Posts Tagged ‘Authentic Iyengar Recipes’

Lakshmi: The mere utterance of the words “Perumal Theertham” conjures up memories of my Thatha (grandfather) performing the Aradhanai (puja) daily. Each summer holiday as a child I would wake up to a morning filled with the wetness of Madi Thuni (clothes) hanging in the backyard, the smell of freshly ground spices, the waft of sandalwood and the fast rhythmic chanting of my Thatha.

While Paatti and Kollu Paatti were busy cooking the neivedyam, I’d rush to get a fresh bath and stand in line with the other kids for the delicious prasaadam my Thatha would distribute after his prayers – three udhrini (spoon) theertham (water), three udhrini milk, a few pieces of kalkandu (sugar candy) and a couple of tulsi leaves.

My favourite of course to this date is perumal theertham – its heaven conjured up with water and a few flavorings, one of them being Saffron.


Perumal Theertham (Divine Water)

Perumal theertham in a Kulla Pathram (silver glass) and Udhrini (spoon)

Krishnar doing the Kalinga Narthanam, Sangu (Conch shell), Japa Mala (Beads for prayers), Theertham for Abhishekham (holy bath)

Abhishekham (holy bath) with Perumal Theertham


  • Drinking Water – 1 Glass
  • Cardamom – 3 pods
  • Saffron – 1 tsp
  • Tulsi Leaves – 1 or 2
  • A pinch of pachai karpooram.


Pound the cardamom and dissolve along with saffron into the water in a Silver Pela (Glass). Add Tulsi leaves.

Update: A pinch of Paccha Karpooram or Edible Camphor can also be added to the Theertham for flavouring. Thanks Rajeshwari and Nirmala for reminding us about this. In Kovils (temples) praasadams of the sweet kind are usually flavoured with Edible Camphor. For example Akkaravadesil, the rice pudding served in South Indian Vaishnava temples or Pachamrutham served in Ayyappan temples as Asha has pointed out. We usually skip the Paccha Karpooram.


Latha: Kalkandu or Sugar Candy lends a heavenly taste to this Rice Pudding. This is prepared for most of the Iyengar festivals and in Perumal Kovils. Saffron lends the Pongal a beautiful peachish tinge to the Pongal.


Kalkandu Pongal (Sugar Candy Rice Pudding)

Kalkandu Pongal – Sugar Candy Rice Pudding


  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Moong Dal – ¼ cup
  • Milk – ½ litre
  • Kalkandu (Sugar Candy/ Rock Sugar) – 1 ½ cups
  • Cardamom – 6 nos
  • Saffron – 10 to 12 leaves
  • Ghee – 1/3 cup
  • Cashew – 4 tbsp (or more)
  • Dry Grapes – 4tbsp (or more)

*cup = 225ml measures approximately 8oz. Arakapadi is one of the many traditional measures used in Tamil Nadu. Most cup measures translate into Arakapadi measures.


  1. Wash Rice and Dal and pressure cook together with 3 cups of water.
  2. Take out the Rice and Dal and mash using 2 tbsp Ghee. Transfer to a heavy bottomed pan.
  3. Add ½ litre milk and cook on low fire. Add the Sugar Candy and keep cooking on a low to medium fire stirring occassionally for approximately 5 minutes. The Pongal will now be in a semi solid state – it will become thicker as it cools.
  4. Crush the Cardamom and add to Pongal. Mix well and transfer to a serving dish.
  5. Dissolve the Saffron with 1 tbsp lukewarm milk.
  6. Toast the Cashew and Dry Grapes separately with the remaining ghee in a Kadai.
  7. Decorate the Pongal with Cashew and Dry Grapes and Saffron Milk.

Serve Hot or Chilled.

Perumal thirtam and Kalkandu Pongal are our entries for Sunita’s Think Spice, Think Saffron event and RCI Tamizh Festivals hosted by Viji of Vcuisine.

