Aadi month

               Aadi is the fourth month in Tamil calendar. It is an auspicious month for the Hindus. It starts during the mid of July and ends in mid August.  The next six month is called as the Dakshinayana punya kaalam and it is the beginning of night for the Devas. Once Aadi month arrives, festivals will come one by one. Aadi azhayakkum, Vishu thodaykkum” saying conveys the start and end of the festivals, during the year. In rural places of Tamilnadu, they perform Aadi thiruvizha in Maariamman temples. The deity is considered as the kaaval deivam and it is worshipped mainly to get good rain and to protect ourselves from diseases like cholera, malaria and small pox. In my place every year they do this pooja in paettai mariamman kovil and people will visit the temple on tuesdays and fridays to worship her.  In my husband’s family, they have the practise of keeping the water in a bowl. They place it in front of a mirror and will keep thamboolam(Vethalai, paaku, pazham, manjal) in the pooja room. This is done to get rid of the diseases and to protect ourselves.
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Auspicious days during this month
Aadi Pandigai (17-07-2018)
         First day of this month Aadi, usually it falls on 16th or 17th of July.  People celebrate this day as Aadi pandigai especially newly-weds. Special puja is performed followed by a special food which  sweet. The new groom in the family is invited to the Bride’s house and the couple is gifted with new dresses and other presents and treated well with a feast. It is a practise to leave the bride in her house till this month get over.

Aadi velli  (20th july, 27th july, 03th august, 10th august)                                                    All the fridays falling on this month are considered as auspicious. Preparing sweets as offering (prasadam) to the goddess, visiting temples, doing special pujas are all the must do things for believers. In my home my paati or amma will make some payasam for neivedyam and offer it to the God. Since Amman is worshipped during this month, the sweets that are made of jaggery is considered superior to those made with white sugar. When we were kids, my mom will wake up very early in the morning before the sun rises and clean the front portion of our house with cow dung and draw kolam. She will also apply Chemman(red soil) here and there. It is from her I learnt to draw the kolams. My grandma or my mom will invite the sumangalis on those days and give them vethalai paaku. All the members in my family will sit together and will chant amman slokas and sing amman songs on these days. We will also arrange for Bhagavth sevai  on any friday at our home.

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Aadi Ammavasai (11-08-2018)

  The no moon day that comes during this month is called as Aadi Ammavasai.  It is a day dedicated to fore fathers and people will perform pooja and offer food to God.

Aadi pooram(13-08-2018)
         The pooram star that falls on this month is the birthday of Andal. She is the only woman among 12 Alwars who composed Divya Prabhandham. Thiruppavai and Vaaranam Aayiram composed by her are some of the famous works. Perialwar a famous saint Srivalliputhur prayed Goddess Lakshmi since he had no children. One day he saw a beautiful child near thulasi plant and named her Andal.  It was on a pooram star in the month of Aadi and hence it is considered as the birthday of Andal. It is celebrated in a grand manner in Srivalliputhur.
Aadi Krithigai(05-08-2018)
           Aadi Krithigai is celebrated on the Krithikai star day during the month of Aadi, a spiritual month for special God based activities. It is of human origin to survive with relationship and financial problems at the least. Muruga is the promising primordial power who wards off the negative forces and obstacles of your life. Devotees carry flower kavadi and it is celebrated in a grand manner in many murugan temples.
Aadi perukku(03-08-2018)
          It falls on the 18th day of Aadi. At my home we will make different varieties of rice like lemon rice, coconut rice, Vella sadham, thayir sadham, tamarind rice with vadam and it will be a total fun. Everyone will make a big round in our home, will chat together and enjoy the food. This year for the first time I will be missing my loving family.
Varalakshmi viratham/Maavilakku poojai(24-08-2018)
        It differs from family to family. Some will perform Varalakshmi viratham and others will have maavilakku poojai. In our family, we have the practise of performing maavilakku poojai. I have grown up seeing this done at my home. The procedure varies from family to family. Maa Vilakku is ideally performed on a Friday omitting the first and last Friday of the Aadi month. I have seen varalakshmi poojai in my perima’s house. But I donot know the exact procedure of performing it. I am just inserting the snap taken in my sister’s house few years back.
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         The procedure for performing maavilakku poojai is as follows. Kuzhavi,chooral and a wooden board are kept.  Turmeric paste is made and applied on the wooden board. On that 25 red dots 5 rows and 5 columns are placed here and there. Draw maakolam (Rangoli made using rice paste) on the area where the pooja is to be done. Kuzhavi is washed well and the turmeric paste is made into a thick round and placed on it. Two red dots with kumkum are placed as eyes and is also placed as pottu. It is placed on the sand spread in front of the wooden board. A brass sombu is filled with water and Neem leaves are kept in it. Bunch of neem leaves and red colour flowers are placed on it. Along with it the chooral(wooden stick) is placed.
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On the side kuthuvilakku is placed and it is lighted.  On a large plate, rice flour is placed with jaggery and ghee in it. This is made as maavilakku. The tradition is, whatever is cooked for the day is placed before Amman and then partaken. Also once the lamp is lit, no more tempering with mustard seeds will be done in the home, for the day. Normally molagootal, rasam, pachadi is made on that day. A glass with water is placed. It should be removed only on the next day. Once the neiveydhyam is placed, the door is closed. It is a belief that the Goddess will come and eat those food.Now we will sit outside the pooja room and chant amman slokas and songs. After 10 minutes we should clap our hands twice before opening the door. And then the karpoora harathi is shown to the God. Vethilai paaku is given to the sumangalis .
Garuda Panchami (15-08-2018)
Garuda Panchami pooja is dedicated to Sri Garudalwar, also known as “Periya Thiruvadi”. This pooja is usually performed by women and benefits their children. Garudalwar is propitiated by women who wish to give birth to bold, brave and sharp-minded children like Garudan. Newly wed couples perform this pooja for a happy married life. By performing this pooja, it is also believed that suffering due to Naga Dosham will be alleiviated.

