Folhi