Murukku

“Can you crunch murukku?” is one of the commonly asked questions when oldies meet each other during the festival of Deepavali. It is regarded as a blessing (or as a sign of good health) if one could relish crunchy murukku even at an old age. There is an old saying in Tamil “norunga thindral nooru…

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Diwali Dumplings

Dumpling is not only a traditional food but also a universal food, it is ubiquitous in almost every cultural cuisine in various form be it boiled, baked, steamed or fried. Chinese dim sum, Italian ravioli, Nepalese yomari, Jamaican fried dumplings, Polish potato plum dumplings, British herb dumplings, American apple dumplings, etc. are some of the…

Saffron Rice

Sweet saffron rice (zarda pulao), a Persian rice dish, was popular during the Mughal era dated back to 16th century. Noor Jahan, the multi-talented Mughal empress, devised a new technique to stain rice grains with edible dyes. Later zarda pulao made using such rice grains of various colours became so popular that it was served…

Karamani Sundal

Navarathri is a festival of worshiping the goddess of creative power (Parvathi), goddess of wisdom (Sarasawthi) & goddess of wealth (Lakshmi).¬†Navarathri celebrations in Tamilnadu is incomplete without offering sundal made of legumes to deities. I like to make karamani (black eyed beans) sundal for the soft skin & creamy texture. Today I used karamani of…

Poomparuppu Sundal

Lord Ganesha is worshiped as the god of beginnings by Hindus in the same manner God Janus is regarded in Greek mythology. It is interesting to find the striking similarities between the two as they both hold the honor of being the first god worshiped in every ritual. My day starts by listening to the…

Veppampoo pachadi

We normally celebrate every new beginning with sweets, but it is exceptional that we prepare bitter neem flower pachadi specially on our New Year usually falls on the 14th of April. On this day of Chithirai Vishu we used to have an elaborate lunch meal consisting of bitter neem flower pachadi, astringent raw jack fruit…

Anna Payasam

Whenever I heard the word payasam, I was visualizing rice & lentil jaggery payasam aka anna payasam during my childhood days. It was a delicious staple dessert prepared in our family whether to treat our guests, or on our birthdays, on any festival, or simply to offer to deities at home on Fridays. However we…

Karadaiyan Nombu Adai

Turmeric rhizomes are inextricably intertwined with our culture & traditions. The family ties are religiously acknowledged by tying a turmeric smeared thread around the wrist or neck (only for women) in the presence of deities, priests & other elders. Women used to observe fasting until the sacred turmeric thread is tied around the neck when…

Pongal in pot

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by worshiping Sun & earth to show our gratitude for the entire year’s harvests. On this day we all follow the traditional method of cooking rice in pot(s) decorated with ginger sprouts or turmeric sprouts rather than cooking in modern electric cooker or pressure cooker. It is considered auspicious…

Kadamba Sambar

Kadamba sambar is a traditional flavorful curry prepared with locally grown assorted vegetables & tubers. We prepare this delectable sambar on the day of Pongal, a harvest festival being celebrated in Tamilnadu in the mid January. On the day after Pongal left-over kadamba sambar used to be served as even more delicious pazhang-curry or sunda…

Neivilangai

Neivilangai has always been featured in our family’s Deepavali menu every year. These melt-in-mouth lentil flour laddu are popular among Indians & Sri Lankans. North Indians use Bengal gram (Besan) flour & south Indians use green gram flour to make delicious laddu. Neivilangai prepared by our grandmothers were extremely delicious and aromatic as they used…

Thattai

Thattai (meaning flat disc) are inexorably delicious crackers prepared in our family for Deepavali. It is so astonishing to see numerous varieties of thattai made all over India using various spices, lentils & grains. Thattai found in every state, every district and even every family has its own distinct taste, flavour, texture or colour.¬† Also…