Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Festival Recipes - Karthigai Deepam

The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai [November - December], which coincides with Krithikai star. It begins on Uttradam day with flag hoisting and goes on for nine days.


Karthigai Deepam Festival


Unlike many other Hindu festivals, Karthigai is basically a Tamil festival and is virtually unknown in most other parts of the country. One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age [200 B.C. to 300 A.D]. The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the Tamil month of Karthigai. It was one of the most important festivals [peruvizha] of the ancient Tamils. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs.


Legend related to Thiruvanamalai: The Shivalinga in the temple here is the agni lingam. It is celebrated in a special manner in Thiruvanamalai, as Karthigai deepam is considered as main event and festival there.

It was in this month that Lord Siva created Lord Muruga from his Divine Light. Lord Muruga took the form of six babies in a lake called “Saravana Poigai."

Rows of [Mud lamps] Agal vilakkus in front of every house... this is the beautiful image that  comes to mind when we think of Karthigai Deepam.

Let the light of Karthigai Deepam illuminate the darkness of ignorance and unhappiness and bring in enlightenment to our lives with joy and prosperity.

As is known, no South-Indian festival is without mouth-watering delicacies...Here are some of the important Neyvedhyam items for this important festival:

The items are Nel/Aval Pori and Appam.  Pori [puffed rice] is of two kinds - Nel Pori and Aval Pori.  However the preparation for both these items are similar.  I give below the recipe:


Karthigai Pori 
Ingredients:

Aval Pori [ Puffed Rice Flakes] - 6 Cups
Jaggery [Powered] 1/2 Cups
Coconut[ cut into small piece]s - 1 Cup
Cardamom Powder - 1 teaspoon
Dry Ginger Powder[ known as Sukku podi] - 1/2 teaspoon

Preparation:

1.  Clean the Pori since it will have husks sticking to it and also you will find some small stones.
2.  Melt the jaggery in just enough water so as to cover it.  Strain the jaggery to remove of the impurities.  
3.  Then boil the jaggery enough so as to get a thick consistency.  This is the most tricky part of the preparation as otherwise, if the jaggery is not consistent, the pori will sink in the jaggery and become soggy and spoil the preparation.  As you boil the jaggery syrup, keep a bowl of water near by.  As the jaggery thickens, drop a few drops into the water.  Remove the jaggery from the water with your hands. Initially it will be as a soft ball.  It will be in the form of jelly consistency.  Boil the syrup for some more time  and again, drop a few drops of it into the water.  When the consistency forms into a hard ball, then the right consistency has been done.  If you throw the ball on a hard surface, it should make a "thud" noise.  This is what is known as  "kallu padam".
4.  Then remove the syrup from the stove quickly.
5.  You may now add the coconut pieces and cardamom powder to the pori and mix continuously so that the pori gets coated with the jaggery evenly.  
6.  Allow this to cool a bit and then make small balls of pori.  In case you are not able to make balls, you can leave it as it is.  


Aval Pori is prepared the same way.  You may clean the Aval from all the dirt, and then follow the same method as for the Nel Pori.


This is a very tasty dish which all the family members are sure to enjoy!


2.  Karthigai Appam

Vella Appam
Ingredients:


Rice Flour - 1 Cup
Jaggery - 3/4 Cup
Ripe Banana - 1 
Coconut cut into small pieces - 2 teaspoons
Cardamom Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil for deep frying.


Method:


1.  Add half cup of water to jaggery and mix well till it gets dissolved in water.  Then strain it from impurities.
2.  Then mash the banana into a fine paste and add this to the rice flour.  You may then add the coconut pieces and cardamom powder also into the rice flour and mix well to form a smooth paste.  Add Jaggery water and stir well and make a thick batter.  
3.  In a kadai, pour oil and when it is hot, take a spoon of batter and gently pour it in the hot oil.  Fry till it is golden brown in colour and remove from kadai.


PS: You can make this Appam with Wheat or even Maida flour.  You could also use sugar instead of jaggery.  Instead of deep frying, you can make use of the Kuzhi Panniyaram plate and make this Appam.  


2 Method:  


Though making dough for this Appam is different with many people, preparing the traditional way of making batter by soaking urad dhal and grinding along with jaggery and coconut is no doubt very tasty too.  A bit strenuous though....My mother always used to prepare Appam in this way and the recipe is given below:


Ingredients:


Raw Rice - 1 Cup
Jaggery - 1 Cup
Coconut [cut into small pieces] - 1 tablespoon
Cardamom powder - 1 tablespoon
Ghee for frying the Appams 
Gingely Oil - 1 tablespoon.


