January 7, 2010

Thiruvathirai Kali and Poduthuval

Hope and wish you all had a lovely start to the New Year. After the celebrations, every one must be back to routine. So am I. We had all most all of the family here for the New Year except my eldest co-sister and niece. We missed them very much. Since Thiruvathirai was celebrated on the 1st, the day started pretty early for me (3:30 A.M) to go to the temple to have the Aruthra Darsanam (The pre-dawn hours of the full moon night, in the month of Margazhi/Danu with the longest nights in the year, marks the auspicious time for Arudhra Darshan). The specialty food for thriuvathirai is kali and poduthuval. Kali is roasted and powdered rice cooked in jaggery syrup. The sweet dish is served with a spicy side- Poduthuval. The main ingredient for the poduthuval is Kavathu and Avarakkai. Some add pumpkin, raw banana etc to it. Each family has their own recipe. In Kerala, many take upvaas/nolumbu on the day and they abstain from eating rice. Kali is made using arrowroot powder and will have consistency of payasam. During the time of thiruvathirai, shops sell this arrowroot powder. I usually stock it up during this season.

Thiruvathira Kali

Raw rice - 1 cup

Powdered jaggery - 1 cup

Whole moong dal - 2 tblspn

Water - 2 cups

Grated coconut - 3 tblspsn

Elaichi powder - 1/4 tspn

Ghee - 1 tblspn

Wash and drain rice. Roast it over low flame till it is pink. Roast moong dal for few minutes tillyou smell the flavor.  Cool and powder rice and moong dal, not very fine. It should be like rava, slightly coarse and grainy. Then only you will get fluffy kali else it will end up in a sticky mass.

Heat water in a kadai/uruli. When water gets heated, add the powdered jaggery. Bring it a boil. When it starts boiling, stir in the powdered rice rava. Lower the flame and let it cook for few minutes. The water will be fully absorbed as the rice rava gets cooked. Add a tablespoon of ghee and elaichi powder. When the kali appears dry and fluffy, stir in the grated coconut and remove from fire. Cover and leave it to cool. Kali taste best when it is cold.

It’s very easy to prepare kali provided you get the measurements right. The amount of water might differ according to the variety of rice. Usually the ratio of rice to water is 1:2.  This time, I made kali from 3 cups of rice.

Kavathu Poduthuval

Kavathu chopped into cubes - 2 cups

Avarakkai/Indian broad beans - 8 nos

Salt to taste

Turmeric a pinch

To grind

Grated coconut - 1/2 cup

Green chilly - 3 nos

To season

Coconut oil - 1 tblspn

Mustard seeds - 1/2 tspn

Red chilly - 2 nos

Curry leaves


Wash and peel the skin from the kavathu. Chop them into 1 inch cubes. String the beans and cut one into 2 or 3 pieces according to the size. Add turmeric and enough water to the pressure cooker along with the cut vegetables. Pressure cook for two whistles. The consistency of the poduthuval will be of thick gravy. Some prefer it to be dry. This is each one's personal choice. We like it slightly gravy but not runny kind.

Grind the coconut and green chilly coarsely without adding water. Add the ground coconut and salt to the cooked vegetable and bring to a boil. Adjust the consistency by adding water if needed. Do the seasoning and serve hot with the cold kali. This is the only festival I remember where a sweet dish is served with a salty side.

On a different note:

One of my readers Shrilatha sent me pics of recipes tried from Kailas Kitchen along with the New Year wishes. She really made my day. I am happy to share the pics with you all. Thanks Shri for sending the pics across.