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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

AZHAGAR DOSAI / AZHAGAR KOVIL DOSAI

Azhagar Dosai, Azhagar Kovil Dosai

A 'KRISHNA PRASADAM' for Aathu Perumal on my Blog Anniversary! Yes, my blog is 7 years old and stepping into the 8th year and nearing 26 lakh hits. Thanks to all for your support.

The famous ‘Azhagar Kovil’ or ‘Thirumaliruncholai’, also named as ‘Sri Kallazhagar Perumal Temple’ is located in the outskirts of city Madurai in Tamilnadu. The temple is on the foot hills (Malai adivaaram) of 'Azhagar Malai'. The atmosphere of this temple is so beautiful with cool breeze, surrounded by mountains, thick groves, dense forests, and waterfalls. It is also one of the 108 Divya Desam Temples.The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Kallazhagar (Lord Vishnu). He is Goddess Meenakshi's brother. The Lord is "Sundararajar" popularly known as "Kallazhagar". "Kallar" in tamil means thief. The Perumal is called with this name because He steals His devotees heart by His beauty (Azhagar). He protects all His bhaktas from all evil. The Pushkarani (Temple tank) of Sri Kallazhagar Perumal Temple is called 'Noopuragangai'. This spring is believed to have originated from the anklet of Vishnu. 

As I said earlier, I have been fascinated by the exclusive prasadams in Vaishnavite temples. And in 'Azhagar Kovil', the pride goes to "Azhagar Kovil Dosai". I needed an authentic recipe for this prasadam. I got this recipe from a 'Kainkaryaparar' (one who serves the Lord) of the temple.The 'Kainkaryaparar' says, "Azhagar Perumal takes care of Himself and His needs and there is nothing as a man does something for HIM". The spring is said to have medicinal values, and taking bath in this cures many diseases. Water for temple usage, such as 'Tirumanjanam', 'Thaligai' etc. is only from this spring. He also says, "It is because of this water the temple prasadams have a distinctive taste". Unlike other temples, this dosai is cooked in a "Panchaloha" (Aiympon) tawa, a special utensil  ('Thirumeni of Perumal' is also made of the same Panchaloha) which is a giant-sized dosa pan, shaped as an 'Adai Madakku' measuring around 2 feet in diameter and 3" height. 'Azhagar Dosai' is cooked and deep fried only in ghee. No oil is used for prasadams. The batter for 'Azhagar dosai' is prepared in the morning and offered to Perumal in the evening. After the offering (Neivedhyam), the dosai is torn to pieces and distributed alongwith vadai and  karuppu kondakkadalai sundal to the 'Goshti' (a set of people who sing hymns). This prasadam is called "dosai podi". Only one dosai is prepared a day. However, during festivals, many will be in the 'Goshti', so dosai is prepared according to the need in distributing to the 'Goshti'. This dosai which is almost 1 1/2 feet in diameter and 2" thick, never goes to the prasadam counter. Small sized dosas are prepared and sold to the bhakthas who come to the temple, which is NOT from the Madapalli. 

An extra bit of information which I read few months ago, Dosai is said to be one among the 4 appams told in ancient tamil literature, and the shape which we make came into existence much later. This temple is  known for its antiquity and the azhagar dosai looks more like an appam.

Azhagar Dosai, Azhagar Kovil Dosai

Coming to the recipe (Source:Azhagarkovil), the measurements were given in 'padi' and I am posting in cups for easy reference and preparation.  

Par boiled rice is NOT used in the 'Thirumadapalli' of temples. All temple prasadams are made with raw rice only. Ghee, Pepper and Jeera are used generously. 

NOTE: This dosai will NOT be soft as the regular dosa. As all Perumal kovil dosais are made with raw rice, these will mostly be thick and hard to swallow. When made thick, this dosai is crispy outside and soft and grainy inside and also tastes good. 

INGREDIENTS:

Raw rice - 1 cup
Black whole urad dhal - 1 cup
Pepper Jeera powder - 3 tablespoons (Coarsely ground)
Curry leaves - few
Salt - to taste
Ghee - to deep fry

Azhagar Dosai, Azhagar Kovil Dosai

This is a deep fried home style Azhagar dosai. The original recipe calls in for ghee to deep fry, but I deep fried in oil.
  
Azhagar Dosai, Azhagar Kovil Dosai

METHOD:

Wash and soak rice  in water for 2 hours, drain the water completely and dry in a cloth.  Wash black urad dhal and soak for 4 hours. Grind it with skin to a smooth, thick batter. Coarsely grind pepper and jeera and keep aside.

When rice is dry, powder it into fine flour and combine with the urad dhal batter. If the rice flour is not fine, you can sieve it. Add chopped curry leaves, pepper-jeera powder and salt. Mix well. Allow it to stand for a couple of hours. Its fine if you allow it to stand for 4 to 6 hours.

Heat an adai madakku, fill it up with ghee, pour the batter and spread into circles thicker (1/2" thick) than the regular dosas. Flip and deep fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot.


Below is the low calorie version of home style Azhagar dosai, compared to the above, but with generous oil. Same method as above, spread in a tawa and drizzle generous oil on all sides. You can also spread as regular dosa. 

Azhagar Dosai, Azhagar Kovil Dosai

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. 
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