Preparation:


1. Soak the rice for 2 to 3 hours and strain to remove the water.  Grind to a fine powder in the mixer.  You should sieve to remove any large particles.  You can grind once again to get a finer powder. 
 2.  Make a jaggery syrup to jelly consistency.  Remove from the stove. 
3.   Add cardamom powder and coconut pieces and add the ground rice flour while mixing the dough continuously.  Keep the dough covered for a few hours. 
4.   Heat the kuzhi-panniyaram kadai and add a tablespoon of oil  and top it with some ghee.  5.  When the ghee gets hot, put spoonfuls of dough into each depression /kuzhi.  Allow the appams to cook well on one side and gently turn them with a spoon or skewer. 
6.   When they are done on both the sides[turn into golden brown in colour], remove them carefully from the kuzhi.  Repeat the same with the remaining dough.


This is a very tasty dish, relished by one and all!


Happy Karthigai Deepam to all of you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Festival Recipes - Navarathri

The Festival of Navarathri falls on the first nine days of the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar and Navratri Calendar. Celebrated during the month of September, Navratri brings out the piety of Hindus all over. Navratri Dates  are from Wednesday, the 28th of September to Thursday, the 6th of October, 2011.


"Navarathri Kolu"


`Navaratri Kolu` is a major Hindu festival, which is celebrated during `Dussehra` or `Navaratri` throughout India, especially in Southern India. This is a major festival of South India, which is celebrated for 10 days during September or October month.


The most significant part of Navaratri is the setting up of "Kolu". Navarathiri is never complete without the different kinds of sundal  made each evening.

Sundal can be prepared from any gram/dhal. Basic method is same for all except soaking/cooking the dhal.

Wholegram [Kondai kadalai], dried peas, mochai kottai, bengal gram dhal, green gram, green gram dhal, peanut, cow gram, corn are normally used to prepare Sundal.

Ingredients:

*Any desired gram / dhal - 1 cup
*Red Chillies - 2 Nos
*Curry leaves - few
*Coconut gratings - 1 tablespoon
*Oil - 1 teaspoon
*Mustard - 1/2 teaspoon
*Urad dhal - 1 teaspoon
*Asafotida - a pinch
*Salt - 1 teaspoon

Method:

1.  Soak the gram in water for atleast 8 hours. Pressure cook along with a pinch of salt for two to three whistles. Drain the excess water and keep aside.

2.  If you use green gram dhal, then soak only for 1 to 2 hours and cook in open vessel.

3.  If it is bengal gram dhal [Kadalai Paruppu], soak for 2 to three hours and cook for one whistle in pressure cooker or in open vessel.

4.  In a kadai put the oil and when it is hot add mustard. When it pops up, add Urad dhal, red chillies broken into pieces along with asafotida powder and curry leaves. Fry for a while. Add cooked gram. Mix well. Add a pinch of salt and coconut gratings. Mix once again and remove. Sundal is ready to serve.

Note: There are two varieties of wholegram, white and black. The black coloured gram is tastier. You can add in the sundal few drops of lemon juice or a small piece of mango grated finely.

To get spicy taste, grind one tablespoon coconut gratings, a small piece of ginger and a small size green chilli to a fine paste and add to the seasoning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Festival Recipes - Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, is celebrated with great pomp and show in India. It is a popular Hindu festival that is celebrated in a grand manner every year According to the Hindu calendar; the festival comes on the 4th day of Bhadarva Shukla-Paksh and falls around August or September.


This year  - 2011, Ganesh Chaturthi falls on Thursday  September 1st.  

The Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi

India is a land of festival and celebrations and Lord Ganesha is known for his inclination towards sweets. Therefore, a festival dedicated to Lord Ganesha will always be incomplete without special sweet dishes. There are a variety of sweets made on this occasion, with the most popular one being Modakam / Kozhukattais

Let us celebrate Ganesh Chaurthi with all His favourite dishes and may we all be showered with the Blessings of Lord Ganesha, the God of Wisdom and intellect, on this auspicious Day.  



