The village of Tattamangalam, near Palakkad in Kerala, is where my mother-in-law grew up. For the last 74 years, Tattamangalam has been conducting festivities to commemorate ‘Ayappan season’, the period between Diwali (October-November) till Pongal (January 14), which is when the maximum number of pilgrims visit the holy temple of Lord Ayappa at Sabarimala. These festivities in Tattamangalam, typically held towards the end of every December, are quite grand, I have always been told, including parades by elephants, performances by music artistes, large-scale community meals, frenzied beats of drums and cymbals, and the blowing of trumpets.
In December 2018, Tattamangalam celebrated the 75th edition of the Ayappan Festival Celebrations, and my extended family and I figured it was time to pay a visit. I am glad we booked our tickets at the very last minute (we were lucky to even get them, indeed!) and visited, for the festival was bigger and better than ever.
Check out some glimpses from the celebrations we were witness to, just in on my photo blog!
Hola, guys and girls!
Warm wishes from our family to you for Pongal, Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Magh Bihu! I hope all of you are enjoying the festivities in your part of the world.
Today, I’m sharing with you all the recipe for Classic Sakkarai Pongal or sweet pongal made the traditional way. Made with rice and moong daal, jaggery, loads of dry fruits and ghee, this sweet pongal surely is a lovely treat for kids and adults alike. We make the Sakkarai Pongal in a pressure cooker, and not in a pan as is done traditionally, which ensures that it gets done in a jiffy and is still every bit just as delicious!
Check out our family recipe, just in on my photo blog!
Hola guys! How has the end of the year been treating you? I hope you have been having fun this holiday season!
This year, I’m using Paperless Post, a USA-based website, to send out my holiday greetings. Paperless Post believes in making online communication so much fun that you don’t miss hand-written greeting cards, flyers, invitations and other notes. They have some really lovely designs by established artists, beautiful options to choose from for various types of communication needs. You can customise the design you opt for, for your cards, as well as the envelope front and backing and the message. I’ve been enjoying creating customised cards for my friends and family, and plan to use Paperless Posts for upcoming events as well. Do check out the website, folks!
Moving on to food now, all of us at home love gongura – aka pulichakeerai, sorrel, roselle, kenaf or aambadi – the greens with a sour taste to them. Sadly, though, they are one of the least used greens in our household. We use them only occasionally to make Gongura Thokku, a spicy Andhra Pradesh-style pickle. Considering that these leaves are very rich in iron, folic acid, antioxidants and various vitamins, I wanted to use more of them in our daily diets. So, a Gongura Pulihora or sorrel-flavoured rice was made recently, which turned out to be much loved.
Today, I’m sharing the recipe for this delicious Gongura Pulihora, for you all to check out and try.
Diwali is just a couple of days away!
Are you looking for an easy yet delicious snack to serve to friends and family this Diwali? Try out this super-simple Chana Dal Namkeen!
Yes, this is a deep-fried snack, but still way better than store-bought. Here, you know exactly what has gone into your namkeen. You can control the quality of ingredients you use here, and use just as much salt and spices you need, vis-a-vis packaged namkeen versions that usually come with a high salt content. And, of course, this Chana Dal Namkeen being home-made, it is preservative-free!
This is quite a simple snack to make too, one that you can achieve in about 20 minutes or so. You can add in the spices you choose – customise the namkeen to your liking. It turns out extremely delicious, quite addictive, and pairs really well with chai and conversations!
Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog!
Have you ever heard of Maa Vilakku?
For the uninitiated, Maa Vilakku are edible lamps traditionally made from hand-pounded rice flour. In Tamilnadu, these lamps are considered hugely auspicious and are prepared on sacred occasions like Thai Velli, Karthigai Deepam and Purattasi Sani. They are also prepared as an offering to Mariamman, the powerful Goddess, to ward off diseases.
My latest blog post gives you a step-by-step guide to preparing Maa Vilakku the traditional way. It also goes on to include a guide on how to prepare Adhirasam, a typical South Indian festive sweet dish, from the leftover Maa Vilakku dough.
Do check out the post, and share your comments!
A popular offering to the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi, the Upma Kozhukattai or Pidi Kozhukattai is also a very healthy snack. With the goodness of rice and toor daal, it is a steamed snack made with minimal oil. It is a simple thing to make, but quite delicious and filling, which makes it great as a lunchbox filler.
These dumplings can be either sweet or savoury, with different families making big and little variations of their own. Today, I present to you the savoury version, called Kara Pidi Kozhukattai, the way my family makes it. I made these for the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in our apartment this year, and they were a huge hit.
Here is the recipe for these Kara Pidi Kozhukattai, on popular demand.
Spirituality. Peace. Introspection. Good food. Community. Pandal hopping. Activities with the bub. Play time. Busy-ness. Making memories. Family. Traditions.
That was how Ganesh Chaturthi this year looked like, to us.
Here are some pictures from Ganesh Chaturthi 2018, for your viewing pleasure.