CHENNAI: Intricately patterned kolams on the doorways of houses, new clothes for newly-weds, tributes to water, nature and its life-sustaining properties, recital of Andal’s Thiruppavai, and offerings to goddesses. As fervour and observances continue to mark the fourth month of the Tamizh year, Aadi, historian Meenakshi Devaraj and blogger Angulakshmi Anguraj serve nine authentic recipes with a slice of history on the side.
Kandharappam by Angulakshmi Anguraj
Kandharappam is a traditional Chettinad snack named after Lord Murugan, also known as Kandhar or Kandhan, and is said to be His all-time favourite snack. It’s a dish made with common ingredients like raw rice, urad dal, jaggery, and grated coconut. This is done for Aadi Perukku and Thai Poosam. The Kandharappam is best had with karupatti kaapi.
Big raw rice: 200g
Urad dal: 1 tbsp
Grated coconut: 1 tbsp
Cardamom: 1 tsp
Salt: 3g (a pinch)
Jaggery crushed: 120g
Refined oil: 1/2 litre
Soak the raw rice and urad dal in water for 2 hours.
When poured into the frying pan, the batter should be semi-watery.
The batter will rest in the bottom. When it is halfway done, it will rise, at which point, flip the appam and fry.
Keep the amount of jaggery to a minimum so that you can fully appreciate the flavour.
Aadi kummayam by Meenakshi Devaraj
Aadi kummayam, a famous sweet in the Chettinad region is mostly made on Aadi Tuesdays or Aadi Fridays. The word kummayam in general refers to a boiled dish. References of kummayam can be found in inscriptions and early Tamil literature. From Periyazhvar’s pasuram, we understand that kummayam was one of Lord Krishna’s favourite dishes.
Urad dal: 1 cup
Yellow moong dal: 1/4 cup
Raw rice: little less than ¼ cup
Jaggery powder: 1 cup
Water: 2 ½ cup
Ghee: ½ cup
Dry-roast all the ingredients separately and grind them together to make the kummayam powder. Generally, the ground mix is then sieved to get a
Take a pan, add a good amount of ghee. Add one cup of kummayam powder to it and stir well. The remaining kummayam powder can be stored in an air-tight container and used when needed.
Meanwhile, in a vessel, add jaggery with water and boil it till the jaggery completely melts (jaggery should be equal to the amount of kummayam powder you take).
Once jaggery gets completely melted, add the jaggery water to the pan.
Keep stirring to avoid lumps (stirring using an egg beater may help).
Once it becomes thick, pour the remaining ghee and remove it. Kummayam tastes best when served hot on a banana leaf.
Andal’s akkaara adisil by Meenakshi Devaraj
Akkaaram means sweet and adisil refers to cooked rice. In her Thiruppavai, Andal mentions that she wants to have this sweet rice variety cooked in milk with a copious amount of ghee. So akkaara adisil is offered to her on Aadi Pooram day, which is her birthday.
Raw rice: 1 cup
Yellow moong dal: 1/4 cup
Jaggery powder: 1 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Milk: 4.5 cups
Water: 1.5 cups
Raisins and cashew: 10 each
Cardamom powder: 1/2 spoon
Ghee: 1/2 cup
Saffron: 5 to 6 threads
Take a pan and dry-fry the rice and moong dal for few minutes.
Add rice, moong dal, 3.5 cups of milk and 1.5 cups of water to a pressure cooker and allow it to boil for five whistles.
Meanwhile, in a vessel, add jaggery. Pour water until the jaggery is fully immersed and boil till the jaggery melts.
Soak the saffron threads in milk.
Take a pan, add ghee and roast cashew and raisins, and keep it aside.
In the same pan, add a liberal amount of ghee and add the mashed rice and dal. Add the remaining 1 cup of milk into it. Boil it and stir well, so that the rice-dal mix, milk and ghee completely get mixed.
Once it becomes thick, add the jaggery, sugar and stir well.
Add saffron threads, cardamom powder, roasted cashews and raisins.
Sivappu cholam karupatti paniyaram by Angulakshmi Anguraj
This paniyaram is made during festivals including Aadi Perukku and Pillayar Nonbu. Sivappu cholam karupatti paniyaram is high in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Karupattti is a very old jaggery type made from panai maram (palmyra tree) that is rooted in Tamil culture, so karupatti is always near and dear to our hearts.
Red sorghum: 400g
Idli rice: 200g
Big raw rice: 200g (gundu pachai arisi)
Urad dal: 150g
Fenugreek: 1 tsp
Chana dal: 2 tbsp
For Palm Jaggery Syrup
Palm Jaggery (Karupatti): 250g and water: 25g
Soak everything together overnight, then wash at least five times in the morning.
In this paniyaram batter, use half the amount of salt used for idli/dosa batter.
Make the batter as thick as possible. Heat palm jaggery and water together to make palm jaggery syrup. Stir the mixture till the jaggery chunks are completely dissolved.
After the batter has cooled, add the syrup and mix well.
You can fry the paniyarams in either oil or ghee. However, we always prefer ghee.
You can eat the paniyaram by itself, but it also goes well with vara milagai chutney.