– Latha and Lakshmi


Read Full Post »

For the RCI event on Tamizh festivals, started by Lakshmi and hosted this month by Viji, I am planning to cover all the festivals, in a few posts.

The first Tamizh festival of the year is Varusha Pirappu or Tamizh new year.Tamizh New Year falls on 14th April every year.People visit temples to offer prayers for a prosperous year ahead!

An elaborate lunch is prepared for the Varusha pirappu!The main dishes specially prepared for this festival are Boli and Mango Neem flower pachadi.

Menu for Varusha Pirappu (colloquially “Varsha Paruppu” )

  1. More Kuzhambu (Coconut flavoured Curd Gravy)
  2. Kadambam (Country Vegetables in Lentils) – recipe below
  3. Vazhaikai Kariamudu (colloquially “Vazhakka Karamedu”) (Green Plaintain Curry) – recipe below
  4. Elumichi saathamudu (Coconut flavoured Lemon Rasam or Soup)
  5. Thayir vadai (Curd Urad Dal Nuggets)
  6. Boli (or Poli) (Sweet Tawa Bread) – recipe below
  7. Veepampoo manga pachadi (Neem flower and Mango Raita) – recipe below
  8. Urulai kizhangu pachadi (Potato Raita)
  9. Kalkandu Pongal (A Rice-Lentil Dish flavoured with Sugar Candy)

I’ll update the post with their photos as I prepare them.

Veepampoo manga pachadi

We must note that the preparations use the produce that is available during that season. Fresh neem flowers and raw mango are used with jaggery for this pachadi. I am unable to post pictures as neem flowers are not available right now.


  • Raw mango – 1 medium sized
  • Fresh neem flowers – 2 table spoons.
  • Jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom – 1 no
  • Ghee – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon


  1. Peel the skin and slice the mango into thin rough pieces.
  2. Add 2 cups water and cook on a medium flame till the mangoes are soft.
  3. Add the neem flowers, jaggery and cardamom powder.
  4. Cook for 2 more minutes and put off the flame. Season with mustard seeds fried in 1 teaspoon ghee.



Kadambam is a mixed vegetable preparation between Kootu and kuzhambu. It tastes great with nattu kaikarigal (Vegetables grown in locally in villages of South India). Traditionally the vegetables used are Avaraikkai (Green and white flat beans), plantain, Ash Gourd, Yellow Pumpkin, Colocasia, Senai kizhangu (elephant yam), Ladies finger, Snake gourd etc.

  • An assortment of Avaraikkai (Green and white flat beans), plantain, Ash Gourd, Yellow Pumpkin, Colocasia, Senai kizhangu (elephant yam), Ladies finger, Snake gourd cut into 1 inch pieces – 3 cups
  • Tamarind – lemon sized ball
  • Toor dal – 3/4 cup
  • Ground nut – 2 table spoons
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hing – a pinch
  • Salt to taste.

For the seasoning

  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoons
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

For the paste

  • Coriander seeds – 1 table spoon
  • Channa dal – 1 table spoon
  • Urad dal – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chillies – 3 nos
  • Methi seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Grated coconut 3 table spoons
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons


  1. Wash and pressure cook the toor dal adding 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder. Mash well.
  2. Colocasia and groundnut should also be pressure cooked. Peel and dice colacasia into big pieces.
  3. Soak tamarind in warm water and Squeeze out the pulp adding 2 cups water.
  4. Wash and cut all the vegetables into 1 inch pieces and place in a heavy bottomed pan.
  5. Add 1 cup tamarind pulp,1 cup water,1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and a pinch of hing to the cut vegetables and cook on a medium flame.
  6. Heat oil in a kadai and fry all ingredients except coconut, till golden.
  7. Take off the flame, add coconut and grind to a paste.
  8. Once the vegetables are soft,add the remaining tamarind water, mashed dal, Cooked colocasia, groundnut and required amount of salt and simmer for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the ground paste and mix well. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  10. Season with mustard seeds and curry leaves fried in ghee.

Kadambham makes a great side dish.