Stuffed Capsicum – Restaurant style

Stuffed Capsicum is one of my favourite side dish for roti. This can be made in different ways. Here I have stuffed potatoes in the capsicum. But you can also use mixed vegetable stuffing in the capsicum. In the same way, instead of shallow frying we can cook it in the oven. I have tried both the ways and it tastes good. Preparing the gravy is a choice. You can serve the stuffed capsicum as such without the gravy. My husband loves this recipe and for the past few days he was asking me to post this recipe. Somehow I end up in posting some other recipe and atlast the recipe for this yummy stuffed capsicum is here.

INGREDIENTS

For the Stuffing

Ghee – 1 tsp

Onion – 1

Potatoes – 5 medium size

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Mango powder – 1/2 tsp

Garam masala – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric powder

Salt – To taste

Capsicum – 4

Corn flour

Oil – To shallow fry

For the gravy

Ghee – 1 tsp

Red gravy – 1 ladle

White gravy – 1 ladle

Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

Cumin seed powder –  1/2 tsp

Garam masala – 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Fresh Cream – 1 tsp

Salt- To taste

Fresh Coriander – To garnish

For the stuffing

  • In a pan add ghee and saute the finely chopped onion.
  • Pressure cook the potatoes, peel the skin and mash it well.
  • Add the mashed potatoes into the pan once the onion turns transparent.
  • Add garam masala, red chilli powder, mango powder, turmeric powder, salt.
  • Mix everything together well and cook for sometime.
  • Turn off the stove and keep the stuffing aside.

Stuffing in the Capsicum

  • While buying the capsicum, choose the ones with four legs and not three. This gives a flat base to the capsicum.
  • With the knife, slowly remove the stem and seeds completely. Also remove the white portion in the capsicum.
  • Now slowly stuff the capsicum with the potato stuffing.
  • Stuff as much as you can and finally dust it with the corn flour.
  • Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the stuffed capsicum.
  • Keep the capsicum upside down and fry it first. Then slowly fry it on all the sides.
  • Once the capsicum is cooked, remove it from the flame and allow it to cool.
  • Then with the knife, remove the outer skin so that you could get back the green colour.
  • The stuffed capsicum is ready.

For the gravy

  • In a pan add ghee, red gravy, white gravy and cook for a minute.
  • Then add all the masala powders for the gravy, add required quantity of water to adjust the consistency of the gravy and cook everything well until the raw smell goes off.
  • Finally add the fresh cream and fresh Coriander leaves.
  • The gravy is ready.

Arranging

  • Take a bowl and place the stuffed capsicum.
  • Pour the gravy over the capsicum and serve hot with roti, phulka, chappathi, khulcha and naan.

Mangai kari

Manga kari is one of the favourite pickles for me and my brother. We can just sit and eat it with tea or coffee. It is very easy to make but very tasty. Normally I hate curd rice. But if I come to know that amma has made this pickle, definitely I will include curd rice in my plate.