Here are some delicious  Recipes for Ganesh Chaturthi:
Poornam Kozhukattai/Modakam



Ingredients [yields 25  kozhukkattais]

For the outer shell:

*Rice flour: 1½ cups
*Coconut oil or any other cooking oil: 2tsp.
*Salt: a pinch


Preparing Pooranam [sweet stuffing] with different ingredients: 


Coconut Pooranam: 

Ingredients: 

*Jaggery powdered – 2 cups [Depending on your taste, you can reduce the sweetness]
*Coconut gratings – 2 cups
*Cardamom – 4 Nos powdered
*Oil – 2 to 3 teaspoon
*Salt – ½ teaspoon





The stuffing:

1.  Melt the jaggery and strain to remove any impurities. Reheat and make a slightly thick syrup. To test, just remove the spoon with a little syrup from the boiling syrup and drop into a cup of cold water. If the syrup forms a smooth ball, soft to touch, it is ready. 

2.  Add the coconut gratings to the molten jaggery. Keep stirring until all the water is absorbed and the contents leave the side of the pan. 
3.  Remove from fire and add cardamom powder.

This stuffing can be prepared in advance and refrigerated up to 1 month. This keeps good in room temperature for up to 1 week.


Dhal Pooranam:

Ingredients:

*Bengal Gram Dhal - 1 cup
*Powdered Jaggery - 1 cup
*Grated Coconut - 3/4 cup
*Cardamon – 2
*A pinch of salt


Method:

1.  Soak Bengal gram dhal in water for about two to three hours. 

2.  Cook the Dhal in water till soft, but not mushy. Drain the excess water. 
3. Grind the cooked dhal to a coarse powder [You should not use any water - only dry grind]. 
4.  Put the jaggery in a heavy bottomed vessel and add ½ cup water and keep on low flame. When the jaggery completely melted, strain it and put it in a heavy bottomed vessel and bring to boil again. 
5.  When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and add dhal powder and mix well. Stir now and then and cook till it is solid. 
6.  Add coconut gratings and cardamom powder and mix everything well. Remove from stove and let it cool.

Ellu [Sesame Seeds] Pooranam:
Ingredients:

*White sesame seeds – 1 cup
*Powdered jaggery – 1 cup
*Ghee – 1 tablespoon
*Cardamom Powder – ½ teaspoon

Method: 

1.  Dry roast sesame seeds on a slow fire to a light brown colour. Cool it. 

2.  Powder it in a mixie. Powder the jaggery well. 
3.  Put it in a mixie and run for one to two rounds. Before removing, add ellu powder and cardamom powder and again run for one to two rounds. 
4.  Remove it, add melted ghee and mix well.





The rice flour coating:

1. Heat a pan and add 2 tsp of oil. 

2.  Add 1½ cups of water and pinch of salt and boil. 
3.  Meanwhile mix the rice flour in1½cups of water into a smooth batter without lumps. 
4. When the water starts boiling add this batter and keep stirring until the rice flour becomes a smooth shiny ball. 
5.  Remove from fire and cool.

To prepare kozhukkattais:

1.  Knead the rice flour dough well. 

2.  Take a lime sized portion and form into a cup. 
3.  Smear little oil on your finger tips to make it easier to handle the dough. 
4.  Put a smaller size ball of the coconut stuffing inside and close from all sides and pinch the ends together. Repeat till all the dough and stuffing is used up. 
5.  Steam the kozhukkattais in a steamer or a idli steamer for 15 minutes.


Tips: If banana leaves are available place the kozhukkattais on the banana leaf and steam.The kozhukkattais will not stick to the plate.  
If you find it difficult to make rice cups, you can use Kozhukattai mould, which is readily available in the market/stores.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Festival Recipes - Janmashtami [Krishna Jayanthi]

Shri Krishna Janmashtami, or Sri Krishna Jayanti, celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna. In 2011, the date of Sri Krishna Jayanti in North India is August 22. In some parts of South India and in some parts of westernIndia it is on August 21. It is observed as Dahi Handi in Maharashtra, the formation of the huge human pyramids to break the pot hung high up. The festival is also known as Gokulashtami and Krishnashtami.


Janmashtami - The Birth of Lord Krishna
Janmashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. There are many people who observe a fast on this day until midnight, which is supposed to be the time of Krishna’s birth.
Festivals in India are an important aspect of the social, religious and cultural life of its people. Food is an integral part of this festivity. Each festival is associated with particular dishes that are also related to the season when the festival occurs. Generally, festivals occur on dates according to the Indian calendar that is linked to the solar or lunar cycles.


To all of us,  ‘August’ is synonymous with sumptuous food and yummy delicacies. August in India is full of festivals starting with ‘Raksha Bandhan’ [Celebrating the sibling bond], followed by ‘Navroz’ [Parsi New Year],  followed by  ‘Janmashtami’ [The Birthday of Krishna], and of course,  ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ [The Birthday of Ganesha].


