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Saturday, January 12, 2019

My ebook - "Pongal, Bhogi, Kanu - A complete festival cooking guide."

It is my pleasure and pride to announce the publication of my first e-Book - "Pongal, Bhogi, Kanu - A complete festival cooking guide." 


Born into a family steeped in tradition and culture, I began cooking at a fairly young age. I am particularly passionate about food that celebrates the spirit of a festival. A few years ago, my son suggested I do something more with my love for cooking. At his insistence, I started a blog and, over time, I began to write about the connection between traditional dishes and festivals. As my readers increased, I realised there were many out there who were interested in adopting these dishes, especially those who had become disconnected from their culture. This book is dedicated to them, and future generations who would want to stay in touch with their roots and culture, and understand the stories behind why these dishes exist. Here, I have focussed on the series of harvest festival of Pongal, including the significance of each ofBhogi, Pongal and Kanu, how these festivals are to be celebrated, menu for each of these festivals, and recipes associated with it. 
Download links :

Happy reading, and cooking!
Happy Bhogi, Pongal and Kanu!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Complete guide - BHOGI, PONGAL & KANU (Updated)

My first blog post for 2019 is an updated festival guide for Pongal festivities. I'm trying to adopt a new format for complete festival guide. Hope you like it!

(Recipe links are at end of this post)

Pongal festival is celebrated as part of 3 day harvest festival in Tamil Nadu. It marks the end of tamil month of Marghazi and the beginning of tamil month of Thai. The 3 day festival is for family unity. Families get together - pray, eat and enjoy the the festivities during pongal week starting with Bhogi  followed by Pongal concluding in Kanu (also known as Maatu Pongal - the Jallikattu day )

Farmers pray to Indra and Surya (sun god) for rain and bountiful yield.

Bhogi is celebrated on the last day of tamil month of Marghazi. Its the day where we get rid of the old and unwanted items (think spring cleaning) in the house. It also symbolizes that we shed the unwanted thoughts from our minds. 

Pongal (Thai Pongal) is also called Makara Sankaranthi, since it is celebrated on the first day of the tamil month Thai when the Sun enters the Makara Rasi. This period is referred to as Uttarayana Punyakalam (start of sun's 6 month journey northwards) and is considered auspicious. Lord Surya (The Sun God) is worshipped on the Pongal day.  So, our elders make a kootu with all vegetables and pray for family unity.

Kanu is the 3rd day of festivities during the pongal week. This falls on the Maattu pongal day. This day is an important festival for the unity of brothers and sisters. Sisters pray for the welfare of their brothers. Gifts are exchanged as a mark of their unity. Cattle are decorated and jallikattu race is conducted all over Tamil Nadu.

Neivedhyam at our home

When festivities begin?


Bhogi - Day before Pongal
Pongal - Jan 14 or Jan 15 (1st day of tamil month Thai)
Kanu/Maatu Pongal - Day after Pongal

Festival Guide 

Before Bhogi


Harvest turmeric 

Turmeric Plant from our backyard

Turmeric Root harvested from the plant
The houses are cleaned up , painted and kolams are drawn in the frontyard
Kolam from our home in coimbatore

Bhogi


Bholi / Poli is a must on the day of Bhogi along with General Pandigai Menu. In our house, Kadala Paruupu bonda is also made.

In Tamil Nadu, a simple ceremony - "Kaapu Kattu" is performed in all homes on Bhogi day. Neem leaves, mango leaves and Poolai Poo are tied together and kept along the walls around the house to eliminate evil forces.

Poolai Poo plant in my mom's home

Pongal


Things to be arranged before Pongal: 


KOLAM IN THE FRONTYARD

This Kolam was drawn by my friend, Radhika.

The "pongal panai" is to be decorated with "Tiruman, Srichoornam" and fresh turmeric harvested, a piece of sugarcane, flowers and plantain, tied to a rope.

Pongal Paanai (also known as Vengala Paanai)

Neivedhyam

Pongal Menu

We are not supposed to grind in traditional "ammi" and "kallural"(mortar and pestle), not asked for the reasons though.
Sarkarai (sweet) pongal(made in vengala panai), VennpongalSankaranthi Kootu, Pongal kuzhambu along with general pandigai menu.

Kanu


Things to arranged before Kanu
  • Kolam on the front yard
  • A piece of fresh turmeric
  • Prepare red rice and yellow rice with leftover rice, using turmeric and kumkum.
  • Left over sweet pongal 
  • Left over curd rice
  • A kolam on the terrace
  • Turmeric leaves
  • Tamboolam
  • Sugarcane bits
  • Arathi with turmeric powder and chunam


Practices followed on Kanu Day


In the early morning, fresh turmeric is marked on the forehead of ladies and unmarried girls, by the gents and elders seeking their blessings for "sowmangalyam" and "to get a good husband" respectively.

Red rice and yellow rice are prepared using turmeric and kumkum. The turmeric leaves are arranged on a kolam on the terrace and "pidis" (small balls) made out of the leftover sarkarai pongal and curd rice of the previous day + red rice and yellow rice are arranged on the leaves chanting 
"KAAKKAA PIDI VECHAEN, KANU PIDI VECHAEN, KAAKKAIKKUM KURUVIKKUM KALYANAM, KAAKAA KOOTAM KALANJALUM, ENGA KOOTTAM KALAYAAMA IRUKKANUM''
(Meaning: everyone in the family should be united) 

and it is offered along with the tamboolam and sugarcane to the crows and Sun God. Finally, arati is performed with turmeric water and limestone (praying for the wellness of brothers) and this water is poured on the kolam in front of the house.


Neivedhyam for Kanu pandigai:

RASAM IS NOT MADE ON THIS DAY.
Variety rice(i.e.) Coconut Rice, Lemon Rice, Puliyodharai, Curd rice, Payasam and Aviyal are made alongwith poricha appalam or Vadaam.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Spicy mixture


diwali,spicy,mixture,spicy-mixture

Diwali is not complete without making mixture. Here is an easy recipe of mixture which can be done in minutes. Even novice cooks can make this with ease.

INGREDIENTS:

Thick aval (poha) - 4 cups

Oma podi - 2 cups (crushed roughly)
Roasted peanuts - 2 tablespoons

Roasted gram (Pottukadalai) - 2 tablespoons
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Curry leaves - a sprig
Salt - to taste
Ghee - 1 tablespoon 

Oil - to deep fry

METHOD:

Sieve aval without any sand. Heat oil in a kadai and make Oma podi as said here. Keep aside. In the same oil, deep fry aval. Aval puffs immediately. Fry little aval at a time. Remove aval and put it in a broad bowl. Add little salt and mix gently. Crush Oma podi slightly and add to the fried aval.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add peanuts and fry until golden. Again add a spoon of ghee and fry pottukadalai until crisp. Add curry leaves and roast a bit. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and hing. Give a quick saute and add these to the fried aval, omapodi mixture. Mix everything well but gently. Spicy and crispy mixture is ready. When cool, store in an airtight container.


NOTE:
Generally, peanuts and pottukadalai are also deep fried in oil. Using ghee enhances the flavour.

 
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