Aadi koozh by Meenakshi Devaraj
In the Tamizh month of Aadi, you can find koozh, a traditional porridge served in big containers garlanded with neem leaves in mostly all the Amman temples of Tamil Nadu. It is a super coolant and healthy dish. While in most places like Chennai it’s keppai (Finger millet) koozh, in Kongu regions kamban (Pearl millet) koozh is made. The koozh goes very well with pearl onions or a tangy puli kuzhambu. This combination is highlighted in Tamil Sangam literature work Malaipadukadam as well.
Keppai/Ragi(Finger millet) flour: 1 cup
Cooked rice: 1/2 cup
Buttermilk: ¼ cup
Salt as needed
Add ragi flour with two measures of water. To it, add cooked rice and a small amount of salt. Keep it aside for five hours.
In a pan, pour the ragi mix and two measures of water. Allow it to boil. Stir continuously, once ragi gets cooked, switch off the stove. Keep it aside overnight for fermentation.
The next day, add buttermilk to the required amount of koozh to bring it to a drinking consistency.
Pachai arisi thengai paal payasam by Angulakshmi Anguraj (Instagram @Angukitchen)
Pachai arisi thengai paal payasam is a Chettinad dessert that is a variation of kheer, which is made on various festivals and celebratory occasions such as Aadi Perukku, Padayal, Thai Poosam, and wedding ceremonies. It’s a simple recipe that combines the richness of cashews and grated coconut with the goodness of coconut milk and jaggery syrup. This payasam is one of the simplest and oldest payasams made with sugarcane jaggery syrup and garnished with ghee-sauteed cashews.
Big raw rice: 100g
Yellow moong dal: 50g
Grated coconut: 50g
Cashew nuts: 25g
Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp
Coconut milk: 300g
For Jaggery Syrup
Dry-roast the raw rice and moong dal, grind them both coarsely.
Make the jaggery syrup with crushed jaggery and water.
Filter the jaggery syrup, to remove the dust. Roasted the cashews and grated coconut in ghee before adding it.
Kalantha Sadam by Meenakshi Devaraj
Aadi Perukku or Padinettam Perukku is a water ritual that falls on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi. People gather near the waterbodies and make their offerings. While talking about Aadi Perukku, Tamil readers are usually reminded of the opening scene of the famous novel Ponniyin Selvan where the hero, Vandiyadevan, enjoys the sights of Aadi Perukku celebrations on the shores of Veeranarayanam lake. Since the waterbodies are usually far from the residential area, it was a custom to make kalantha sadam (mixed rice varieties) and take it along with them, so that they could spend some time near the shores on Aadi Perukku. One of the important rice items among them would be the easy to cook Chithirannam or Elumichai sadam.
Cooked rice: 1 cup(for kalantha sadam generally only pachai arisi (raw rice) is used as it enhances the taste.
Turmeric powder: 1 pinch
Hing powder: 1 pinch
Chopped green chilli: 2
Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
Chana dal: 1/2 tsp
Roasted peanuts: 1/2 tsp, Gingelly oil
Salt as needed
Cut the lemon horizontally into two pieces. Squeeze the lemon pieces and extract the juice.
Add a little drop of oil and boil the raw rice in a cooker with two measures of water in a pressure cooker for
Spread the cooked rice on a broad plate and allow it to cool.
Take a pan, add gingelly oil. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds.
When mustard seeds begin to sputter, add split urad dal, chana dal
Then add green chilli, salt, lemon extract and turmeric powder. Turn off the stove.
Add the cooked rice to it and gently stir till all the rice gets fully mixed.
Magizhampoo puttu by Angulakshmi Anguraj
Magizhampoo puttu is made entirely of moong dal and is extremely healthy. It is named magizhampoo because it resembles the colour and texture of the flower Magizhampoo. It is pale yellow in colour and very small in size. It’s a one-of-a-kind puttu with its origins in the Chettinad region and is made during Aadi Perukku and Aadi Padayal.
Yellow moong dal: 200g
Grated coconut: 75g, Cashew nut: 25g
Cardamom powder: 1/4tsp, Sugar: 175g, Ghee for roasting: 3tsp
Soak the moong dal for two hours before washing it four times to remove the odour.
Grind it to the consistency of dosa batter.
Make a dosa out of it, then cut it into bits
Using the dripper mode of the mixer, grind the dosa bits until you achieve the consistency of puttu.
Roast the cashews and grated coconut with ghee. Combine all the ingredients and enjoy a delicious puttu.
Aadi paal or Aadi pirappu payasam by Meenakshi Devaraj (Facebook @MeenakshiDevaraj, Instagram @devarajmeenakshi)
Payasam, which was served during the Sangam era, still actively holds a significant place in our festival foods. Aadi paal or Aadi pirappu payasam made to welcome the Tamil month of Aadi is also a variety payasam.
Raw rice: 2 tbsp
Yellow moong dal: 2 tbsp
Grated coconut: 6 tbsp
Jaggery: 200 g
Cardamom powder: ¼ spoon
Small sliced pieces of coconut: 10
Soak rice in water.
Dry-fry the moong dal.
Dry-grind the fried moong dal and soaked rice to a powder. Add grated coconut to the ground mix and grind again with ¼ cup of water.
Meanwhile, grate the jaggery and add it to a vessel. Pour water until the jaggery is fully immersed. Allow it to boil till jaggery melts.
Add three amounts of water to the ground paste and boil it. Keep stirring till it boils.
Add jaggery water and allow it to boil for a few minutes. Add cardamom powder.
Take a pan, add ghee and roast cashew and finely cut small pieces of coconut. Add the roasted cashew and coconut to the payasam.