Kurunai Dosai

A majority of my ancestors were farmers, they mostly grew rice & lentil crops in their farmland. Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather became the last agriculturist of our family due to several reasons such as scarcity of water, lack of manpower, declined profitability, etc. Earlier there were large amounts of nutrient-rich broken rice and broken lentils…

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Bottlegourd Adai

It is a common tendency of people here that they pamper their guests whom they respect the most with sumptuous feasts to express their special affinity towards them. So the way food offered to guests is obviously regarded as a scale to measure their closeness. During my childhood days I often found people getting offended…

Theeyal

It was a myth widely circulated in the 80s that coconuts are the main sources of cholesterol causing artery blocks. Nevetheless my mother started reducing the use of coconut meat greatly, used coconut milk sparingly, and stopped using coconut oil once for all. But my grandmothers continued to use coconuts profusely, and they even found…

Classic Blackgram Porridge

Oil bath, almost a forgotten weekly routine followed by every South Indian family until 3 or 4 decades ago, offers pretty much the same benefits of Ayurvedic massage. Nowadays people prefer to visit Ayurvedic clinic for massaging therapy, and spend a few hours & a few bucks there, but they take oil bath at home…

Tamarind Soup

According to ancient Indian medicine systems Siddha and Ayurveda, tamarind fruit is believed to have numerous healing powers. It is a quintessential ingredient of the commonly prepared south Indian curries like sambar, rasam, or kuzhambu. In a recent study it was found that we can largely reduce the loss of nutrients while cooking vegetables by…

Edible Lamps

Elders in our families are unable to withstand to watch the children blowing out candles on their birthday as lighting up lamps is considered auspicious here and it symbolizes brightening up the people’s lives. Earlier traditional lamps (kuthu vilakku) were treated as supreme deities at home, but statues & pictures gradually gained the special status…

Diwali Dumplings

Dumplings are not only traditional but also universal preparations, they are ubiquitous in almost every cultural cuisine in various forms 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 old-fashioned adorable dumplings…

Chinese Spinach

I am thankful to the creator of The Popeye show for motivating my son, a picky eater, to have a liking for insipid spinach even at his tender age. This cartoon show made my job easier to convey the importance of taking wholesome food and also made a small kid to understand a profound theory,…

Poppy seeds payasam

Poppy seeds payasam is a delicious and nutritious dessert popular in Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. Earlier I had been using poppy seeds scantily as a thickening agent along with coconut, so I could not identify the flavors in these seeds. But when I started to use them in larger quantity while making payasam, the flavor became…

Fermented rice

Pazhaya sadam (fermented rice) is a classic version of overnight oats popular in the west. It has been the staple food for working class here in India, but this humble meal is in vogue even among elites in the recent times. This is mainly because people prefer to take simple nourishing meal over a lavish…

Cottonseed milk dessert

Cottonseed milk is the traditional vegan milk used by the people in the villages near Madurai, my home town, for making nutritious desserts. As a part of my college education, I served as an NSS (National Service Scheme) volunteer. We used to camp in the surrounding villages during summer vacation to understand the living conditions…

Anna Payasam

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

Karadaiyan Nombu Adai

Turmeric rhizomes are inextricably intertwined with our culture & traditions, all our religious rituals are performed only in the presence of turmeric powder. Even the family ties are religiously acknowledged by tying a turmeric smeared thread around the wrist or neck (for women) before the deities, priests & other elders. Women used to observe fasting…

Crispy Masala Dosa

Dosa is a south Indian crepe relished by people of all ages. Typically dosa is prepared for breakfast or dinner and served as crispy dosa or spongy dosa. Crispy dosa is a thin paper-like crepe enjoyed by kids and spongy dosa is somewhat similar to a pancake. Although there are numerous varieties of dosa prepared…

Idli

About 1000 years old south Indian delicacy, idli, is now gaining popularity all over the world as a healthy breakfast. Various studies conducted by renowned institutions around the globe state in unison that idli is one of the best breakfasts as naturally fermented rice & lentil batter is used in its preparation.

