Archive for the ‘Festival Special food’ Category

Thiruvadirai Kali and Kootu

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Growing up in Chidambaram, the best festival for us was the Ther(Car festival) and then Darisanam during the ther festival that happens twice a year. This special kali and kootu is made for the ther festival in the winter(the tamil month of Margazhi). Though the ther and darisanam are over in Chidambaram now, only today I got the time to post this recipe, so hopefully it will be useful for next year :)

You can find the recipe for the kootu here from my old post,and it is made with 7 vegetables and lentils.

For the kali:
Let us say, this will be just enough for two people if you use a smaller measuring cup. If you need more, just measure it with a bigger measuring utensil.

Raw rice- 1 cup
Moong dal- 1/2 to 1 tsp
Jaggery- 1.5 to 2 cups(grated)
Coconut- 3 tbsp
Elachi- 1 pinch
Cashew nuts- 1 tsp
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Water- just enough to soak the jaggery


Soak the jaggery in minimum amount of water, so that it dissolves. Dry roast(toast) the rice in a pan and transfer it to a blender, let it cool down. Toast moon gal to a golden brown color and transfer it to the blender. Blend the rice and dal together to a powder(but not so smooth and not so coarse kind of consistency).

Add 2 cups of water to the powdered rice and dal mixture and pressure cook it like rice, for up to two whistles. Let the rice cool down.

In a pan(I use non stick saucepan), filter the jaggery water and let it simmer. When you see bubbles coming towards the center, after about 5-7 minutes, try testing the syrup consistency by pouring a drop of the syrup on top of a plate- the syrup must look like it is thick, it should make a noise as it hits the plate and it will not dissolve that easily in water.

Now start adding the cooked rice and dal mix to this jaggery syrup. The rice will absorb the syrup and it will start thickening up. Add little amount of ghee and cook in medium flame till you can see that there is no more syrup left and the kali comes together.

Switch off.

Heat ghee in a pan, add cashew nuts, when the nuts turn golden brown in color, add the grated coconut, fry once and pour this over the kali. Add a pinch of elachi and mix well. Offer kali and kootu to Nataraja before tasting!

Though it is not the same, this kali can also be made for Pradosham as prasadam like kappirisi.

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year with this traditional sweet :)

Print Friendly

Diwali and a Blog Birthday!

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. This year, I made laddus, Badusha,sweet and spicy maida biscuits, Mullu murukku, thenkuzhal and omapodi. My son loves spicy snacks so instead of the mixture I make every year, I just let it be as murukkus and omapodi.
Here are the goodies :)

It has been three years since I started blogging and I wanted to thank you all for your support,comments and emails. I have made many friends through blogging and the best part is that when I do not post anything for a long time, I get loads of emails asking if I am alright. And during festival season, we share wishes and recipes! So a big thank you and special wishes for this festival season goes to my blogger friends and followers.

Print Friendly

From the kitchen this week: Garlic and Herb Buns, Thiruvathirai Kootu and Bachelor Biryani

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Instead of writing three posts I just thought of sharing all recipes in one post, so without a big introduction here are the recipes.

This is a bun I baked to go with some sundried tomato pesto pasta last week for dinner. You can make it as pav buns if you wanted to, just omit the herbs and garlic. I used to make aloobuns/vegetable buns posted here and I just followed the same recipe for this garlic buns too.


All purpose flour- 2 cups (I used 200 ml measuring glass)
Dry yeast- 2 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Melted slightly warm butter( not room temperature butter)- 4 tbsp
Water- as needed to knead
Olive oil- 2 tsp
Butter- 1 tbsp- to brush while baking
Garlic- finely chopped- 1 tbsp

Herbs: I used Italian seasoning which has thyme, basil and I also added some red pepper flakes. Or you can use cheese!


In a wide bowl, add about 1/4 cup of warm water. Dissolve the yeast,sugar and salt, slightly whisk it to mix well. Add the flour little by little and get a crumbly texture. Then add melted butter, start kneading slowly to incorporate and then add water as per requirement and knead well to a thick dough.Keep it covered in a warm place for atleast an hour for the dough to double in volume.

After the dough doubles just sprinkle a teaspoon of flour on top if it, punch it down, divide it into equal parts, roll each part in to a ball, coat again with olive oil,sprinkle some dried herbs/garlic/red pepper flakes/cheese or a little bit of it all(!!) and cover and keep in a warm place for 10 minutes to rise.

