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Thursday, February 4, 2016

MANJA PONGAL / MANJAL PONGAL

Manja pongal for aadi velli, Manjal pongal for thai velli

This pongal is a Prasadam / Neivedhyam prepared on Thai velli kizhamai and Aadi vellikizhamai.  Married girls from the home are invited for lunch on thai and aadi fridays and this pongal is served first. Some people prepare it mushy as vennpongal, but in our home, we make like normal rice and mix it with a dollop of ghee and kuzhambu.

INGREDIENTS:

Raw rice - 1 cup
Toor dhal - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp.
 
Hing - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Water - 3 cups
Ghee - as needed

METHOD:

Pressure cook rice and toor dal alongwith turmeric powder, hing and salt for 3 whistles, simmer for 2-3 minutes. When pressure is released, take out from the cooker, 
transfer to a serving bowl. Top it with ghee while serving.  Serve hot with kuzhambu.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

POOSHANIKKAI KARAMUDHU (MUTT STYLE) / ASHGOURD STIR FRY (MUTT STYLE)

Mutt style pooshanikkai karamudhu

Few years ago, 'Srimad Andavan' visited Coimbatore. With the grace and blessings of our 'Acharyan' we got the opportunity for offering one day 'Thatheeyaradhanai' (prasadam/lunch) to all the devotees.  It was on this day, I tasted this karamudhu (curry) for the first time. It tasted very good. I never thought we can make a dry curry with ashgourd until I had this in 'Andavan Ashramam'. Usually, I make only koottu and sambar with ashgourd (vellai pooshani).  After trying this at home, I became a great fan of this karamudhu. These type of curries are called 'samaan podi karamudhu' or 'podi idicha karamudhu' in 'iyengar thaligai'. If you are bored of pooshanikkai koottu and sambhar, do try this simple curry.

INGREDIENTS:

Ash gourd (vellai pooshanikkai) - 1/2 kg.
Oil - 2 tablespoons
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Red chillies - 2
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Mel podi - 2 tablespoons
Grated coconut (optional) - 2 tablespoons 

For Mel podi:
Dry roast and powder:
Pepper - 1/8 tsp
Dry red chillies - 2
Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons
Chenna dal - 1 tsp
Methi seeds - ¼ tsp.
METHOD:

Cut ashgourd into cubes. Discard the skin and seeds.

Heat a spoon of oil in a pan and dry roast the ingredients given in 'Dry roast and powder', until golden brown, powder coarsely and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard seeds, urad dhal and red chillies. When golden brown, add hing, turmeric powder, curry leaves and cubed ashgourd.. Add salt, saute well and cover with a lid.  Cook until done. It should be crunchy, not mushy. When done, add the 'Mel podi'. Mix well. Saute for 2 more minutes. Mutt style pooshanikkai karamudhu is ready. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

A COMPLETE GUIDE ON PUTHUKKU PAAL - SNAKE WORSHIP

Puthukku paal

Tamil calendar and Tamil Panchangam are followed by the people of tamil community world wide, especially for traditional festivals and religious events. ‘Thai month’ is the 10th month in the tamil calendar. The most auspicious days and festivals in the month are Pongal festival, Maattu Pongal, Kaanum Pongal, Thai Amavasai and Thaipoosam. It is a tradition in some families to light the Maavilakku on Fridays of Aadi and Thai months of the Tamil calendar. People light the maavilakku, either in the temples or in their homes.

In tamil, Thai and Aadi Fridays are called ‘Thai vellikizhamai and Aadi vellikizhamai’ respectively and is considered auspicious. 


What is to be cooked at home?
General pandigai thaligai is made alongwith ‘Manja pongal’, a simple pongal with turmeric powder and tur dhal and is also offered to Goddesses alongwith a payasam, preferably arisi payasam. Thamboolam is given to ladies nearby.

What is puthukku paal theliththal?

'Puthukku paal theliththal' is a ritual/tradition followed in almost all tamil families. 

