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…

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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

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…

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, “we are…

Fermented rice

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 meal followed…

Cottonseed milk dessert

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

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…

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. First let us…

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…

Tapioca Pearls Payasam

Indians usually celebrate a new beginning by distributing sweet boondi laddu, but in our family we celebrate by serving sweet boondi 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! Health benefits of cooked tapioca pearls:   Tapioca…

Ketti Chutney

Idli with ketti chutney is a popular street food among bachelors who miss home-cooked food for their breakfast. Both my grand mothers prepared ketti chutney everyday but later we all switched to a quick chutney that does not require any tempering. It is so heavenly to take spongy idli or dosa served with spicy coconut…

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…

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…

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. Today I 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 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…

Sweet Pongal

Preparing Sweet Pongal used to be a difficult task for me when I started cooking, it took really a long time to meet my expectation (similar to the one that served in temples!). So here is my recipe that I learnt after several futile attempts; please note that the important steps that help perfecting it…

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 do not like to use store-bought idli podi as it is finely powdered; I find idli podi satisfying only when I feel the coarse grits on my tongue. We use roasted rice for its sandy texture; roasted asafoetida & raw garlic for…

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….

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…