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 assorted (kadambam) vegetables & tubers. Kadamba sambar is popularly known as idi sambar (meaning pounded sambar) in Tirunelveli & Kanyakumari regions, as the spice powder was earlier prepared by pounding in a large stone mortar (ural) using a 3-feet long metal-tipped wooden pestle (ulakkai).

Tapioca Pearls Payasam

Indians usually celebrate every new beginning by distributing sweet boondi laddu, but we follow a tradition of serving sweet boondi to celebrate a new beginning in our family particularly when a new-born arrives home. Today I follow the same tradition and serve tapioca pearls payasam garnished with sweet boondhi (chickpea flour pearls) on this New Year.

Ketti Chutney

Idli with ketti chutney is a popular street food among bachelors who miss home-cooked food for their breakfast. Both my grandmothers prepared ketti chutney (meaning thick chutney) everyday but later we all switched to a quick watery chutney that does not require any tempering.

Classic Elixir

Chukku-malli kaapi is a traditional South Indian digestive elixir prepared using dried ginger & other spices, herbs and palm sugar. Since Indian medicine systems like Siddha or Ayurveda recommends to take fresh ginger in an empty stomach in the morning & dried ginger later in the day, we usually take fresh ginger juice or ginger…

Sodhi with Inji Pachadi

Sodhi is an exotic Sri Lankan curry prepared with lentils and vegetables stewed in coconut milk. Although sodhi is not a spicy curry, it has grown popular among the people living in & around Tirunelveli who usually enjoy spicy curries. Meals with sodhi served at the wedding feasts in our family is a lavish spread of creamy…

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 flour or wheat flour, whereas south Indians use green gram flour or black gram flour for making delicious laddu.

Thattai

Thattai (meaning flat disc) are inexorably delicious crackers prepared in our family for Deepavali. It is so astonishing to find 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…

Porivilangai

Porivilangai is a traditional sweet made of pan-roasted rice & palm jaggery. Our grandmother usually prepared these laddus for Deepavali and my aunts used to keep them for us till our visit during summer. In those days these flavorful porivilangai were made into hard-to-bite orange sized balls but now I have made them into small…

Adai Pradhaman

Although Navrathri in south India is synonymous with savoury sundal, traditionally sweet payasam is also offered for neivedhyam during Navarathri. I prepared adai pradhaman, a creamy delicious dessert popular in Kerala & southern Tamilnadu. In Kerala onam sadhya menu is incomplete without adai pradhaman. I still remember the delicious adai pradhaman prepared by my aunt…

Modhagam

This is my first post in the second year of blogging. On this first anniversary I thank WordPress team for their fantastic support, readers & fellow bloggers for their amazing encouragement and my family, relatives & friends for their kind cooperation, invaluable assistance & honest reviews. I also thank Lord Ganesh by posting the most…

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 & prosperity celebrated in south India for over 500 years. It was mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature, Paripadal, written in the 14th century about the celebration of this festival. I like to quote a few lines from Paripadal so that we could comprehend how aadiperukku was celebrated in…

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 grandfather always preferred to carry puliyodharai while traveling in bullock cart for all their family trips. Puliyodharai served to devotees in temples is one of…

Sweet Pongal

Preparing Sweet Pongal used to be a difficult task for me when I started cooking, it took really a long time for me to meet my expectation of making sakkarai pongal similar to the one served in temples. So here is my recipe that I learnt after several futile attempts: Time Taken: 40 min Serves:…

Chitrannam

Chitrannam is a platter of different rice varieties usually prepared on the Aadiperukku day, ie. the 18th day of Aadi month in the Tamil calendar. It is believed that whatever we do on that day would grow manifold, so farmers used to sow their seeds expecting a good yield. It is also believed to be…

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 could feel the coarse grits inside my mouth, and hence I do not like to use the finely powdered store-bought idli podi. We use roasted rice for its sandy texture, roasted asafoetida & raw garlic…

Ayurvedic Lemonade

Panakam is a traditional ayurvedic lemonade offered to deities at home on the day of Sashti observed by Saivites and also on the day of Rama Navami celebrated by Vaishnavites. Rama navami is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Rama and Kandha Sashti Viratham is observed for 7 days after Deepavali, apart from the regular…