Vazhakkai karamedu

Plantain curry made for maasa pirappu and aamavasyaa.

This plantain curry is called Ennai vazhakai (Cooked in oil), though only 2 teaspoons of oil is required. This curry is prepared for Ammavasya and Maasa pirappu(1 st day of the tamizh month.


  • Plantain(Vazhaikai) – 2 nos
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Tamarind – 2 inch piece
  • Hing – 2 pinches
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Red chillies – 2 nos
  • Grated coconut – 3 table spoons
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste

Cut Plantain pieces

Cut Plaintain Pieces


  1. Soak the tamarind in warm water and take out the pulp addind 3/4 cup water.
  2. Peel the skin of plantain and cut into two halves length wise. Now slice into thin pieces as shown in the picture.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan add tamarind water, salt, hing and turmeric powder to the cut vegetable.
  4. Cook on a medium flame till the vazhaikai is soft. By now all the water would have evaporated. In case any water is left, drain it.
  5. Heat oil in a kadai,add mustardseeds, when it crackles add urad dal and red chillies. Fry till golden
  6. Add grated coconut and curry leaves. Fry for a minute and add the cooked plantain. Stir continously and mix well. Saute for a minute.
  7. Serve hot as a part of festival food.


Boli (Ubbattu)

Obbattu-ready to serve

Boli is prepared on three festival days. Tamizh new year, Saraswathi pujai and Bhogi Pandigai. You can prepare using Kadalai paruppu (channa dal) , Toor dal or a combination of both. I have used Toor dal.


  • Toor dal – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 1 cup
  • Cardamom – 2 nos
  • Grated coconut – 2 table spoons
  • Maida – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 table spoon

Obbattu base with filling
Step 1

Obbattu-ready to roll
Step 2

Step 3


  1. Wash and cook toor dal on a medium flame adding 2 cups water.
  2. Cook till all the water evaporates, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
  3. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and grind to a fine paste adding jaggery, cardamom powder and grated coconut.
  4. Do not add water. You will get a smooth ball. Place this in a MW safe dish and MW high for 1 minute. You can also cook on a heavy bottomed pan in the gas stove. Divide this Poornam to 2 inch balls.
  5. Add oil to maida and knead to a tight dough using enough water.
  6. Take out 1 inch balls from the dough, roll to a small round, place a lemon sized ball of poornam in the center.
  7. Close and roll to a thin 10 inch round, using a little flour.
  8. On a tawa, cook both sides on a medium flame till brown spots appear.
  9. Serve with ghee. Will stay for two days with out refrigerating.


Potato Pachadi

Aloo pachadi

Click here for the Recipe which has been posted earlier


Thayir Vadai

Thayir vadai

Click here for the Recipe which has been posted earlier


More Kuzhambu

More Kozhambu

Click here for the Recipe which has been posted earlier

– Latha

Read Full Post »

Panchamrutham literally translates into five nectars – Pancha means “five” and amrutham means “nectar”. It is a sweet concoction prepared using five ingredients and is made during festive occasions and in all temples for abhisekham(ritual bathing of the representation of the divine) and prasaadam. The five ingredients used for making Panchamrutham vary – Banana, however, is ubiquitous. I haven’t come across a Panchamrutham that is served without Banana. Some of the other ingredients that take the place of the other four ingredients include milk, honey, jaggery, coconut, coconut water, raisins, dates, curd and sugar. Some versions of Panchamruthams include a medley of fruits like grapes, jackfruit and so on as one ingredient, making it almost a fruit salad. Panchamrutham is synonomous with Murugan Kovils (temples), served as prasaadam that is a mineral rich glucose sugar burst after devotees climb up the hill for a glimpse of God. Pachamrutham served at the Pazhani Swamy temple is considered to be the tastiest version. Conducting abhisekham (ritual bathing) with Panchamrutham is believed to bring wealth and prosperity.

Bananas for Panchamrutham

Banana – Rich and Pulpy

Panchamrutham (pronounced as “Panjamritham” colloquially)

Here’s the version that we prepare in our family:

Preparation time: 5 minutes, Cooking time: ZERO, Serves: 2


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Eat immediately or serve chilled.