INGREDIENTS

Semi ripened mango – 1 (Thothapuri/Kilimooku mangai)

Red chilli powder- 2 tsp

Turmeric powder-  1/2 tsp

Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp

Asafoetida

Salt – To taste

For Seasoning

Gingelley oil-1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

  • Wash and cut the mangoes into small pieces.
  • Place it in a bowl and add all the spice powders ( red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, asafoetida, fenugreek powder) one by one.
  • Toss well so that they get blend with the chopped mangoes.
  • Finally splutter mustard seeds in the oil and temper it. Mix well.
  • Store it in an container and use within 5 to 6 days.
  • The pickle goes best with curd rice.

Multigrain Sathu Nuts Ladoo

Multigrain Sathu nuts ladoo is the healthiest ladoo I have eaten ever. I learnt this from one of my friends. Thank you Priyanka for the wonderful healthy recipe.

This includes all the nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, chironji, raisins, fig, dry dates.  Almond is rich in calcium, Cashew is rich in iron and has unsaturated fat, walnut is rich in omega-3-fats & antioxidants, pistachios is rich in antioxidants, low in calories and helps in lowering blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol and chironji is loaded with vitamins.

The fig, dry dates, raisins in the ladoo gives it natural sweetness. Fig and dry dates are rich in iron, magnesium, raisin is rich in iron,  B complex vitamins, Every single ingredient in the ladoo has its own secret healthy ingredient and this ladoo is packed with lot of nutrients.

The original recipe calls for wheat flour but I have replaced it with homemade sprouted multigrain flour. Multigrain flour is also loaded with nutirents.

Also instead of white sugar, I have added cane sugar to make it more healthy. You can use white sugar powder as well. Or we can use jaggery powder or palm sugar.

The edible gum or gond in the recipe increases the body temperature. So it helps in relieving the leg pain and joint pain. Apart from the health benefit, it also gives a crunchy feel to the ladoo.  Makhana is high in fiber and low in calories.

And finally the binding agent is ghee, i have used desi homemade cow ghee which is very healthy.

I learnt and made these ladoos at home and it is a superhit in my family. Krish loved it a lot and without any pressure he himself started eating these ladoos. Also my parents and grandparents loved these ladoos. These ladoos are not available in the market. Though it is available, it costs around 50 rupees for a ladoo. So do make this healthy ladoo at home and enjoy with your family.

INGREDIENTS

Ghee – Around 400 ml

Almonds – 100 g

Cashews – 100 g

Walnuts – 100 g

Pistachios – 100 g

Raisins – 100 g

Dry dates- 100 g (not included)

Fig – 50 g (not included)

Lotus seeds (Makhana) – 50 g

Chironji (Saara paruppu)- 50 g

Edible gum (Gond) – 100 g

Sprouted multigrain flour – 200 g

Cane sugar – 2 cups

Dry ginger powder – As req

Pepper powder – As req

 

To roast the nuts

  • Take a heavy bottomed kadai and add around 2 tbsp of ghee.
  • Add cashews, walnuts, pistachios, almonds and roast them until they turn light brown in colour.
  • Transfer it to a plate and allow it to cool.
  • Once it cools down, grind it to a powder.

To roast sticky ingredients

  • Add 2 tbsp of ghee and add the raisins or dry grapes or kish-mish.
  • Roast until it bulges well.
  • If you are going to include dry dates and fig, you can roast them one by one at this stage. In the video I have not added these two ingredients.
  • Transfer all the three ingredients to a plate, allow it to cool down.
  • Later we can grind everything together. These ingredients gives natural sweetness to the ladoos.

To roast Makhana or Lotus seeds

  • Add ghee in a kadai and roast the lotus seeds.
  • The lotus seeds or makhana should be roasted well. Else it cannot be grinded well.
  • Once they turn golden brown, transfer it to a plate, allow it to cool and grind it separately. You can also crush it with a potato masher instead of grinding it in a mixie.

To roast Chironji (Saara paruppu)

  • Add ghee and roast the chironji for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Keep it aside in aplate.
  • There is no need to grind this. It can be added directly.

To roast Edible gum (Gond)

  • While roasting the edible gum, extra care should be taken.
  • Add ghee in a kadai, abd add edible gum in batches.
  • Once you start roasting it will pop up like a popcorn. This gives a crunchy feel to the ladoo.
  • If it is not roasted properly, it will stick to the teeth. So roast it well. Keep it in a plate.
  • Mash it with a potato masher. Donot grind it in a mixie.

To roast Sprouted multigrain flour

  • Add 2 tbsp of ghee and add sprouted multigrain flour.
  • The flour should be roasted well until you get a nice aroma and the colour changes from light shade to dark shade.
  • Keep it aside in a plate. If required, before making ladoos we can sieve the flour. Else it can also be added without sieving.