Buttermilk & Lassi

Spicy buttermilk is a traditional south Indian drink usually served after taking heavy meal to improve the digestion. Buttermilk with jeera powder or chaat masala is popular in other parts of India. Lassi is a sweetened flavored creamier buttermilk served chilled as dessert in India. Generally buttermilk is kept in earthenware (mud pots) few hours…

Indian Popsicles

I remember my childhood days indulging in ice pops (Popsicle) every summer vacation. Nowadays those ice pops are replaced by ice cream and we all really miss them so much. So here are the recipes for those forgotten ice pops that are truly Indian! I have prepared our childhood favorite ice popsicles namely kulfi ice,…

Blackgram Rice with Sesame Chutney

Ulundham Paruppu Sadham (Black gram rice) is a unique rice prepared by people in Tirunelveli, a southern town of Tamilnadu. Sesame chutney is similar to Mediterranean Tahini sauce and is an essential side served with black gram rice. We usually serve this nutritious meal to young girls during their cycle every month. Although we prepare this meal specially…

Pounded Palmyra Sprout

Panang kizhangu (Palmyra sprout) is popular among south Indians & Sri Lankans. We usually steam the palmyra sprouts, pound them when dried, and relish the pounded palmyra sprout as a savory snack. Sri Lankans boil these sprouts, dry them, make into a flour and use the flour to make sweet puttu, koozh or add into…

Sweet Poha

Aval puttu is a traditional sweet prepared using the beaten rice mainly for Chithirai Vishu (Tamil New Year). Beaten rice or rice flakes are easily digestible as the gluten in rice is reduced to a large extent. Aval puttu can be offered to deities as neivedyam during festivals and served as prasadam particularly during Navarathri….

Savory Doughnuts

Ulundha vadai (medhu vadai) is a gluten-free South Indian savoury doughnut prepared using black lentils (urad dal). Any feast or festival in our family is incomplete without making soft ulundha vadai with crispy golden skin. Vadai is a commonly prepared evening snacks in our family particularly during monsoon, and it is usually served with hot…

Pigeon Peas and Rice

Thuvaram paruppu sadham (rice with split pigeon peas) is a traditional flavorful one-pot meal popular in Tirunelveli. I usually prepare our favorite thuvaram paruppu sadam for lunch on a lazy weekend as it does not require much of a planning. Besides I can serve this rice simply as a meal along with appalam or papadam (sun-dried…

Shallot Chutney

Chinna vengaya chutney is a spicy tasty healthy traditional chutney mainly prepared for young girls & pregnant women. Health Benefits: Shallots contain flavonoids that have powerful antioxidant properties; shallots also useful for improving emotional health & heart health. Other ingredients in this chutney are curry leaves & black grams; curry leaves are rich sources of…

Mango Jam

Maangai pachadi is a sweet sour & spicy mango jam prepared usually on Tamil New Year day. It is a delicious side dish for rice served with any kuzhambu or rasam; it can also be served as a side for ulutham paruppu sadam. Health benefits of mangoes: Mangoes contain dietary fiber, vitamin A & vitamin…

Banana Flower Patties

Vazhaipoo Vadai or banana flower patties are delectable patties with crispy skin and soft flesh. Banana flowers can be included into our diet in the forms of patties (vadai), stir-fry (poriyal), coconut curry (kootu), lentil crumble (paruppu usili), soup & salad. Banana flower patties are gluten-free snacks prepared using banana flowers & yellow peas.

Tamarind Curry

Puli Kuzhambu or Tamarind Curry is a traditional south Indian curry prepared using garlic & shallots. We can enjoy its taste to the fullest only when the flavors of all the spices are completely infused into the curry. So this curry can be used for 2 or 3 days without being refrigerated (used for 15…

Ebony Sweetmeat

Ulundhangkali is a soft silky ebony sweetmeat usually prepared for girls & women as it helps to strengthen the uterus & hip bones. It is a traditional south Indian delicacy mainly served to young girls (during their cycles particularly in their first cycle) and also to pregnant women.

