Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Thiruvadharai Upperi – Vegetables steamed and spiced with coconut chilli paste.

The complimenting Neivedhyam for Thiruvadharai Kali would be the Upperi or rather a version of select steamed vegetables, spiced generously with ground coconut and green chillies.  The Upperi as I remember is a combination of various tubers and roots that are combined and cooked to get the most delicious preparation. I remember as a child, when Thiruvadharai was around the corner, I knew a trip to the local crowded vegetable market at Ranganathan Street would happen pretty soon. Since the monsoons would have just finished, it would be a herculean task, just to walk in that crowded street. My friend would quip light heartedly that all one needs to do, was to stand at the beginning of Ranganathan street…the crowd would pull you to the very end!!! That said, one would hardly look forward to a weekend trip here, coming back with bagfulls of tubers and vegetables. Nevertheless, it had to be done…every year unfailingly, until, one day Madurai amma was convinced about buying it from  the vegetable man, pulling his own cart, quoting his own fancy price.


1/2 cup chopped Raw Banana.

1/2 cup chopped Potatoes.

1/2 cup chopped Kavathu Kazhangu.

1/2 cup Flat Bean/Avaraikka slit in to 1 inch square pieces.

1/2 cup Koorkai / Chinese Potatoes

1/2 cup Mochai / Valor Lilva.

1/2 cup Sweet Potatoes.

1/2 cup fresh coconut.

4-5 green chillies.

2 spoons of coconut oil.



Mustard, Curry Leaves, Hing.


  • Remove the skins from  the potatoes, raw banana, sweet potatoe, Koorkai, Kavathu , wash and chop them in to slightly big one inch pieces.
  • Arrange them in the base of a cooker vessel.
  • Next arrange the valor lilva/mochai over the root tubers.
  • Now chop the Avaraikka / flat bean over the valor lilva and add enough water for the vegetables to cook.
  • We keep the root tubers at the base as they would need to cook more.
  • Add salt and turmeric and steam in the pressure cooker for 1 whistle.
  • Remove from cooker and allow to cool.
  • Grind the coconut and green chillies to a rough paste and set aside.
  • In a kadai, add coconut oil, mustard, curry leaves and hing and slowly add all the cooked vegetables without breaking them with the spatula.
  • Mix well for a couple of minutes and then add the ground coconut paste.
  • Allow a couple minutes for the coconut mix to spread on to the vegetables.
  • Offer Thiriuvadharai Upperi to the Lord as Neivethyam.
Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Avaraikkai, Mochai and Koorkai Poriyal.(Broad Beans,Lilva and Chinese Potatoes Poriyal)

Avaraikkai, Mochai & koorkai Poriyal.
Avaraikkai, Mochai & koorkai Poriyal.

Koorkai is a favourite for me even when I was in Madras, as this was a pretty seasonal root, that you would get only during december/january. It is an important addition to the vegetables that we use in “Thiruvadharai Upperi”. My mum would soak it for some time and rub is against a rough surface so it would get clean. Cleaning the Koorkai is the most difficult portion of  labour before relishing its taste. Then you would have to painstakingly remove the skin and chop it before you cook it in steam, AND THEN it becomes ready to be used in Mozhukkuperati, or upperi or molagootal….So much for this rare tuber!!!

I was really missing it when I moved to the U.S, but when I visited my aunt in PLano, in December `08, I found cleaned, cut and frozen koorkai in in indian store near her place. I was delirious with joy and I guess I bought 4-5 packets, as my husband was darting looks that very clearly spelt “baffled”. Not that I minded. I knew this was a seasonal vegetable and I had to stock  up for the year! Today was an exceptionally cold day and I really felt like having this fragrant vegetable, so I combined to make a  Poriyal with Avaraikkai and Mochai. In my mind, I guess I was trying to make up for the root, by adding a pulse and a high fibre vegetable.

It`s a pretty simply recipe, so here you go…


Avaraikkai             – 1 cup (Valor/Broad Bean) chopped in to 1 inch pieces.

Koorkai                   – 1 cup. (cleaned and chopped in to small pieces)

Mochai                   – 1 cup ( Valor Lilva)

Coconut                 – 3 tsp.




Mustard seeds, Broken Urad dhal, Curry Leaves, Red Chillis (2-3)


  • Take a kadai and pour in two spoons of oil and allow to get hot. Slip in the urad dhal and the red chillies and allow it to get a little brown and now drop in the mustard seeds and the curry leaves and a dash of hing.
  • Add the chopped vegetables and add sufficient salt and sprinkle water and allow to cook on a medium low flame.
  • Allow to cook for a good fifteen minutes and sprinkle dessicated coconut.
  • Serve HOT with Vengaya Sambar.