On the holy day of Krishna Jayanti, the ladies in South India decorate their houses beautifully, ready to welcome the Lord. They prepare various sweets and Savouries and offer them to the Lord. Butter was Krishna's favourite, and this is also offered.


The main neyvedyams for Janmashtami are Cheedais [Uppu and Vellam], Neyyappam, Sweet Avil, Pal payasam and Butter.


Here are the delicious Recipes for Janmashtami:


1.  Uppu/Salt Cheedai



Uppu /Salt Cheedai
  • Ingredients:

  • *2 cups - Unpolished Rice/Purungal Arisi
  • *2 tablespoons - Black Gram/Ulutham Paruppu/Urad Dhal
  • *2 tablespoons - Bengal Gram/Kadalai Paruppu/Chana Dhal[optional]
  • *¾ cup - Coconut[ grated]
  • *½ teaspoon - Cumin Seeds/Jeeragam/Jeera
  • *1 teaspoon - Asafoetida Powder/Perungaayam/Hing
  • *For deep frying - Oil
  • *1 tablespoon - Salt

  • Method:
  • 1.  Over a medium fire gently roast the dhals until their special aroma is released. Blend into a fine powder.
  • 2.  Finely powder the rice and add to the gram powders.
  • 3.  Dissolve the asafoetida and salt in two teaspoons of water and set aside.
  • 4.  In ½ cup of water mix in the powders, grated coconut, cumin seeds, asafoetida powder, ghee and salt to make a soft dough.
  • 5.  Mould the dough into very small marble-sized balls. The marbles need not be very rounded. Place these balls on a tray to ensure they do not stick together.
  • 6.  Heat the oil for frying. Lower the flame and gently drop the balls into the oil.
  • 7.  With a slotted ladle turn the balls so that they do not stick together while frying.
  • 8.  Fry until they are light golden all over.
  • 9.  Drop the cheedais on to a kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.




Useful Tips: Allow the cheedais to dry out for 10-12 minutes before frying them. They will give them a good crisp and crunchy consistency and taste..


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2.  Vella [Jaggery] Cheedai



Vella Cheedai

  • Ingredients:

  • *2 cups - Rice
  • *¼ cup - Black Gram/Ulutham Paruppu/Urad Dhal
  • *2½ cups - Vellam/Jaggery
  • *3 tablespoons - Coconut, chopped fine
  • *1 tablespoon - Cashewnuts, chopped fine
  • *½ teaspoon - Cardamom Powder/Elakkai/Elaichi
  • *1 teaspoon-  White Sesame Seeds/Yellu/Til
  • *For deep frying - Oil

  • Method:

  • 1.  Wash the rice, strain and spread on a muslin cloth. Double up the muslin if it is very fine. Allow about 15 minutes for the cloth to absorb all the water from the rice until it is no longer moist.
  • 2.  Blend the rice into a fine powder. Sieve and blend again repeatedly until all of it is pulverized.
  • 3.  Blend the urad dhal into a fine powder and mix with the rice flour. Roast the mixed flours over a medium flame for a couple of minutes or until brown.
  • 4.  Take off the flame. Add the coconut, cashewnuts, cardamom powder and sesame seeds and mix well.
  • 5.  Add 1 cup water to the jaggery and melt over a low flame. Strain to remove scum. Return to the flame and stir for 8-10 minutes until it reaches a thick pouring consistency.
  • 6.  Take off the flame and add the prepared mixture.
  • 7.  Mix well into a soft dough without any lumps. Mould the dough into lime-sized balls.
  • 8.  Heat the oil for frying. When the oil begins to simmer, lower the flame and gently drop the balls into the hot oil.
  • 9.  With a slotted ladle, turn the balls around so that they do not stick together.
  • 10. Fry until they are a dark brown all over. Take care not to burn the fried marbles.
  • 11. Drain and drop the cheedais on to a kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.




 Tips: Cool and store well in an airtight container. They will remain crisp and be fresh for more than a week.