Pre heat the oven to 375F . Bake these buns at 375 for 15-20 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Keep watching the color, it can get burnt. You can smell the aroma of buns when they are done!

The buns would have joined together(because of the rise and baking), gently separate each bun, let it cool down for 2-3 minutes. Serve with any spicy chutney or ketchup and enjoy with a hot cuppa tea or serve with pasta!

Thiruvadirai Kootu:

The next one is very special to me as I grew up in Chidambaram and the Nataraja Ther(Chariot) during the month of December along with the star Thiruvadiarai is celebrated with a traditional kali and kootu(dal). My sister and I would pull the chariot with others(a big crowd, in thousands) and then come home for this feast. The chariot festival is celebrated twice a year, once around June/July and the other in December/January. I just thought why not make the kootu for lunch instead of waiting for those special days in December.

If you think about it, this is a excellent choice for your fridge/freezer cleaning days. This kootu has to be made with 7 different vegetables and lentils as during the month of December or January it will be harvest time but for a change from pulao or biryani if you have couple of carrots, beans, lentils and garbanzo beans or kidney beans, put it all in, it tastes so divine in this kootu.


Mixed vegetables(carrots, peas, pumpkin, snake gourd,long beans, Potato,Indian eggplant)- 1 cup
Cooked Mashed toor dal- 3/4 cup
Mixed beans(cooked garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, black eyed peas)- 1/2 cup
Peanuts(soaked in water)- 2 tbsp- optional
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Tamarind water- 2 .5 cups(1/4 tsp tamarind paste in 1 cup water and add another cup as it dissolves)

For tempering:
OIl- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves- 1 spring
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coconut- grated- 1 tbsp

For the spice powder:
Chanadal- 2 tbsp
Red chilies 3 (add another chili if you like it spicy)
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Coconut- 4 tbsp


Chop the vegetables into 1″ cubes. In a pot, add these vegetables, salt and turmeric powder, tamarind water, cover and let it cook. When the vegetables are half done, add the cooked lentils and cooked beans along with the soaked peanuts. Cover the let it cook through.

In another pan toast the chana dal, red chilies, coriander seeds to a golden brown color (toast separately) and transfer it to a blender(if you toast them all together coriander seeds may burn). Just toast the coconut in the hot pan and immediately transfer to the blender before it turns brown. Let the ingredients cool down and blend them to a fine powder.

Add this powder to the kootu pot as you add the beans(half way through cooking).

Once the vegetables are cooked through, the lentils and beans are all combined, switch it off.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, as it splutters add curry leaves. Just as you are about to pour this over the kootu, add the grated coconut to the tempering pan and pour it over the kootu. The coconut will thicken the kootu, if not you can mix 1 tbsp of rice flour with less than 1/4 cup of water and add it to the kootu when it is simmering.

Traditionally this kootu is served with kali(rice and jaggery) but we had it with plain rice and some carrot-cucumber kosamalli.

Bachelor Biryani:

Though I keep saying little R, my son is growing up to be the tall R :) And as he is about to join the “terrible two” age group those classic characterics are starting to show off- refusing to sit in the cart that he used to do before(now he wants to push it and run all over the mall), refusing to sit in a restaurant for a meal, starting to make choices(which means wearing those blue pair of shoes forever along with that same comfy pair of shirt that he likes), a big no no to the vegetables that he used to eat before, thinking that he is the boss of the house(says who??) etc etc., He is going to a summer camp for couple of hours a week and apart from the usual places I take R to, dropping him and picking him up is another job for me these days! So after a long list of complaints about the stuff I have to do all week, N took over cooking and made this biryani for the weekend- this is so simple, one pot dish and he used to make this for me couple of years back.

This is how it it goes:
Basmati rice(soaked in water)- 1 cup
Onion- medium size- 1
Tomatoes- 2, chopped
Mixed vegetables(carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, potatoes and even paneer if you like)- all together- 1 cup
Green chili-1
Mint leaves- half a bunch
Cilantro- half a bunch
Coconut-1/4 cup
Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds- 3/4 tsp
For garnish- finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves


Keep aside about 1/4 of the onion for stir frying and chop them finely. Chop the rest of the onion into cubes. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add cubed onions ,tomatoes and salt and stir fry well for 4-5 minutes. Now add the mint leaves, Green chili,cilantro and stir fry again for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer the contents to a blender, add coconut and bled it to a smooth paste(adding little amount of water if necessary).

Heat oil in a pressure pan or cooker, add fennel seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the chopped onions and salt and fry till onions turn transclucent. Now add other chopped vegetables and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Drain water from the rice and add it to the pan, mix them gently.

