Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thiruvadirai Kali and Thalagam

         I am thoroughly enjoying running this blog marathon.I have been feasting my eyes on varieties of dishes,some new, some evoking nostalgia and some that I want to make right now.Looking at the length of my new bookmarks I am one lucky gal.I loved visiting new blogs and learning about my fellow runners.It's been great folks.Please join me in a giving a huge applause and pat in the back to Nupur of One Hot Stove, for conducting, running, compiling and finishing her own(longer) countdown marathon. Happy New Year 2010 to all my readers and fellow bloggers!
       For my recipe # 1 of the 7 day recipe countdown marathon, I would like to present the exclusive dishes made on Thiruvadirai (which falls on Jan 1, 2010).This is the day the star Arudra(red flame), is visible in the southern hemisphere.Lord Nataraja manifests as light and shows himself to devotees(Arudra darisanam ).Great abhisekhams(sacred bath) are performed in temples especially the Chidambaram temple in Tamilnadu.The sweet dish Kali is made today as prasadam..One of his staunch devotees Sendanaar, usually ate the leftover of what he offered to the lord and  only after distributing to the other devotees.On Thiruvadirai day,he could only offer the simple kali preparation .When he  felt bad that, that is all he could offer,Lord Nataraja showered him with kali to show him how pleased he was with Sendanaar's devotion.Making,offering  to Lord and eating this kali prasadam is likened to attaining bliss showered from Lord Nataraja.

Blissful Kali ( serves 2-3)

Raw rice      1 cup
tuvar dal /moong dal      1/4 cup
jaggery (crushed)        1 1/2 cup
crushed cardamom(take out seeds from)  4
grated coconut  flakes  2 cups
cashews(broken) 5-6
clarified butter 1 tbsp

1.Dry roast the rice and tuvar dal/moong dal( I use tuvar)  in a heavy bottomed pan with lid, till it is slightly pink.
2.Let it cool a little and grind it in a mixer until is coarse to fine ground(slight texture is necessary).Keep aside.Roast some cashews in clarifies butter and keep aside.
3.Heat about 3 cups of water in the pan and let the jaggery dissolve in it.After it completely dissolves ,filter it in a fine sieve , to take out impurities in it.Put the filtered Jaggery water, back on heat.
4.When it starts boiling, put the ground rice little by little while stirring.Add coconut, cardamom and cashews.
5.When everything is mixed together.Pressure cook this mixture like you would cook rice.Else, keep stirring every 5 minutes until the rice is cooked in pan (takes about 20 minutes total).Some people like to cook the dal separately and add it.But I cut it short by grinding it with rice.

Kali is ready! Serve it with a savoury Thalagam.


Tuvar dal        1 1/2 cups
grated coconut  2 cups
tamraind paste 1 1/2 tsp
or tamarind lemon sized
asafoetida     1/2 tsp
oil           2 tbsps
coconut oil     4 tsps
turmeric powder       1 tsp
Sambar powder  3 tsps
red chillies       10
chana dal/kadala paruppu   2 tbsps
dhaniya/coriander seeds    1 1/2 tbsps
mustard seeds   2 tsps
Jaggery(crushed)     2 tsps
salt as needed

Veggies that can be used (Number of veggies are selected in odd numbers starting from 7 like 9,13,15 etc traditionally), are
red pumpkin(required),
green tomatoes,
sweet potato yam/chakkaravalli(required),
elephant yam,
karuna kizhangu,
green plaintains(required),
green chillies,
green peas,
curry leaves.
Don't use onion,drumsticks,radish or capsicum for an authentic taste.

1.Pressure cook the tuvar dal and peeled yams (except sweet potato) in the cooker.
2.cut the rest of the veggies into big cubes. Take a open mouthed saucepan ,put the veggies in enough water to just submerge, to boil with turmeric powder,sambar powder and a little salt.
3.Once the yams are done,add them to the pan with other veggies.
4.In another fry pan,heat a little oil,add chana dal,dhaniya,red chillies and asafoetida and fry till dal is red.
5.Grind after it cools into powder,then add the coconut and grind again with a little water into a paste.Add it to cooked tuvar dal,and pour in the saucepan with boiling veggies.
6.Add the tamarind paste,If the thalagam is thick add a little water to thin it into a soup consistency( it will thicken with time).Let it boil for another 10 minutes to blend the ingredients.
7.Switch off heat and add the jaggery.
8. Heat a little coconut oil, temper mustard seeds till they sputter, add curry leaves and coriander leaves to the thalagam.Stir well.

              Thalagam is ready to serve with Kali.There are variations of this thalagam, through out the southern states,some with sessame seeds.I follow two versions,the second version will be provided later sometime.
              The taste doubles and triples with time as the veggies tend to add flavor.This dish is made is huge quantities than usual, the week following Thiruvadirai, it is reheated to make Ericha Kuzhambu( nothing but heated kuzhambu).The flavours get concentrated and tastes divine.


  1. i made this once and it was nowhere as good as what is supposed to be the "traditional' flavour. happy new year.

  2. this is so new to me.. sounds very traditional.. Wishing you a very Happy New Year..:)


  3. Sweet and Spicy ... just the perfect ending to a great marathon and year!

    I look forward to hearing from you often, sharing and swapping, in the coming year too. Wish you a very, very Happy New Year!

  4. hey, Isnt tomorrow the thiruvadiral, Birthday of Shiva? I am from chidambaram and everyone back home makes this on this day..wonderful..

    Happy new Year

  5. Thiruvadarai - kootu and kali, awesome combi of sweet and kaaram. Happy New Year to u and ur family.


  6. Ramya, I loved reading this lovely post, with the tale behind the kali and the detailed recipes. Thalagam sounds similar to a very special sambhar? I am crazy about sambhar and anything like it :):)

    Wishing you all good things in 2010!

  7. Great post... and thanks for reminding that tomm is Thiruvadirai :)

    Wishing you a wonderful year ahead

  8. Ramya thanks for sharing your culture with us. Recipe are never just that, always so laden with tradition.

  9. Blissful indeed. I think my Sunday is going to be all about thalagam.

    Here's wishing you a wonderful 2010.

  10. Oh- It's been such a while since I have eaten Thiruvadirai kali and thalgam. I remember loving this though. Thank you for the recipe!!

  11. The thalagam and kali looks wonderful. I just made it yesterday but every recipe is so different. Every family has its own recipe. Happy& Healthy New year to you and your family!!!!

  12. Ramya, Hi!

    I am new to blogging and I find it heart-warming to see some of the traditional tamil food I grew up eating, appearing on your blog.

    My take on traditional food is that, I adapt it wherever possible to combine the Healthy with the Decadent.

    In that same vein, my recipe for Thiruvathirai Kali now has broken wheat in place of the traditional rice flour...everyone loved it even my toddler, who like most toddlers is a fussy eater!!!

    Keep the recipes coming...
    In that same vein, my recipe for Thiruvathirai Kali now has broken wheat in place of the traditional rice flour...will post the recipe soon...everyone loved it even my toddler, who like most toddlers is a fussy eater!!!

  13. I made the Kali from your recipe and it came out reallly tasty. I can say Tried and tested here too!! The taste was a little different from how my mom makes it , mom makes it with moong dal instead of Tuvar.