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3.  Vella Appam

Appam is a famous delicious food in india especially in south inida. Sweet appam or vella appam is famous in tamil nadu and for many festivels, tamilians especially brahmins make appam for neyvedhyam[for pooja]. Appam is very simple and quick to make and kids love this very much


Vella Appam for Gokulashtami

Ingredients:

Rice - 1 cup [Pacha arasi]
Grated Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Fenugreek Seeds/Vendhayam - 1/4 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1/4 teaspoon
Cardamom [powdered]- 1/2 teaspon


Method:

  • 1.  Heat the pan [thick bottom pan] and fry the rice till the color of the rice change to light brown
  • 2.  Add the fenugreek seeds and urad dal with the rice and soak them in the water for 30 mins
  • 3.  After 30 mins rinse the water and grind the rice,fenugreek seeds,urad dal mixture to the fine paste. Dont add water during grinding.
  • 4.  Add the Jaggery now with the grinded rice and grind it again till the consistency of the batter look like a dosa batter
  • 5.  Add the cardamom powder to the mixture
  • 6.  Heat the oil in the thik bottom pan.  Once the oil gets heat then pour one ladle [small kuzhi karandi] of appam batter and deep fry it. Keep the flame in medium.
  • 7.  Now the hot, delicious appam is ready to serve.


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4.  Mullu Murukku


Mullu Murukku
Ingredients:

*Rice flour – 3 cups
*Besan flour – 1 cup
*Red Chilli powder – 2 teaspoons
*Asafotida powder – 1 teaspoon
*Salt – 2 teaspoons or as per taste
*Butter or Ghee – 4 tablespoon
*Oil for deep frying

Method:

Sieve both rice and besaN flour. Put it in a broad vessel. Add red chilli powder, asafetida and salt and mix well. Melt butter or ghee and pour over the flour. Mix once again. Divide the flour into 3 to 4 parts. Then add water little by little in one part of the flour and make a soft dough. Take small quantity of dough and put it in the Murukku Press with "single star" plate and squeeze it in circular motion directly to the hot oil. Fry till it becomes crispy and nice golden yellow. But ensure not to brown. 

Once the prepared dough is finished, then take another part of the flour and make dough and proceed as above.



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5.  Thenkuzhal


Thenkuzhal
Ingredients:

*4 cups raw rice
*1 cup urad dal
*2 tbsp butter
*1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
*2 tbsp cumin seeds
*salt - to taste [two teaspoon]
*oil for deep frying 

Method: 

Wash rice and spread it on a clean cloth and dry in the shade. In a dry kadai put the urad dhal and fry till it become light brown. Cool it. Mix both rice and dhal and send it to Mill for grinding it to a fine powder.

Sieve it. Add cumin seeds, asafetida powder, salt and butter to the flour and mix by hand thoroughly. Now add water little by little and make a dough. Take small quantity of dough and put it in the Thenkuzhal Press [Murukku Acthu] with three small holes and press it in small circular motion directly to the hot oil. Fry till it becomes crispy and nice golden yellow. But ensure not to brown. Take out from oil and store it in a airtight container.

Tips: Just in case you are not able to get it powdered in the Rice Mill, you can use rice flour and urad dhal flour in the ratio 4:1. In that case, fry the urad dhal in a dry kadai and powder it in a mixie. Sieve it and add it to the rice flour.

Instead of butter, you can add a handful of chutney dhal powdered finely. This will give a good taste definitely.  



PS: For preparing Payasam, you may look into my Payasam posts for the Recipes.  


Happy Janmashtami to all of you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Festivals Recipes - Karadayan Nonbu

Today[14-03-2011] is Karadayan Nombu.   This Nombu is observed for the long life of the husbands.  The main ritual for this nonbu is tying of the Nonbu charadu [yellow thread, similar to the one the bridegroom ties around the neck of the bride at the time of marriage].  This year the time given for performing  this Puja/ritual is between 8.00 and 9.00pm IST.



As is customary,  both Vella Adai and Uppu Adai are prepared for Neyvedyam.  I always prepare it with Karamani and this gives it a special taste and everyone in my family likes it very much when prepared like this.  It is said that observing a fast on this important day for all the ladies, is very fruitful and brings lots of happiness and well-being in their family.    


After preparing the Adais, we get ready for the puja. There is always a  place for each female member of the family, however small the girl is. Even if there is only one female member, usually we never have one neyvedyam kolam or leaf. It is usually two. It is also customary to tie Nonbu Charadu for the Gangai Sombu if you have one at home in the Puja room, as the Gangai Sombu is considered to be very sacred to us Hindus.


After the kolam is put, the puja offering is prepared in the following way: 




Banana leaf put on each kolam
A banana leaf is put on each kolam. On the leaf,  we place - one [sweet] Vella Adai  and one Uppu Adai and some butter, two bananas, betel leaves and nuts, two pieces of turmeric, flowers and the Nonbu Charadu.