Measure the ground masala paste, if it measures to one cup you will need one more cup of water to cook the rice(Rice to water 1:2). So pour the masala paste, required amount of water and add the garam masala powder. Mix gently and cover and cook on medium flame for one whistle. See, this is so easy compared to the marinades/frying/dum biryanis, right?

After the pressure cooker has cooled down, open the cooker and gently separate the rice grains with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve hot with any raitha and chips!

Print Friendly

Vishukani and the tradition of reading panjangam

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Wishing you all a very happy Tamil New year/Vishu.Technically speaking how many new years do we celebrate in a year? The Jan 1 new year, Pongal(which is a beginning as it is the month of Thai), Tamil New year, Diwali(again as it is a beginning of something new) :D. Yet, tamil new year-the chitirai varusha pirappu is something we look forward to from childhood. For me, it is special because of the vishukani and the panjangam.

Vishukani is what we see first thing in the morning on the day of the new year. It all depends on what you are expecting to receive/achieve in that new year. Referring to what my mom says here in the famous notebook ,We arrange a plate filled with new clothes for the entire family, different kinds of fruits, some coins(money), flowers,coconut, beetel leaves,kumkumam(sindoor) and then place the plate right next to the wall. Then we arrange a mirror exactly opposite to the set up and that image in the mirror is what we see the first thing in the morning. Why? Well, basically those are the things you are expecting to get that year so you do not have hold of it yet, but it is reflection of what you want- so indirectly it implies that if you want it, you have to work for it.

Traditional offerings made that day include a real feast(obviously), with a taste of everything- bitter(neem flower rasam), sweet(panagam- a drink made of jaggery and water with elachi), sour(buttermilk), sweet and sour and tangy(mango pachadi) with the usual vadai, payasam etc.,

Sometimes I feel that certain festivals have certain foods for a reason- since it is summer and is so hot in India, panagam and buttermilk are natural coolers. Am I right?

The second best part about celebrating new year is the reading panjangam . My dad usually sends us(sis and I) new panjagams every year. It is a thing that fascinates me even now, like how do they figure out how much rain is going to reach the earth, whether it will be a year filled with sorrow or happiness(for everyone), what kind of events will be major this year according to planetary rotations and the description of the person who rules the year(with so many eyes and so many hands, walking towards this direction etc.,) When we were kids my dad will read the panjangam in the evening and we will listen with so much of enthusiasm and eagerness to know what is going to happen :) Besides you get to know when Diwali is, when other festivals are so it is a way of knowing how many holidays are going to fall on a working day 😀 The first year I read panjangam for N, he too was fascinated and kept asking me how they found out such stuff, but at the end of year you realize how true it turned out to be!

Alright, let me stop writing about my childhood experiences and go straight to the recipes.
Quick clicks of vadai(which became a kunukku due to son’s helping :),semia payasam,panagam and neer moru)

Veppempoo rasam: (I may skip it this year as I havent found the neem flower yet)

Mix about 1/4 tsp of tamarind paste in 1 cup of water,add salt and let it boil. When it is about to bubble over, switch off. Heat ghee in a pan and add one whole red chili and just less than 1/4 tsp if dried neem flower. Fry well in ghee and pour this over the rasam. You do not need more as it will be bitter so this quantity should be enough.

Mango pachadi: (Serves a family of 4)

Mango- one small size
Jaggery- 1 lemon size- powdered
Tamarind- just less than 1/4 tsp mixed in a cup of water(use if you think the mango is not sour enough)
Dry whole red chili-1
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
oil- 1 tbsp

Peel the skin of the mango, cube it and cook it in a cup of water(or tamarind water if you like more tanginess). Once mango is cooked through, add powdered jaggery and let it dissolve and mix with the mango pulp. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, when they splutter add whole red chili and pour the tempering over the mango-jaggery mix and switch off. This has to be thick pachadi and not so runny.


Jaggery- 2-3 tbsp, powdered
Water- 1 cup(200 ml)
Elachi powder- a pinch

Dissolve the jaggery completely in water and filter(to remove any dust or soil particles). Mix the elachi powder and serve.

Butter milk:
Yogurt- 1/4 cup mixed in one cup of water or Butter milk 1 cup
salt- to taste
curry leaves- few
hing- a pinch

Whisk the yogurt and water well to make moru(butter milk), add salt to taste and add curry leaves. Mix a dash of hing to the butter milk.

Print Friendly