Friday, January 9, 2009

Thiruvadirai - KALI & KARI

The festival of "Thiruvadirai" more known as "Arudra Dharshanam" is celebrated more in South India. As Lord Shiva is the god without birth, the "Tiruvadira" star of the Markazhi(Tamil month dec 15th to jan 15th)month is taken to be a vratham. It is important as this was the day Lord Shiva is said to have appeared to the saint Pathanjali & Vyaagra paadha.

According to legends once Aadhi sesha desired to see the dance of Lord Shiva and asked Maha Vishnu for a remedy. Lord Vishnu asked him to go to Chidambaram and to tapasya. Similarly the saint Vyaagra paadha also was doing the same to see Lord Shiva.

Pleased with the penance(tapasya) , Lord Shiva is said to have appeared and danced for the devottee.

A sweet dish called KALI and multi vegetable side dish "KARI" or "THALAKAM" are offered and eaten to celebrate this great joy of seeing the dance of the Lord.


Raw Rice - 1 Cup
Moong Dal - 1/4 Cup
Jaggery - 1 to 1 1/4 cups(depending on the sweetness of the jaggery)
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Cardamom - 2 powdered
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup

Wash raw rice in hot water for 10 minutes and drain completely. Once all the water is out and the wetness is reduced, take a pan and dry roast the rice until golden brown. Let it cool. Then powder it to the consistency of (white rava/sooji).
Clean jaggery by mixing with a 1/4 cup of water and strain it. This removes all dirt from the jaggery. The total water to be used in the recipe should be inclusive of the water used for straining the jaggery too. In a cooker vessel, add the powdered rice, add the jaggery water and the remaining quantity required for the recipe.

Pressure cook for 3 whistles. let it cool.
Gently dry roast the grated coconut and add it to the cooked rice along with the powdered cardamom. Add 1 tsp of ghee(optional).


There are many recipes for this. The one am giving here is more adaptive to the ones made in Kerala.

Mixed vegetables - Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Snow Peas(Closest to Avarakai), Lima Beans, Colocasia, Indian Yam, peas, carrots, squash - around 3 lbs
Salt - to Taste
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Coconut - grated 1 cup
Green chillies(Serrano peppers) - 2-3(adjust according to the required level of hotness required)
Curry leaves - 5-6
Coconut oil - 1-2 Tbsp
Powdered kali powder(the powdered rice used for Kali) - 1 Tbsp
In India usually 7 varieties of root vegetables are used along with 3 varieties of plant grown vegetables to make this Kari.
Cook vegetables with turmeric powder & salt. Once vegetables are over cooked add curry leaves and let boil. Grind coconut & green chillies into a paste and add to the vegetables. Let is foam. Dont let it overboil. Add the powdered kali rice and then coconut oil and close the vessel and let it set. Adding coconut oil in the kari, infuses more flavor into it and it tastes just YUMMY.

Serve warm kali with hot kari(thalakam).
Some cultures also make one more dish called "Pulingari"/"kozhambu". The ingredients are similar mixed vegetables boiled & cooked in tamarind water, grind coconut with red chillies,channa dal, urad dal & little coriander seeds and add to the cooked vegetable mixture. This makes the Pulingari.

Have a nice "Arudhra Darshanam".