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…

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Appala Kootu

Appalam making is a leading cottage industry prevalent in my maternal grand father’s village. As a kid I was completely awestruck watching women & girls in our neighbourhood kneading mountainous dough, rolling appalam at lightning speed, and stacking dried appalam like a tower.  Whenever I was upset with my cousins or siblings I used to…

Classic Elixir

Chukku-malli kaapi is a traditional South Indian digestive elixir prepared using dried ginger & other spices, herbs and palm sugar. As Indian medicine recommends to take fresh ginger in an empty stomach in the morning & dried ginger before sleep, we take fresh ginger juice or ginger jam (lehium) before breakfast & dried ginger elixir…

Sodhi with Inji Pachadi

Sodhi is an exotic Sri Lankan stew prepared with lentils and vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Although sodhi is not a spicy curry it has grown popular among people living in & around Tirunelveli. Meals with sodhi is a lavish spread in our wedding feasts comprising creamy sodhi, pungent ginger chutney, spicy potato fries, crunchy appalam, scrumptious…

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…

Kummiyanam

Kummiyanam is a nutritious dessert made of rice, assorted legumes & palm jaggery prepared by the people in Tirunelveli, Nagerkoil, or Kanyakumari. It is offered to the lamented souls while remembering them in Aadi month (a Tamil calendar month usually falls between 15th of July & 15th of August). In this month we remember departed men…

Aadi Perukku

Aadi Perukku is a festival of fertility being celebrated by women in south India for more than 500 years. It was mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature, Paripadal, written in the 14th century. If you are interested to read those Tamil verses, you can visit here: https://learnsangamtamil.com/  I like to quote few lines here: “Women getting ready…

Tamarind Rice

Puliyodarai, a traditional rice dish, stays good & tastes divine even if it is kept without being refrigerated for 3 or 4 days.  My mother used to say that her grand father always preferred to carry puliyodharai rice while traveling in bullock cart for all their family trips.  Here is my simplified recipe for puliyodharai…

Chitrannam

Chitrannam is a platter of different rice varieties prepared on an auspicious Aadiperukku day, a day that brings in prosperity. It is believed that whatever we do on that day would grow manifold, so farmers used to sow their seeds and others would like to venture into new business on this day. I prefer to…

Sacred Fruit Salad

Panchamirtham is a sacred fruit salad that we offer to God and is also used for abishegam (bathing deities) in temples. The renowned Palani panchamirtham made using bananas that are exclusively grown near Palani hills is offered to Lord Muruga in Palani temple. You can check this video to see how panchamirtham abishegam is performed…

Idli Podi

Idli milagai podi is an indispensable condiment in every south Indian’s pantry.  I find idli podi satisfying only when I feel the coarse grits on my tongue, I also like to use fresh & flavorful homemade podi; so I do not like to use store-bought idli podi which is sold as fine powder.  We use…

Ayurvedic Lemonade

Panakam is a traditional ayurvedic lemonade offered to God on Kandha sashti day observed by Saivites and also on the day of Rama navami celebrated by Vaishnavites. Rama navami is celebrated on the birthday of God Rama and Kandha Sashti Viratham is observed for 7 days after Deepavali, apart from the regular Shasti every month….