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Monday, February 9, 2009


The "Iyengar paribhashai(terminology)" for food is different from other related cookery terms.
Samayal is "Thaligai".
In general, the term "Amudhu" (Amirtham or Nectar) is added after all basic dishes.
Iyengars add "Tiru" (meaning auspicious or sacred), to all words. In tamil, kitchen is "madapalli" . Iyengars, say it as "Tirumadapalli".
Generally for a pandigai, the menu is as under:
Sadham(rice), Nei(ghee), paruppu, mor kozhambu, Paruppu kozhambu(Sambhar) , paruppu usili, kari amudhu(poriyal), kootu, thayirpachadi, kosumari, vadaam or appalam, vadai or thayir vadai, saatru amudhu(Rasam), Tirukannan amudhu(payasam), thayir (curd),oorugaai(pickle). Coloquially, it is said as sathumudhu, karamudhu and kannamudhu.
In addition, to this, puliyodharai, vennpongal, karaasevu or mixture is also served. Various terminologies are as under:

* Payasam - Tirukannamudhu.
* Rasam - Sathamudhu(Saatramudhu).
* Kesari - Jeera.
* Tamarind rice - Puliyodharai.
* Curd rice - Dhadhiyonnam.
* Vadai - Tiruppaniyaram.
* Cooked rice - Prasadham.
* Water - Theertham
* Curry(Poriyal) - Kariamudhu

The special dishes of "Iyengar Cuisine" includes Puliyodharai, Kadamba saadham, Kadambam(different from kadamba sadham), Veppampoo sathumudhu, Kandathippili sathumudhu, Vathal, Vadaam, Maavadu, Molagu sathumudhu, Angaya podi, Mendhiya kozhambu, Paruppu thogayal, Nellikai pachadi and Aathikeerai karamudhu for "Dwadasi", Akkara adisil(akkaravadisal), Thayir vadai, vazhukku kozhakattai, Ela vadaam, Paal kootu, Mor kootu, thirattupaal, naartha elai podi and so on. The list is endless.

Iyengars are good eaters and good hosts too. Elders say "Not to make noise with the ladles and vessels while serving" as the people who eat may feel there is less food. The elders train the youngsters with hospitality.

The diet is also well balanced. On Ekadasi, it is fasting and on Dwadasi day, the menu will be medicated without triggering the acidity. Tamarind is not used on Dwadashi and the "paaranai thaligai" is Mor Kozhambu, Poricha sathumudhu, Aathikeerai karamudhu, nellikkai thayir pachadi and so on. Generally, the diet is complete only with thayir sadham, which has a cooling effect on stomach. Delicious satvik and vegetarian recipes sans onion and garlic can be read in my other blog IYENGAR CUISINE, which is linked here.

More terminologies can be read here


  1. It is very enlightening to read your explanations between Iyer and Iyengar terminology - and their cooking .
    For me despite having half-Iyer background I grew up in the north and so many things were never heard /seen.
    Now with inter-net but sitting beyond the 7 seas I find I am learning so much !!!
    Thank you for your patience and talents .
    Strangely I find that we have more Iyengar friends than Iyer.And they are fine friends !!!

  2. HI Can you also please let me know the terms used for

    Kootu --- Is it Negizh Kariamudhu?


    Thayir pachidi


  3. Enakku therinju andha terms ellam adheydhaan. Please let me know if you come across any authentic terms of that. Adhu seri, En anonymous comment vidareenga? Perai podalaame?

  4. thayir sadham la ithanai variety-aa .. besh besh...

  5. K.G. NARASIMHANSunday, March 20, 2011

    Thavala dosai vittutele maami...uppuma kozhukattai, killu molaga saathamudhu...sundakkai podi (adhuvum nellika pachadikku jora irukkum)...

    neenga pramadhama solliteengo...irundhalum oru kosuru...avvalo than

  6. I am going to try ur avakkai. I am also an iyengar married to an iyer. -priya

  7. nekizh karamadhu is kuzhambhu/sambar
    there is also one thalarakaramadhu

  8. Can I please get access to your cooking blog ? It says this is restricted to invited readers only . I am an iyengar as well

  9. May I please have access to your blog

  10. Shall I access to ur blog please

  11. Please give me access to your blog. Thanks


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