*Measures of ingredients for Panchamrutham are never exact – this is a classic “kannalavu” (measured by the eye) dish. Unlike the photograph (which my daughter Lakshmi took) the ingredients are slightly mashed and overall Pachamruthams have a slightly squashed look.

Panchamrutham is my entry for JFI-Banana hosted by Mandira from Ahaar. Jihva for Ingredients (JFI) is a series started by Indira of Mahanandi that showcases recipes of one ingredient each month – this month’s theme is Banana.

Read Full Post »

I like to think of Vazhakkai also known as Raw Banana or Green Plaintain as the unsweetened cousin of Banana. Plaintains and Kerala are almost synonomous thanks to the fanatical devotedness of people to munching on Kerala’s various plaintain delicacies. Yet this aint a recipe from Kerala but Tamil Nadu, the other state where Plaintains are cooked up and served in all kinds of forms.

Vazhakkai Podi

Vazhakkai Podi or a mix of grated raw banana/unripe plaintain with a powder and is typically served with Rice. Me thinks this will make a superb combination with More Kuzhambu. For a change I used them to make Parathas.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes, Serves 3 – 4


For Vazhakkai Podi (Powder)

  • Raw Banana/ Green Plaintain * 1
  • Channa Dal 1 1/2 tbsp (Bengal Gram Dal)
  • Urad Dal 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Red Chillies 2
  • Hing/ Asafoetida – a small piece
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

*Update: Vazhakkai are Plaintains that are unripe or Green in colour not the sweet Bananas that are not yet ripe. Raw Bananas is a colloquial reference used in Madras which also appears on the bill when you pick a bunch of these green plaintains. The term “Raw” is used to refer to the “paccha” or “raw” taste of these as compared to a normal Banana. Since there seems to be some kind of confusion, I have updated to avoid misinterpretation.
For Parathas

  • Whole wheat flour 2 cups
  • Water to Knead
  • Salt
  • Ghee


For Vazhakkai Podi
1. Wash and trim the ends of the Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai. Cut into two and steam in a Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes along with the skin. The Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai should be cooked about 3/4 and not very mushy. Remove and set aside for cooling.
2. Roast Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red chillies with a drop of oil. Set aside for cooling. Make sure that you don’t add too much oil for roasting, when ground this must be dry.
3. When the parboiled Plaintain is cool, grate it finely along with the skin. Please don’t discard the skin, it is edible and very nutritious. Ensure that the banana is completely cool, else the gratings may be very mushy.
4. In a blender grind the roasted Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red Chillies along with Hing and Salt to a fine powder.
5. Mix the grated Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai with the ground powder. Transfer to a Bowl.

For Parathas
1. Knead the Wheat flour with water and salt into a firm elastic dough, add a drop of ghee towards the end to finish. Set aside for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into round balls. Set aside some flour to dust while rolling.
2. Roll out one ball into a round of 4 inch diameter using a belan or rolling pin using some flour to dust. Ensure that the center is thick while the sides are rolled out thin.
3. Fill in 1 1/2 tbsp of filling in the center, bring the sides together from 5 to 6 points. Press gently. This should give you a flat round with filling inside.
4. Dust both sides of this flat stuffed round with some flour and roll out into a round of 5 inch diameter.
5. Cook both sides on a tawa on medium heat until brown spots. This makes one paratha stuffed with the Raw Banana/ Vazhakkai Podi.
6. Proceed similarly with the rest of the dough.

Vazhakkai Podi Parathas

Parathas stuffed with Vazhakkai Podi for JFI: Banana hosted by Mandira from Ahaar.


Read Full Post »

Poori Laadu
poori laadu for little krishna’s birthday

Poori Laadu are deliciously crunchy mini laddoos that simmmmmmmmmmbly melt in your mouth – Anita, note the National Favourite in a rather unique and perhaps best ever form. This recipe is one of those classic “handed down” ones, that are very unique to each family. The preparation of this sweet itself is very rare, and I am almost sure that this particular recipe has been published on the web for the first time.