Final Steps

  • Once the above steps gets over, add all the ingredients into a big vessel. Mix it well.
  • Check the sweetness after mixing it well.
  • Then add the cane sugar/ Sugar powder/ jaggery powder. Donot add too much of these artificial sweetneers.
  • For the spicyness, add dry ginger powder, pepper powder.
  • Mix everything together well and shape it into a equal sized balls.
  • If you are not able to shape it, heat ghee and add it to the mixture and shape it to uniform sized balls.
  • Store it in an air tight container. The shelf life of the ladoo will be two months.

Raw jackfruit Dum Biriyani

Biriyani is a mouth watering rice dish that is cooked either with meat or vegetables. There are so many varities of biriyani and one of the popular variety is Dum biriyani. It is a popular cuisine from Hyderabad. In this the dish is cooked on slow fire or dum for an aromatic flavour or fragrance.  Raw jackfruit dum biriyani or Kathal biriyani is a mildly spiced biryani made with unripe jackfruit along with some spices. It is a stepwise process where the rice is cooked separately with spices, and then a gravy is made with raw jackfruit, spice powders and finally everything is arranged in layers to cook in slow fire. Usually a heavy bottomed vessel is used to make Dum biriyani. It can be cooked on stove top by placing the heavy bottomed vessel on a dosa tawa or it can be cooked in oven.

The main process starts with cleaning the raw jackfruit and separating the edible portion carefully.  Before you start this step apply coconut oil on your palms, knife and then slowly cut it into four. Then remove the skin and take away the edible part. Though it is a time consuming process, it is worth making it. Apart from this we can make raw jackfruit chips, dry sabzi-Idichakka upperi, puzhukku, etc.,

INGREDIENTS

Raw jackfruit – 1

Turmeric powder – A pinch

Salt – As required

Water- To cook

To cook rice

Basmathi rice- 1 cup

Water- adequate to cook

Bay leaf – 1

Marathi moggu – 1

Cinnamon stick – 1 inch

Star anise – 1

Cardamom – 2

For the gravy

Ghee- 1 tsp

Bay leaf – 1

Cardamom – 2

Star anise – 1

Cinnamon stick – 1 inch

Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp

Onion – 2

Tomato – 4

Red chilli powder- 1 tsp

Turmeric powder

Coriander powder- 1 tsp

Kitchen king masala – 2 tsp

Curd – 2 ladle

Salt – to taste

For arranging

Ghee- 1 tsp

Gravy

Cooked rice

Coriander – few (finely chopped)

Garam masala powder – 2 tsp

Milk – 1/8 to 1/4 cup

Kasuri methi – To garnish

Cardamom powder – 1 to 2 tsp

Aluminium foil – To cover

  • Wash and cut the jackfruit as I mentioned in the description part.

  • Add adequate water, turmeric powder, salt and pressure cook it well.  Keep it aside.

To cook the rice

  • Take required quantity of rice and wash it well.
  • We can either pressure cook or open cook the rice.  To pressure cook, add rice, spices, and 1: 1.5 water and cook it on high flame till one whistle and on low flame till second whistle.
  • To open cook, add rice in a heavy bottomed vessel, and then add adequate water.

  • To this add spices like bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom, Marathi moggu (kapok buds), star anise.

  • Close it with a lid and allow it to boil until the rice is cooked.

  • Turn off the stove and strain it in a collader to discard extra water.

For the gravy

  • In a heavy bottomed vessel add ghee. then add spices like bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds. Saute them until you get a nice aroma.

  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute until you get a nice aroma.

  • Add finely chopped onions , saute them until they turn translucent in colour.

  • Add finely chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kitchen king masala, coriander powder, water and mix them well.

  • Once the masala powders mix well with the gravy, add curd and keep it in low flame. The curd should mix well with other ingredients.

  • Finally add the salt and cooked jackfruit. Cook it for 5 minutes and turn off the stove.

Arranging it in layers

  • In a heavy bottomed vessel add  ghee.
  • Add the gravy and spread it evenly.
  • On the top of the gravy layer, add the cooked rice and spread it evenly.
  • Then garnish it with finely chopped coriander, add garam masala powder, milk.
  • Repeat the same steps and arrange everything in layers.
  • Finally garnish with coriander, garam masala powder, Kasuri methi, cardamom powder.

For Dum cooking

  • To cook on stove top, heat a skillet and place the heavy bottomed vessel with the lid closed on it. Cook it in low medium flame for 45 minutes.
  • If we are going to cook in an oven cover the heavy bottomed vessel with a aluminium foil and place it in an oven for 45 minutes.
  • Mix well, serve it with raitha.