 The Adais with Nonbu Charadu on Leaf


Neyvedhyam Items 


After placing all the above in the leaf,  the Charadu is tied around the neck and the neyvedhyam is partaken by the offerers. [As this is an important festival for the ladies in particular, this is one of the few occasions that ladies get to eat before men]. Though you can have any number of Adais, it is only one Vella adai and one Uppu Adai  which is kept during the puja, The ladies should recite these two lines and perform Neyvedyam.....




"Urukkatha vennayum Oradayum notren
Orukalum en kanavan piriyathirukkanam..."


which goes to mean .... “I offer butter and one adai, let me and my husband be together always."





Puja Room with Neyvedhyam offerings 
Hope all the ladies in their respective houses celebrate this Puja with utmost sanctity and Bhakthi today.  

Nombu Adai
Vella Adai [Sweet -Jaggery Adai]

Ingredients:

*Rice flour 1 cup
*Karamani  2 tbsps
*Jaggery 1¼ cup
*Coconut gratings ½ cup
*Cardamom powder 1 tsp.

*Plantain leaves to steam the adais.

Method:

1.  Roast the rice flour in a shallow pan to a golden colour. 

2. Cook the Karamani in a pan with enough water until half done. Melt the jaggery in 2 cups of water. When the jaggery is melted add the half cooked karamani,  coconut gratings, cardamom powder and roasted rice flour and cook until all the water is absorbed. Allow to cool.

3.  Make small pieces of plantain leaves. Make small balls of the cooked rice flour [the size of a small orange] and keep on the plantain leaf. Take some ghee and flatten with the palm[ghee for better taste]  and make a small hole in the centre. Keep the plantain leaves on a steamer and steam for 10 mnts. 

4.  This is to be taken with some  butter.


Uppu Adai [Salt-Savoury Adai]


Ingredients:

*Rice flour: 1 cup
*Karamani 2 tbsp.
*Coconut gratings ½ cup
*Green chillies 2 or 3 cut into small pieces
*Mustard 1 tsp
*Urad dal 1 tsp
*Hing ½ tsp.
*Curry leaves a few sprigs
*Oil 1 tbsp.
*Salt to taste

*Plantain leaves to steam the adai.

Method.

1.  Roast the rice flour to a golden brown colour. 

2.  Cook the Karamani in a pan with enough water until half done. 

3.  Heat the oil in a pan and add the hing.  Add the mustard. When mustard starts spluttering, add the urad dal, green chillies and curry leaves. 

4.  Add 2 cups of water, salt to taste and the coconut gratings. When the water starts boiling add the half Karamani and rice flour and cook until all the water is absorbed. Allow it to cool.

5.  Make balls of the cooked rice flour and flatten on plantain leaves and steam for 10 minutes as you do for Vella Adai.  

6.  This is to be taken with some Butter. 

PS: you can also cut the coconut into very small pieces[cubes] instead of grating it, for both Vella Adai and Uppu Adai.  

Happy Nonbu to each and everyone of the ladies out there!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Festival Recipes Chakkarai Pongal





Pongal Pandigai [பொங்கல் பண்டிகை]


Pongal  falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai [ January 14th or 15th].  It is celebrated by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new pots. The rice is later topped with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins. This tradition gives Pongal its name.





Chakkarai Pongal 


The moment the milk boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, the tradition is to shout of "Ponggalo Ponggal!", introduce freshly harvested rice grains in the pot and blow the sangu [a conch]. Tamils consider it a good sign to watch the milk boil over as it connotes good luck and prosperity. The newly cooked rice is traditionally offered to the Sun God at sunrise to demonstrate gratitude for the harvest. This sweet preparation called Chakkarai Pongal is later served to the people present in the house for the ceremony. 



Here is the Recipe for Chakkarai Pongal:

Ingredients

* Long Grain Rice 1 cup
* Moong Dhal 1/4 cup
* Milk 1 cup
* Melted Butter [Ghee] 1/2 to 1 cup
* Powdered Jaggery or Brown Sugar 1 3/4 cup
* Cardamom Powder 1/2 tsp
* Raisins -10
* Cashew Nuts - 10 



Method

1. Cook rice and moong dal with milk and water until well done.
2. Fry cashews and raisins in ghee until golden brown and keep aside.
3. Take water and add jaggery [or brown sugar] and boil it until it dissolves and becomes thick.
4. Add cooked rice and dal to jaggery and keep stirring on low heat until well mixed.
5. Add remaining ghee in spoonfuls and continue stirring.
6. Add powdered cardamom and mix well.
7. Decorate with fried raisins and cashews.
8. Serve a little warm for a delicious taste.
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