This is my amma’s speciality that I prepared for Krishnashtami and goes as my entry for virtual Srijayanthi/Janmashtami Celebrations we’re hosting.

  • Bombay Rava or Chiroti Rawa 1cup
  • Sugar 1cup
  • Cardamom 2 pods
  • Ghee 1 tbsp+ 3 tsp for the ladoos.
  • Water to Knead
  • Oil for frying


Step 1: Prepare the Dough for Pooris
Knead the Rava with water into a dough. The dough must not be very firm, but not too runny either. Knead in 1tbsp of Ghee when you finish. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Powder Sugar, Crush Cardamom and Prepare Kitchen Counter
Powder Sugar in a Blender. Crush the Cardamom Seeds. Transfer Sugar and Cardamom to a large mixing bowl. Set a strainer/Colander to take out the Pooris. Spread some Kitchen Paper to drain pooris of all Oil.

Step 3: Knead the Dough once more
Knead the Poori dough once more. The Rava would have soaked in the water to give a soft and elastic dough. Add a little ghee if the dough is very sticky to help in kneading. Divide and roll into balls.

Step 4: Prepare to make Pooris
Roll out the divided dough portions into thin rounds like pooris. Heat Oil in a Kadai or a Deep Bottomed Pan.

Step 5: Make the Pooris
Drop a small piece of dough to test the Oil. If the piece rises quickly to the surface, the oil is ready for frying. Set flame to medium. Drop the round Pooris and cook on both sides until golden/ light brown. Take it out in the strainer/ Colander. Note: Do not make the Pooris red.

Step 6: Drain Pooris of Oil
Spread Pooris on the Kitchen Paper and drain all oil. Note: This is a very important step, otherwise you will be left with oily, soggy laddoos.

Step 7: Powder the Pooris
Break Pooris and Powder them in a Blender.

Step 8: Prepare Laddoos
In a large mixing bowl, mix the powdered sugar, crushed cardamom seeds and powdered pooris. Warm 2 tbsp Ghee, add in 1 tbsp to the Laddoo mix and set aside the rest. Using your palm, shape into round laddoos using a little ghee to help.

Note: The technique to making good unbreakable laddoos is to continuously fist a small amount of mix between your palms till they are round. Adding lukewarm ghee while doing this helps the sugar in the mix to melt and keep the laddoo together. Shape the mix into bite sizes laddoos.

Store in an air tight container in a cool but dry place.

Read Full Post »

It has been atleast a few years since I prepared this sweet! I decided to make this for Srijayanthi this year to share this yummy burfi with my blogger friends and my innumerable fans.
Paal Cake 5 mins from being done
Stage after which the burfi has to cooked for 5 minutes on low flame


  • Milk – 3 cups
  • Sugar – 2 and 1/2 cups
  • Rava – 2 tablespoons
  • Ghee – 3 table spoons
  • Cardamom – 3 nos


  1. In a heavy bottomed pan heat 1 table spoon ghee on a medium flame and fry the rava till it turns whitish.
  2. Add the milk and allow to boil for 15 minutes on a low flame.
  3. Add the sugar and cardamom powder and keep cooking on a medium to low flame, stirring continously.
  4. When it reaches a thick consistency say in about 15 minutes add the remaining ghee and keep stirring.
  5. In another 5 minutes it will be ready for pouring on to a greased tray. The right time would be to check the sides of the pan for white powder.
  6. Pour on to a greased tray and mark the shape after 5 minutes, with a sharp knife.
  7. Your paal cake is ready for neivedyam.

Paal Cake


A few tips to be ensure a cake

  • For all burfis use the exact amount of sugar mentioned in the recipe.
  • The sugar should reach the crystalisation level.To check this pour a small amount of the burfi on the greased tray, while cooking the rest on low flame.If it solidifies in a minute or two then your burfi is ready.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »