Mavilakku (Sweet Flour Lamps)


Amazing, Awesome, Fantastic, Spell Bounding, Magnificent, Too good to be true, Surreal…

Nope, I am not praising my mavilakku’s. We went to Avatar last night and folks usually say they are lost for words..But I have a list of words to praise the movie, and nothing can do justice. No wonder it hit the $1B mark in 2 weeks. And we may add to the collections as we are going to watch it again this weekend :)

Who knows, may be our kalki avatar will be like that too, winning the war of good vs evil. James Cameron either thinks 100 years ago(Titanic) or a century ahead. But worth every cent and every minute!

Since we are nearing the tamil month of Thai (Jan 15-Feb 15), I thought of writing about this mavilakku Рa lamp of flour and ghee. Growing up in Tamilnadu, two of the twelve months are really famous for offering prayers. It is either the month of Adi (July-August) or Thai (Jan-Feb). Most famous temples for goddess like Kali, Durga, Amman, Mariyamman have festivals to celebrate the power of goddesses  and there would be events like walking on fire or body piercing, if a prayer was answered.

Mavillaku is another way of praying and thanking the goddess for her support in tough times. Ma – is the maavu or the flour and the vikallu means lamp. I think it is a way of representing the soul and the body as the lamp and the fire within.

Traditionally the flour is made fresh at home. One cup of rice is soaked in water for 10 minutes and then dried on a plate inside the house. The rice is then powdered for flour. I have made mavilakku in this way, but now I use rice flour instead of grinding it at home.


Rice flour- 1 cup
Jaggery- 1.5 cups
Ghee- 1/2 cup and another 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder- 1/2 tsp

Lamp Wick-one wick


Make sure that you don’t taste this while you make it. Since this is an offering, it can only be tasted after prayers.

Grate the jaggery (or chop the jaggery into cubes and finely powder it). Mix rice flour and jaggery together. Start adding the ghee slowly so that the rice flour and jaggery can be made into a ball. When it reaches this stage, add the cardamom powder and knead softly to mix.

In this flour ball, make a hole in the middle to create a cup (not entirely like a doughnut) but leaving some space to hold the base and to hold the ghee. Place this flour lamp in to another stainless steel cup. If available, you can also line up the base with a banana leaf.

Pour the remaining ghee into this hole (cup). Dip the wick in this ghee and arrange it with one end touching the ghee and another end out of the cup. Light the wick and let the flour lamp cook slowly in ghee (As the lamp burns, the flour will be cooked).

When the light dies down on it’s own, you can remove the wick and taste the mavilakku. This mavilakku (sweet) stores well for even 6 months. I guess in the olden days since people were traveling from place to place on foot, this was a useful dessert to carry along too.

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11 Comments to “Mavilakku (Sweet Flour Lamps)”

  1. indosungod says:

    We watched Avatar/3D over the holidays, it was indeed technologically amazing but a tad bit too long.

    This is a favorite of DH.

  2. Cham says:

    Hmm I like this broader look of ur template! Avatar is appreciated by everyone! No wonder it hit Billion! Mavillaku reminds Adi month! I use to eat with coconut :)

  3. Sayantani says:

    thanks for sharing this Ruchika. This way we get to know the traditions of different region.

  4. simplyfood says:

    Wonderful capture of photo, lovely recap of tradition and lovely recipe.

  5. Linda says:

    This is just beautiful! I especially enjoyed your thought about the representation of body and soul — lamp and fire within. Really lovely, indeed :)

  6. Bharathy says:

    Ruchika!..I should say I am absolutely in love with Mavilakku! :)–I havent tried this so far..amma used to make this and me we used to love nibbling the part of mavu which gets brunt due to the thiri…:)..Bookmarked!..will certainly try!! :)

  7. ruchikacook says:

    ISG, I was thinking, we laugh like anything when our tamil film hero driving a maatu vandi chases the villian in a helicopter but in Avatar, it looks like it is “the” way :)

    Thanks Cham.

    Sayantani, I have been learning a lot since I started blogging too , I thought this is a simple dish but I am glad I wrote this..

    Thank you simply food.

    Linda, that is the name of the dish, Ma-vilakku, its almost like you are melting inside in search of god :)

    Thanks Bharathy..I even store my mavilakku like a chocolate and eat it for the sudden sugar rush :)

  8. I have not watched it…. but will some day… I’m not that into it…so the delay…. & that is a nice lamp…. & has a recipe too….. DIYA JALAO phir PET KI AAG BHUJAO…. Awesome…. Twosome…..


  9. Wow thats so nice and creative…never saw this before or heard abt it….looks really good ruchika

  10. Sumi says:

    Just like the way my grandmon use to make during festival times.Brought back nostalgic memories…I dont have a recipe though..nice to see urs.Will make it for this pongal

  11. pavithra says:

    Hi ruchika,

    First time her and thrilled to see all your lovely recipes… Just browsed thru everything.. awesome collection. Will be here often to see mouthwatering recipes.

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