Posts Tagged ‘Decorations’

The award season in the Food Blogosphere is not ending any time soon!!! My friend Archana of luv2eathate2cook has presented me with these awards! Thanks Archu! She says we rock! With all the lovely comments from all my blogger friends, we must definitely rock! 😀

And then the Schmoozer award! All of you can read great interpretations of this award in Coffee’s Spice cafe. After her detailed description, I dare not say a word :D.

Well, I for one have just arrived on the internet and have just picked up some skills on this difficult box called computer that’s intelligent but refuses to listen – there is so much more Schmoozing to do!!! And Madhavi thinks the ‘Yum’ girls rock! Thanks Madhavi!

Awards may not be new to me since I have won several awards as one of the top managers of Tupperware in India for the past 6 years. In fact there is no place left in my show case.

But these awards mean a lot to me as I have earned the love and best wishes of my blogger friends who never fail to appreciate our efforts.

These past two months have been a huge learning curve in terms of a quite a few things in the virtual world from linking to widgets (I still think it will sound better as a snack’s name). I think the most difficult one to conquer has been the obnoxiously warped and jumbled alphabets that one needs to pass before publishing a comment on blogger. It used to take me ten minutes to write a simple comment – I am a sorry but I like technology to work for me not vice versa!!! Bee has elaborated more on this pain here.

Thankfully my typing speed has improved so much that I can finally type recipes faster than I cook!!! Today I am happy that I have answered all the comments on our blog and blogrolled all fellow bloggers who visited me. I just love to read all the lovely recipes posted in these blogs.


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Update: Four Varieties of Kozhukattai (steamed stuffed rice flour wraps) have been given below. We prepare this for Ganesha Chaturthi. Scroll down for recipes.

I humbly Offer this to the lotus feet of the Supreme Mother Goddess Raja Rajeshwari.

VaralakshmiViratham is Observed by most families in south India. Varam is boon. Varalakshmi is the goddess who bestows upon her bhakthas, health, wealth, prosperity, joy, peace, etc.(Ashta Aishwaryam).

Though as Iyengars my family does’nt observe this festival, being a devotee of the goddess Raja Rajeshwari I always perform a simple Varalakshmi puja on this day. I have collected details of puja procedures from my neighbour, an Iyer aunty, Mrs.Rajam Sunderajan. Thankyou mami!

On thursday, the kalasam is made and decorated as Amman. For the kalasam you can use a jar or sombhu made of silver, bronze or brass. Even mud pots were used for kalasam in olden days. Fill the pot with a little rice, toor dal, 4 betal leaves, 2 betal nuts, 2 turmeric pods, a 1 rupee coin, 1 lemon. place 5 different kinds of leaves or 5 mango leaves on the mouth of the pot and cover with a coconut that is smeared all over with turmeric powder(manja thengai).

I also read in Devi Bhagavatham another method to make the kalasam. You can fill the pot partially with holy water from any river and place some gold jewellary. cover the mouth of the pot with 5 mango leaves and a coconut smeared with turmeric.

If you have a ambhals Mugam(Face) you can attach it to the kalasam. you can also draw the face of Goddess on the kalasam.If you have a statue of the goddess You can decorate that for the puja. kalasam is further decorated with jewels and silk saree. All this is done in the puja room or a place at home where you want to do the puja. Manja pongal is prepared as prasadam on thursday. At the beginning of the puja Devi is invoked in the Kalasam (Aavahanam). From now we will refer to kalasam as Devi. The devi can be placed on a special platform(mandapam) decorated with Vaazhai kannu or young plaintain trees and maavilai thooranam.

The method of making the kalasam varies, you can stick to the method passed on by your family. Devotion and faith are most important for the puja.

On friday, the day of varalakshmi puja, the front yard is cleaned and decorated with kolam(As we do everyday). Devi is carried from the front door to the puja room and placed in the Mandapam.

Now the Kalasa pujai, archanai, ashtothra pujai and charadu pujai are performed by a sasthrigal(purohit). If you live in a place where you cannot invite a purohit you can do the puja yourself. puja CDs are easily available. Neivedyam is performed.(offering).

The charadu(yellow thread) is worn in the wrist and the purohit is honoured with sambavanai (Vaayanam).*Thambhulam is distributed to ladies.

On saturday punar pujai is done for the Devi and the neivedyam offered is sundal. Thambulam is distributed to ladies. This culminates the puja.

On saturday night after Deeparaadanai the kalasam is kept in the rice pot for a day.

May the world be blessed by the Goddess Vara Maha Lakshmi!

I humbly request The Devi and all my visitors to forgive any mistake in the procedure.

The neivedyam prepared on the day of the puja are

  1. Kozhukattai (kadubu, moodak) prepared with 4 variety poornams (fillings)- which has been posted below.
  2. Appam
  3. Vadai
  4. Idli made from raw rice.(Paccharisi idli)

All recipes will be posted in a day or two.