Puthukku paal and its significance: During the tamil months of Thai and Aadi, people also worship snakes. They visit temples where there are idols of serpents (called as Naagar), or offer milk to ant-hills, snake pits and pray for wealth and prosperity . It is believed that doing this pooja is a remedy for naga dosha. Friday is always auspicious for Hindus. On any one Friday of Thai and aadi month, people do pooja for ‘Naagar’ in nearby temples. The tradition of offering milk to snake idols or snake pits is called ‘puthukku paal theliththal’. Nowadays it is hard to find any snake pit , so the offering is made to snake idols in temples. Usually, ‘Naagars’ can be seen under the peepal tree in all temples. Anyone can do Pooja to this naagar.

This festival is generally observed by women , praying for the well being and long life of their husband and children. There is a belief that unmarried women who do the pooja will get good husband and childless couple will be blessed with a child. Though there is no hard and fast rules to worship snakes, elders of each family follow certain ways of pooja. There may be slight variations in the method of observing these rituals. I too observe this tradition at home on Thai and Aadi Fridays. This is a simple method of this ritual/tradition followed in our home. Those who do not have elders at home to guide can follow this.

PROCEDURE:

Take oil bath, wear madisar.

Items to be taken to the temple: Itemwise it may seem to be more, but all these things can be arranged neatly in one basket. I have numbered it for easy reference and memory.

1. Mostly water will be available in temples. If not take water in a bottle.
2. Sombu (for abishekam)
3. Panja pathram, uthrini OR tumbler and spoon (for doing naivedhyam)
4. Plates - 2
5. Hand towel
6. Kola maavu (Strictly rice flour)
7. Turmeric powder
8. Kumkum
9. Vethalai(betel leaves)
10. Paaku (Betelnut)
11. Manjal kizhangu
12. Flower
13. Plantain
14. Coconut -1
15. 1 rupee Coins - few
16. Agarbathi
17. Karpooram
18. Karpooram stand OR Ladle / small plate to light karpooram
19. Milk (put a teaspoon of rice and sliced plantains in milk)
20. Earthen lamp(agal), little oil and wick(thiri)
21. Matchbox
22. Scissors (to cut flowers)
23. Aarthi plate
24. Aarthi (mix little turmeric powder and chunam in water)
25. Kumkuma chimizh

HOW TO DO POOJA?

Sprinkle some water on the platform, wipe with hand and put a padi kolam.

Take a plate and arrange vethalai, paaku, manjal kizhangu, flower, plantain and coins and keep ready. This is for offering.

Take another plate and arrange the tamboolam for ladies.
Take little water in tumbler, put a spoon and keep ready for neivedhyam.

Light agal lamp and place near the idol.

Take water in sombu and perform abishekam to naagar.

Keep dots on head and tail of the naagar, first with turmeric powder and then with kumkum. Then keep flowers. Take out the rice and sliced plantains from milk and place it in the head of the naagar. (Some keep rice in the neivedhyam plate). Do abishekam with milk chanting as follows: 


“Naagaraaja, Sarparaaja, kaattile vaazhndhaalum veettile vaazhndhaalum, thalaiyaik kaattaamal vaalaik kaatti pO, kudumbathil ellaarayum rakshithu arulanum”.

Break the coconut and keep it in the vethalai paaku plate.

Light agarbathi and show it to the idol. Offer neivedhyam. Light camphor and do karpoora arathi. Pray for all in the family. Do pradakshinam two times. Take aarthi and pour down. Some temples may not allow to pour down the aarthi. So mix only very little water with turmeric powder and chunam and pour it in the kolam outside the temple. Take a set of tamboolam and keep it near the idol. Some poor people who come to the temple may take it.

Give tamboolam to ladies who come to temple. Then go to the temple and have a darshan of the deity also. Give tamboolam to neighbourhood ladies.

Monday, January 18, 2016

'THIRUKOSHTIYUR' THIRUMAALAI CHAMBA

'THIRUKOSHTIYUR' THIRUMAALAI CHAMBA, TIRUMAALAI CHAMBA

Vaishnavite Temples have varieties of prasadams and I always wonder the unique taste of the prasadams. 'Thirumaalai chamba' is a prasadam made in 'Thirukoshtiyur' Divyadesam. This prasadam is made and offered to Sowmyanarayana Perumal every evening immediately after decorating Perumal with garlands. Few years ago, I came to know about this recipe from Preethi's blog. I was very much interested in knowing the history and details about the prasadam, when it is made etc. Recently I visited Thirukoshtiyur and I was having in mind to ask in the 'temple madappalli' (temple kitchen) about the prasadam, but forgot to ask. I felt very sad. Since then, I asked many people about it, but no one knew it. One of my FB friend told me to ask Vembu mama from Thirukoshtiyur. I asked him and in a few days, Vembu mama messaged me about the recipe and details. Both Preethi's and Vembu mama's recipes nearly matched. I was very happy and tried it at home with great interest and offered it to "Aathu Perumal". Thanks Preethi and Vembu mama. _/\_ _/\_ . 

If anyone knows such unique prasadam recipes of Perumal koil, please feel free to mail me about the history, details and recipe.

We can never replicate the divine taste of temple prasadams while making them in our home, but it turned out unique and tasty and it is definitely a divine feeling which cannot be expressed in words. Coming to the recipe,

INGREDIENTS:
Raw rice - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - lemon sized ball
Bitter gourd - 1 small
Raw banana - 1
Brinjal - 5
Cluster beans - fistful
Salt - to taste
Small urad dhal vadais - 10
Black pepper - Dry roasted and powdered - 3 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds - Dry roasted and powdered - 2 tsp.

To temper:
Oil - 2 tablespoons
Ghee - 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
 

'THIRUKOSHTIYUR' THIRUMAALAI CHAMBA,PERUMAL KOIL PRASADAM

METHOD: 

Pressure cook raw rice with 1 1/2 cups of water. Wash vegetables. Slice bittergourds, chop cluster beans to 1" long piece and other vegetables to chunks. Soak tamarind in a cup of water and extract juice.

Dry roast black pepper until it crackles, powder and keep aside.
Dry roast fenugreek seeds until golden brown, powder and keep aside.

Soak urad dhal for 45 minutes, drain water completely and grind it to a smooth batter, add salt and mix well. (Only salt is added to the batter and no other spices are added). Take out small balls and deep fry in oil until golden brown and keep it ready.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil and ghee, temper with the items given in "to temper". Add the chopped vegetables, add salt, saute well. Add tamarind extract and allow it to boil until the raw smell is diffused. The vegetables should not be overcooked. Now add urad dhal vadais(bondas) and black pepper powder and allow it to boil for 2 minutes. Mash the cooked rice VERY SLIGHTLY,(should not become mushy) and add to it. Add little salt for the rice and mix well. Add little more water if necessary. The prasadam should not be too watery or too dry. Now add the fenugreek powder, mix well and stir for a minute.

'Thirumaalai chamba' is ready. Offer it to Perumal and partake the prasadam.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

KADALAIPARUPPU BONDA / CHENNA DHAL BONDA

KADALAIPARUPPU BONDA, CHENNA DHAL BONDA

This is a traditional recipe made in our family. My MIL makes this bonda for Bhogi. Alongwith with this, general pandigai recipes and Poli is also made.  As tomorrow is Bhogi, I thought of posting this kadalaiparuppu bonda recipe made in our home. Bhogi,Pongal and Kanu recipes and complete guide to celebrate pongal festivals can be seen in the header. Happy Pongal!

INGREDIENTS:

Gram dhal (Kadalaiparuppu)- 1 1/2 cup
Raw rice - 2 tablespoons
Dry red chillies - 4

Ginger - 1/2" piece
Green chilly - 1 (finely chopped)

Curry leaves - 2 sprigs (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves - fistful (finely chopped)
Hing - a generous pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - to deep fry
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup (optional)

METHOD:

Soak kadalaiparuppu (chenna dhal) and rice for 2 hours.


Drain the water completely and grind with red chillies, salt and ginger to a coarse paste by just sprinkling water. Now, add the chopped green chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves and hing and mix well. You can also add the scraped coconut, if you wish.

Heat oil in a kadai, take out small balls from the ground paste, drop in gently into the oil and deep fry until golden brown. Ensure medium heat.  Serve hot. 

Note: Do not refrigerate the batter after adding coconut. You can also grind green chilies instead of chopping.