Thirivadharai Kali is one of the most simple of all the neivethyams. It is made with the everyday ingredients available in the pantry. It is also a very healthy option for snack as its made out of rice thats beaten, dry roasted and then steam cooked. Jaggery which is the other ingredient is also a healthy addition to this simple and wholesome preparation.
1 cup of raw rice.
1/4 cup of raw moong dal.
1 cup of Jaggery grated.
3 cups of Water.
Ground Cardamom Powder.
Handful of Broken cashew.
1/4 cup of Fresh Coconut.
Measure out the cupful of raw rice and put it in a dry kadai. Keep the flame on medium high and roast it until the rice turns a dull red. Another indication is the pleasant aroma of roasted rice. Set aside.
Now follow the same procedure with the raw moong.
Allow the roasted rice and moong to cool down and then transfer to a mixer.
Powder the rice and the moong to a coarse consistency. It should not be ground fine. Set aside in an air-tight container to keep any moisture from getting in the powder.
Keep fresh coconut and ground cardamom powder ready.
In a kadai pour the water and wait for it to come to a slow boil.
Now pour the jaggery, powdered rice and moong in to the water and whisk it to dissolve all the lumps.
In a few seconds, it will cook in the water just like rava upma. Remove from the stove and transfer to a vessel.
Add enough water in the pressure cooker and steam cook with weight up to two whistles.
When done, remove from cooker and allow to cool. Use your hands and roughly break the clumps to form a wet sand like consistency.
In another kadai, add a spoon of ghee and roast cashews.
Add the kali in to the kadai and saute for a few minutes.
Add powdered cardamom and fresh coconut and mix well.
Every year, the month of “Marghazi” is of very special significance as it heralds new beginnings, the new year, the music season in Tamil Nadu made redolent with the myraid performances of senior music stalwarts in the various halls, Vaikunta Ekadasi, and of course Thiruvadharai. When I actually embarked on the significance of this day I found so many different versions, all of them confluencing on the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva.
This festival occurs on the day of the Arudra star in the tamil month of Marghazi, and is of course of special significance to Lord Shiva. This day also marks the auspicious time for Arudra Darisanam – of Lord Nataraja in the Saivite temples all over Tamilnadu. This celebration is marked by abhishekams to Nataraja and his consort Sivakami during the full moon night, and worship services such as the Deepa Aradhanai to Natarajar amidst the chanting of sanskrit and tamil hymns and the waving of lamps, in the pre-dawn hours, when the moon still shines bright, an enactment of the dance of Shiva, and a grand procession through the processional streets.
Although there is a shrine to Natarajar, in virtually all of the Saivite temples in Tamilnadu, five of these are considered to be the Pancha Sabhais or the five cosmic dance halls of Shiva. The five dance halls are:
The Vella Kozhukattais or the sweet modhakas is an all time favourite of mine since I was a little girl. When I was a little girl, we lived in a big joint family so any festival was celebrated with lots of fun and fanfare. Every year for Vinayaka Chathurthi, Madurai amma would make us the outer dough for us to work on and my sister D and me would make little cups out of the dough, fill it with the “Poornam” and arrange it neatly in little idli plates for steaming. Although we would be longing to eat the neivedhyam, we would have to wait until the entire pooja was over and we would get only 3 or 4.Mum would always promise me that she would make it for us on another day so we could have it to our heart`s content. Of course, that day would never come until the next Vinayaka Chathurthi the next year…
Now, my daughter S loves them so much that I decided to make it whenever possible, as often as I can. For instance every month for Sankatahara Chathurthi to offer it as Neivedhyam to the Lord. Sankatahara Chathurthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha in a traditional Hindu lunar month. It falls during the waning phase of the moon – fourth day after the full moon. Staunch Ganesha devotees observe a fast on the day.Fasting on Sankatahara Chaturthi begins at sunrise and ends after evening puja or after sighting the moon. Ganesh Temples conduct special pujas on the day.It is widely believed by Ganesha devotees that observing Sankashta Chaturthi will bring material progress, happiness and fulfillment of desires.
3/4 – 1 cup of grated jaggery(Depending on brand, degree of sweetness etc)
1 tsp of powdered cardamom.