Kozhukattais steamed in crystalwave Mw dish
Sweet Kozhukattais/ Modhaks steamed in the Microwave. Green container is perforated and the yellow is filled with 1/2 cup water



For the outer cover

  • Rice flour -3 cups
  • salt to taste
  • Water 3 cups
  • Oil – 1 table spoon

For the Coconut filling

  • Grated coconut – 1cup loosely packed
  • Jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom – 1 no

For the sesame filling

  • Sesame seeds (Til) – 1/2 cup
  • jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • cardamom – 1 no

For the urad dal filling

  • Urad dal – 1/2 cup
  • green chillies – 1 no (finely chopped)
  • curry leaves – 1 twig(finely chopped)
  • Oil – 1 table spoon
  • Hing – 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt to taste
  • mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

For the channa dal filling

  • Channa dal (kadalai paruppu) – 1/2 cup
  • jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • cardamom – 1 no
  • Grated coconut – 1 table spoon


For the outer cover

  1. Bring the water to boil in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Reduce the flame to medium and add the oil and rice flour and stir well to get a smooth dough.
  3. Take off the flame and mix further to remove lumps thouroughly.
  4. Cover and allow to cool.

For the Coconut filling

  1. Melt jaggery with a little water, in a kadai on a medium flame.
  2. Add coconut and cardamom powder and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. The filling will become thicker when it cools.Transfer to a container.

For the sesame filling

  1. Dry roast the sesame seeds till they crackle.
  2. Allow to cool and grind in a mixer.
  3. Mix with powdered jaggery and cardamom.

For the urad dal filling

  1. Wash and soak urad dal for 1/2 hour.
  2. Drain well and grind coarsely adding salt and hing adding 2 table spoons water.
  3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
  4. when it crackles add the curry leaves, green chillies and the ground urad dal.
  5. Cook on a low flame stirring well for 3 minutes. Urad dal will be cooked by now.

For the channa dal filling

  1. Wash and cook channa dal with 3/4 cup water on a medium flame till all the water is absorbed and channa dal looks translucent.
  2. Allow to cool and grind to a powder.
  3. Add the coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder and grind to form a dough.
  4. Keep in a microwave safe glass bowl and micro for 2 minutes stirring in between.

How to proceed

  1. Make 1 and 1/2 inch diameter balls out of the rice dough. Shape it into a cup with your fingers.
  2. Place 1 teaspoon of the prepared filling and cover to form a modhak shape – i.e bring all the end of the cup together. You will get a round ball with a cone on top.
  3. Make these modhaks or Kozhukkatais with all the fillings.
  4. Steam in a pressure cooker without weight for 3 minutes. You can place the kozhukatais on an idli stand to steam.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the cooker.
  6. Your kozhukatais are ready for neivedyam (offering to Lord Ganesha).

Update: To see the microwave version of steaming head over here.

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On 7th morning Deccan Herald I saw the picture of Taj made of roses with the announcement for the flower show from 8th to 15th of august. I decided to visit on a working day to avoid the maddenning rush (Stampede?).

As Tajmahal is voted to be one of the 7 new wonders, the horticultureral department decided on this theme for our 60th Independence day. There was a huge crowd on Friday afternoon also but fairly manageable. The Taj looked stunning. It was definitely a visual treat. It was an 18 by15 feet structure made using 26,000 roses! An amazing feat indeed! Hats off to all the artists who who put together this beauty.

There is a saying in tamil “yaam pettra inbham ,peruga evvaiyagam”, (Share your joys with the world ). I posted these pictures for all the Indians living all over India and world to share my joy.

Happy Independence Day!

Click here for Taj Pictures in roses 

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Details of Puja and Festival will be posted soon.

Update: I have started posting details. Festival is on 24th august.

Click here for more information and recipes for the special occasion.

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Mango marmalade

Simple, Delicious and Handy


Ripe mango 1/2 kg.

Sugar 1/4 kg.


Peel and cut the mango into small cubes. Place in a microwave safe glass bowl and cook for 1 minute. Add sugar, mix well and cook in micro mode for 3 minutes. Store in air tight containers in fridge or freezer. You can take out required quantity and warm before serving. You can serve it chilled also.

Can be used as a spread on bread & rotis. also as ice cream topping.

Note Cooking time in the microwave will vary depending on the wattage of the oven and the quantity of the ingredients used.

Any variety of mango is good. If the mango is sour increase the quantity of sugar.

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Quick plum jelly

I was just wondering what keeps us away from some tasty preparations? The time and labour involved? I have come up with a time saving solution.


Plums 1/4 kg.

Banana 1large.

Sugar 1/4 kg.

Wash and prick the plums with a fork. Place in a microwave safe glass bowl. Peel and slice the banana and add to the plums and mix. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Add sugar mix and microwave on high for 3 minutes stirring in between. Pour into a container and chill in refrigerator. Can be kept in the freezer also. You can take the required amount and warm in the microwave before serving.

Use it to decorate ice creams.


The timing mentioned will vary slightly due to difference in wattage of ovens. All timings are for a 900 watts oven.

Time varies with quantity cooked also.

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