Festivals & Significance · Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · Snacks & Tiffin Items

Karadaiyan Nombu Significance & Offerings – Uppu Adai (Steamed rice cakes flavoured with seasonings)

Uppu Adai for Nombu.

Karadaiyan Nombu is the tamil ritual where married women pray for the well being of their husbands and little girls pray to get good husbands in future. This ritual is observed at the time the tamil month of Masi ends and the month of Panguni begins. It`s believed that Savithri who was a very devout wife, saved Satyavan her husband,  from Lord Yama the God of Death. In order to show her gratitude to the Lord, she quickly made “naivedhyam” out of ingredients easily available then and there and offered it to God, along with uncooked butter.I am guessing “Karadai” refers to Kara – adai which means a savoury pancake. There is also the sweetened preparation called Vella Adai. Another ritual , is to offer the adais, a fruit, butter etc to Lord, pray for one`s husband`s well being and tie the Nombu Charadu which is a yellow thread, around the neck. Following the tradition of Karadaiyan Nombu is believed to attain Dheerga Sowmangalyam ( Long Married Life).

Every year when we were small, I remember madurai amma would dutifully tie her madisar so beautifully and get ready for the vratam. Mami and me and D would help in the kitchen in rolling out the dough, flattening them on little square cut banana leaves and placing them in the idli plates. Mami would then steam them out in the cooker and place them in little casseroles. There would be no need to grease the plates as they adais would be directly placed on the idli plates flattened on to the leaves. All one has to do is pull out the leaf and place the piping hot adais on the casseroles. I would love to see the little adais with the banana leaf pattern on one side. I am guessing there is also a flavour angle here, but I can never be too sure. After making the adais, Madurai amma would have laid out little square kolams for us to place the small banana leaf in front of the altar. We would all sit on follow her cue from there. She would place, a banana, the nombu charadu, the kara adai and the vella adai on the leaf and serve a blob of butter and offer it to God. She would also place a similar leaf for the Goddess herself. After tying the charadu to the picture of the Goddess, she would tie it on her neck and then tie each of our charadu on our necks too. Then we would salute the Goddess and then partake our prasadam.

Today, as I was following Madurai amma`s traditions, teaching them to my little daughter, I am reminded of how much devotion she would put in to every festival, every ritual. Her every proportions for dishes that she had taught me over the years, still hold good. I am very lucky to be her grand daughter and to have lived with her and learnt so many things from her. The preparation for kaara adai is also her proportions which are perfect if followed correctly.


1 cup rice flour.

Red beans - Karamani
Red beans – Karamani

2  cups of water.

A handful of cooked red beans (Karamani)

1/3 cup of thinly sliced coconut pieces.

1 Tsp Finely chopped Ginger.

1 spoon of salt.

2 Green  chillies chopped in to fine pieces.

Curry Leaves.

Mustard to season.


  • Dry roast the rice flour for about 7-8 minutes till it becomes a very light shade of yellow, and keep aside.
  • In a kadai, add 2-3 spoons of coconut oil and when hot, add mustard. When the mustard splutters, add chopped coconut, chopped green chillies, curry leaves, cooked red beans and a pinch of hing.
  • Allow to saute for a few minutes and then immediately add 2 cups of water and the salt.
  • Allow for this to boil, like you would do for upma.
  • Now slowly bring the stove to SIM and add the roasted rice flour little by little.
  • Use a whisk to bring it all together. You will see that it becomes a nice cooked ball of rice upma.
  • Grease your hands and also a small ziploc cover on one side. Make a ball from the rice upma and flatten it n the ziploc cover till it becomes the size of a cookie. Make a little hole in the centre and place it on a greased idli plate.
Adai flattened on a greased ziploc cover.
Adai flattened on a greased ziploc cover.
  • Comtinue and finish the dough , place the idli plates in the cooker and steam on high for 8 mins and then simmer and cook without weight for another 7 minutes or so.
Adais ready to get steamed in the idli plates.
Adais ready to get steamed in the idli plates.
  • Remove from idli plates, and serve HOT with uncooked butter.
  • Makes approximately 16-18 adais.
  • Also look at Karadaiyan Nombu Vella Adai.


  1. The most important part of the Nombu Adai is roasting the rice flour until it turns to a consistency where you can almost etch a”kolam” line  with it. Not roasting it properly alters the water absorbed by the Nombu Adai. PLease take care with this.

5 thoughts on “Karadaiyan Nombu Significance & Offerings – Uppu Adai (Steamed rice cakes flavoured with seasonings)

  1. Hi Shoba, happy nonbu, and god bless u with a long happy married life!!

    The pics look great as usual, and tempting. Mine came out well too. Could’nt eat much with my dieting:((

  2. hi shoba,

    hope u had a nice time during nonbu..

    pics r too gud and tempting too.. mine came out well too..
    had a nice time eating it..

  3. Hey Shoba
    I had never tasted Kara adai before. My mom always made vella adai for nombu. I tried your recipe and also advised my mom to make it today. It came out so well for both of us. Thanks a lot for posting this recipe. 🙂

  4. Beautiful pictures…I don’t keep the uppa adai for neivedhyam. I too follow the same proportions. Adding ginger is new to me.

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