1 tbsp of milk.( If needed)
2-3 tbsp of water.
Always prepare the poornams or filling ahead as the outer dough has to be made last just before consolidating the Kozhukattais.
In a kadai add the jaggery and very little water about 2 Tbsp and 1 tbsp milk and allow to melt.
When the jaggery is well melted add the fresh grated coconut and mix well.
Also put in the powdered cardamom and stir in well until the mixture leaves the sides.
I prefer to make my poornam a little thicker by keeping it on the stove for a longer time to enable me to make them in to balls.
Cool the poornam filling and make them in to little balls.
Keep the Kozhukattai outer dough prepared and ready as per instructions here . Keep it covered under a moist cloth and over that a lid to preserve the moisture and the warmth.
Create an assembly line with the Poornam balls, outer dough, greased idli plates and a small cup having 2-3 spoons of coconut oil.
Grease your palms with coconut oil and then take a ball of the outer dough and smoothen it between your palms.
Make a little depression with your thumb and make it in to the shape of a diya with smooth sides.
Fill the depression with the coconut jaggery poornam and close the edges and seal it with your fingers.
Continue until you finish the poornam filling.
If you have the outer dough left over, you can add a little more salt and make delicious Ammini Kozhukattais.
Arrange all the prepared modhakams for steaming on the greased idli plate.
Steam it in the pressure cooker for 10 – 12 minutes just as you would do with idlis.
Remove from steam, transfer to a casserole or container and enjoy after offering it to Lord Ganesha.
Wishing all my readers a very Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi.
If your sweet poornam/filling is not as thick as you would like it to be, dont fret. Allow it to sit on the stove for a couple of minutes more and add 1 spoon or two of wheat flour. This will bind them together.
Another option is to make rough balls and pop them in to the refrigerator for a few minutes. This will automatically firm them up.
Before steaming the prepared Modhakas, keep them covered as if they exposed to the air etc, they get dry and crack up. This might render the poornam to seep out during steaming.
Festivals have been an integral part of our lives and they usher in so much of redundant goodness and positive vibrations. Every festival has its own significance and I try to capture as much as I can with what I have lived with, in my childhood. It`s more an effort to showcase to my daughter all the traditions that I had grown up with, although in many cases it can never be the same. It`s always better with a grandmother in the household, leading the way for all of us to learn. I do miss the fact that my daughter is not growing up in a joint family, with elders to guide and grow with….
Nei Appam is a staple “neivedhyam” for karthikai deepam, avani avittam, Krishna Jayanthi etc. I remember the lovely heavy bronze Appakaral that Madurai amma had with its huge curvy depressions. I have an Appa Karal thats made of non stick and very shallow depressions. I do miss the heaviness and the beauty of the bronze one I am used to.
1/2 cup of Rice soaked for 3-4 hours.
A little less than 1/2 cup of Jaggery. (I don`t prefer the dripping with sweetness taste)
1/2 a ripe banana.
1 tsp cardamom seeds powdered.
1/4 cup of finely chopped coconut pieces.
Clean the soaked rice and put in to a mixer jar. Pulse it to grind to a smooth paste adding little water .
Crush the ripe banana with a fork. Grate the jaggery with a peeler or knife. Set aside.
Now add the ripe banana and the grated jaggery and pulse it once again to mix it well. The jaggery pours out more water in to the mixture.
It is always better to watch the water added as we dont want the batter too runny.
Pour out the batter in to a vessel and add the chopped coconut pieces. Stir well.
In the Appa Karal add a few spoons of ghee and allow to heat.
Pour out the batter in to the depressions and allow to cook well on one side.
Now flip it over with a knife or a skewer and allow the other side to cook in the ghee.
When done, it would look a little crusty on the outside.
Remove and allow the ghee to drain on a tissue.
The Nei Appam should be a littl crusty on the outside but soft and spongy on the inside, with the aromas of the cardamom, ripe banana and fried coconut pieces.
Offer to the Lord and ENJOY!
Retried the recipe today and I added 1 spoon of wheat flour and a pinch of baking soda to the ground batter.The results was an astonishingly crunchy crust with a very soft spongy inner layer!!!