Coriander Seeds Chutney

Coriander seeds chutney is very effective in alleviating morning sickness for pregnant women. It can be served as a dip for chips, papads or crackers, a spread for sandwich, or a side for idli, dosa, variety rice & millet porridge (kanji or koozh). You can also make this chutney in large quantity and refrigerate for…

Simple Curd Rice

Curd rice is a simple traditional probiotic meal. I make sure to serve curd rice to my family particularly when someone takes a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics kills both good & bad bacteria and probiotics helps to replace good bacteria. So taking curd or curd rice during a course of antibiotics will help to keep…

Simply Delicious Meal

Paruppu sadham with karunai kizhangu masiyal & elumitchai rasam is a simply delicious meal that can be prepared easily when we feel lazy. Surprisingly everyone in our family enjoys this meal and they also ask me to repeat the same soon. Please click on the images below for their recipes.         Serving…

Grandma’s One-pot Meal

Kootanchoru is a traditional one-pot meal prepared for lunch by my maternal grandmother at our family gatherings especially in the summer vacation every year. She used to prepare this flavorful rice dish with locally grown vegetables like drumsticks, drumstick leaves, raw banana, raw mango, jackfruit seeds, etc. and she served us kootan-choru with home-made fried…

Ginger Drink

We used to take ginger drink in an empty stomach especially on the day when we return to work after a long travel; it keeps us fresh & active throughout the day. It also helps in ease of digestion. First we have to extract ginger juice before preparing Ginger Drink as below: Ingredients :  Ginger…

Golden Milk with Pepper

I remember drinking Golden Milk for the first time when I was about 5 years old. I was woken up from sleep by mother, she held a glass of golden milk near my mouth and made me to empty the glass. Although I was feeling drowsy, I still remember sweet ‘n’ spicy warm milk soothing…

Breakfast with Eggplant Gothsu

Eggplant (brinjal) gothsu is one of our favourite accompaniments for idli & dosa and I usually prepare this for breakfasts on Sundays. It is a very unique gothsu prepared by people living in Tirunelveli and is called as kathrikai kichadi. We also make gothsu using yellow pumpkin (poosani) and ridge gourd (peerkangai), you may find the…

Ginger Jam

Ginger jam is a digestive jam usually prepared during Deepavali. A teaspoon of ginger jam taken in the morning in an empty stomach helps improve the digestion mainly when we enjoyed a sumptuous feast in the previous day. It is also beneficial to children to increase their appetite.

Kara Adai

Adai (mixed lentils crepe) is a traditional protein-rich dosa prepared using rice and assorted lentils. Adai may be prepared crispy liked by children or soft for elders and served for breakfast or dinner. Adai tastes best when served with  mor-kuzhambu,or avial, but we can simply serve adai with idli podi, coconut chutney, or sugar. When adai is served…

Avial

Any lunch meal in South India is incomplete without aviyal (Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Gravy). Most of the traditional Indian recipes use assorted grains, pulses, vegetables, or fruits. Nowadays nutritionists recommend to include variety of  vegetables/ pulses/ grains/ fruits in our diet as it prevents vitamin & mineral deficiency; hence it is a good practice to…

Meals with No-tamarind Curry

Meals with no-tamarind curry is one of the traditional meals that we all relished as children. My mother used to prepare healthy yet delicious meal with home-grown vegetables. I still remember our house filled with mixed flavors of coconut oil, fresh vegetables & spices while preparing this flavorful meal.  In those days we never said…

Drumstick Leaves Sambar

Drumstick leaves (murungai keerai) sambar is a flavorful nutritious curry prepared without tamarind and hence it is popularly known as puli illa curry (no-tamarind curry) in Tirunelveli. It is usually served with rice, any poriyal or aviyal & roasted appalam. Health Benefits: Drumstick leaves are rich sources of iron. If this curry is taken frequently by…

Coconut Chutney

Coconut chutney is the most commonly prepared condiment in every South Indian household. It is usually prepared with fresh coconut meat & chillies (green or red chillies), but some like to add ginger for the pungent flavor, roasted Bengal gram (pottu kadalai) for adding volume, tamarind/ curd for the tangy flavor and/or cashew nuts for…

Millet Porridge

Millet porridge is one of the best breakfasts that can be taken on a scorching sunny day during  summer as it keeps us cool & energetic all through the day. It is so filling that we don’t require to take anything till the lunch. The millet I used here is a flavorful protein-rich pearl millet…