All festivals celebrated anywhere in the world are for giving us respite from the routine. Just to stop for a while and enjoy the beauty of life. A few months back a friend of mine said that she hated festivals as it meant following some rituals like having a head bath, waking up early in the morning, cleaning the house a few days in advance, elaborate cooking etc, etc. She felt frustrated as she was always forced by her MIL and could never see any joy in festivals! Anything thrust upon us forcefully becomes a burden.
Thankfully I had no such bitter experiences. Though I too follow all the rituals, I do it on my own accord and that makes the huge difference! Festival means holiday for hubby and children! Cooking at a leisurely pace, dressing up kids with lovingly designed clothes, visiting friends , inviting some for lunch or dinner, exchanging pleasantries with all your loved ones atleast over phone, and so many more lovely things to look forward to on a festival day!
Some times I am not able to follow all the rituals associated with a festival. I still enjoy without any feeling of guilt! After all we are humans! My suggestion to one and all is, just let your hair down and relax and enjoy! That’s what festivals are all about!
I prepared a simple feast for Thiru Karthigai and this is my entry for Traditional feast hosted by Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey! Thanks Meeta for hosting this wonderful event! Though a proper traditional meal has more items in the menu, I cooked only a few. With only three of us, I had to limit the no of items.
Traditional Feast Menu
- Mysore rasam
- Urad dal bhonda
- Suyian (Recipe below)
- Arbi curry ( Recipe below)
- Cabbage poriyal
- Gooseberry chutney( Recipe below)
- Tomato pachadi
In older days food was served in plantain leaves as it was available in plenty and also people had to find some use for these leaves, instead of letting them go waste. The tip of the leaf should be to the left hand side of the diner. On festival days a teaspoon of sugar and a banana is served in the left corner of the leaf. Rice is always accompanied by plain dal.
Urad dal bhonda
This is a slight variation to the urad dal vadas. Prepare the batter as you do for vadas. Add a few flakes of coconut, roughly crushed peppercorns and chopped curry leaves. Shape them to small balls and fry in hot oil.
- Grated coconut – 1 cup
- Grated jaggery – 1/2 cup
- Cardamom – 1 no
- Maida – 2 tablespoons
- Oil – 100ml
- In a heavy bottomed pan, mix jaggery, coconut and 2 tablespoons water and cook on a medium flame, stirring continously.
- Take off the flame once the jaggery melts and blends with the coconut. Add cardamom powder and allow to cool. This is the poornam.
- Mix maida with some water to a thick paste. Make balls out of the poornam, coat with maida paste and fry in hot oil.
- As the poornam is already cooked only the outer covering needs to be cooked. The balls will be white when hot. As it cools the suyian will turn brown as the outer covering will soak the jaggery syrup from the poornam. This is the main reason for making the outer coating with a soft flour.
Arbi or Taro or Colacasia curry
- Colacasia – 1/2 kg
- Hing – 1/4 teaspoon
- turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
- Thick tamarind paste – 2 table spoons ( made from lemon sized ball of tamarind)
- Salt – 3/4 teaspoon
- Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
- Urad dal – 1 teaspoon
- Channa dal – 1 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil – 2 table spoons.
- Wash the colacasia well and pressure cook. Allow to cool and peel the skin.
- Cut into small pieces. Mix tamarind paste, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and hing in a bowl and coat the colacassia with this paste.
- Heat oil in a kadai on a medium flame. Add mustard seeds, when it crackles add urad dal and channa dal.
- Fry till golden. Add the colacasia and stir fry on a low flame to get crispy curry.
- Gooseberries – 4 nos
- Urad dal – 2 tablespoons
- Mustardseeds – 1 teaspoon
- Red chillies – 2 nos
- Hing – a small piece
- Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil – 1 table spoon
- Salt to taste
- Remove the seeds from gooseberries and cut into small pieces.
- Heat oil in a small kadai, fry the mustard, urad dal, hing and redchillies till golden. Add the gooseberries and turmeric and saute for two minutes.
- Allow to cool, add salt and grind to a chutney.