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…

Advertisements

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…

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,…

Poomparuppu Sundal

Lord Ganesha is worshiped 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. I also like to start my day by listening to the hymn,…

Indian Beetroot Relish

I feel sad that children today are not able to savor our traditional beetroot relish as we did during our childhood days. It was a delightful experience for the kids to relish the beautiful reddish-purple beetroot puree infused with delicious flavors of native fruits served in the wedding feasts. Beetroot sweet pachadi, the most popular…

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 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…

Neem flower rasam

As a child I hated few things imposed by my grandparents during our visit every summer. It was disgusting to find all our clothes reeked of bitter neem oil as they were washed using neem detergents. We also disliked to gobble up extremely bitter balls made of neem leaves paste forcibly given by our grandmother….

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…

Appala Kootu

Appalam making is a leading cottage industry prevalent in my maternal grandfather’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 run…

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).

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…

Omam Kuzhambu

Generally I prepare omam kuzhambu when we return home from a vacation, or after attending a wedding ceremony for few days. I make omam kuzhambu and serve with hot steaming rice & roasted papad (sutta appalam), when we crave for a home-cooked food that soothes our stomach. Health Benefits: Omam (ajwain / carom seeds /…

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…

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…

Fried Chickpeas

Nei kadalai is one of my favorite snacks popular in Tirunelveli, Madurai and other surrounding places. It brings me back fond memories associated with this delicious savory during my childhood days. I still cherish those happy days with my father who used to bring nei kadalai and Tirunelveli halwa whenever he visited me as our…

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…

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…

Yogurt Curry

Morkulambu is a traditional South Indian curry prepared using sour curd. Since sour curd is enriched with probiotic organism, morkluzhambu is not only delicious but also nutritious, and it can be served to everyone young or old. Usually morkulambu is served with plain rice or rice with mashed greens (kadaintha keerai). Now the recipe for vendakkai…

Shallot Chutney

Chinna vengaya (shallots) chutney is a traditional chutney mainly prepared for young girls & pregnant women in our family. Shallots contain flavonoids that have powerful antioxidant properties, and they are also useful for improving emotional health & heart health. Other ingredients in this chutney are curry leaves & black grams; curry leaves are rich sources…

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.

Chayote Delight

Chow-chow kootu is a South Indian curry prepared with lentils & coconut masala. Chow-chow kootu is my husband’s favorite kootu and hence I prepare this dish quite often. It goes well any kuzhambu or rasam except morkuzhambu. Health benefits of chayote: It is recommended for women to include chayote in their diet before and during…

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…

Roasted Chickpeas Chutney

Udaitha kadalai (pottu kadalai) thuvaiyal is an easy to prepare thuvaiyal. It tastes divine when served with curd rice, puliyodarai (tamarind rice), lemon rice, or can be enjoyed by simply mixing with hot rice & sesame oil as well. Roasted chickpeas (Bengal grams) are rich in protein and has low glycemic index; you can just…

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal (spicy mashed yam) is a perfect side dish for paruppu sadam and it is liked by kids for the spicy tangy flavor. Yam masiyal also goes well with sambar sadam, rasam sadam, kuzhambu sadam, or thayir sadam. mashed yam may be used as an accompaniment for chappathi and also used as a…

Lemon Rasam

Lemon Rasam is a soup prepared in almost every South Indian household. It can be served with hot rice and it tastes delicious when served as a soup during winter. Cooking Time : 15 min Yields : 500 ml Ingredients: For Rasam Powder: Cumin seeds (jeeragam) – 1 tsp Pepper (milagu) – 1 tsp Coriander…

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…

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.

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…

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…

Drumstick Leaves Idli

Drumstick leaves idli or murungai keerai idli is a nutritious breakfast perfect for energetic children, dynamic professionals and busy women, as moringa leaves contain all the nutrients required for active mind & body. These keerai idli are also good for weight-watchers as they are so filling that they could very well reduce the intake of…

Rava Upma with Fresh Peas

Since rava upma is the easiest meal to prepare, it is being served often for breakfast or dinner in most of the south Indian families. Hence people esp. children get bored of taking rava upma, but we can make it interesting, healthier & tastier just by adding a handful of fresh green peas. Rava upma…