Tag Archives: NEIVEDHYAM

¤ VARALAKSHMI VRATHAM NEIVEDHYAM | THENGAI POORANAM KOZHUKATTAI |ULUNDU VADAI | KONDAKADALAI SUNDAL ¤

Varalakshmi Vratham Poojai is celebrated on a friday before the full moon day, in the Tamil Month Sravana (July-August). Worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi this day, is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of all riches, prosperity, agriculural wealth, learning, love and peace, fame and power, Strength, victory and success.

Goddess of wealth and bestower of boons (Varams) – Wow! I sure love to welcome her! “Varalakshmi Ra Ve Ma Intiki“!

On the pooja day, Neivedhyam | Food offerings – Thengai Poornam Kozhukattai – sweet rice flour dumplings made with coconut fillings, Ulundu Vadai -savoury crispy fried doughnuts, Kondakadalai Sundal – tempered grabanzo beans and Pacharisi Idli – idlis made with raw rice are some of the main items prepared. At the end of the pooja, married women and young girls in the house tie the turmeric anointed, yellow sacred thread ‘Nombu sharadu’. These lovely delicacies make all in the family want to welcome her even more!

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Busy picture depicting the busy festival day! Thengai pooranam Kozhukkattai to the left, Ulundu Vadai and Kondakadalai Sundal on the right hand side – neivedhiyam for Varalakshmi Vratham! “Varalakshmi Ra Ve Ma Intiki“!

THENGAI POORANAM KOZHUKATTAI 

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 1 hr; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for the Thengai pooranam :

  • One big fresh Cococnut
  • 200 gms powdered Jaggery
  • 9 green cardamoms

Method for preparing the Thengai pooranam :

  1. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Powder the jaggery. Heat it in a vessel along with about 2-3 tbsp water. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water, come to a boil, froth up and thicken to form a syrup with a divinely sweet aroma. Add the grated coconut and stir over low flame. Cook till all the water is absorbed and the fillings become sticky. Add the powdered cardamom, cool and keep covered.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukakattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour (arecanut size) and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the coconut filling | thengai pooranam and seal it on all sides forming a conical shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 – 15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

Tip :

Children can be involved in the last step activity of preparing the Kozhukakattai and make them feel a part of the ceremony. They love to prepare the kozhukakkattais and do a great job of it. Help from any quarter is welcome on a busy day of festivity!

ULUNDU VADAI | BLACK GRAM DHAL VADAI

Prep time : 2 – 3 hours; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups Black gram lentils
  • 7 – 9 green chilies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 10 – 15 curry leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • OIl for frying

Method :

  1. Soak the black gram lentils for 2 – 3 hours (soaking for a longer time results in crispy vadais). Drain and grind it well to a smooth dough with only salt in a wet grinder. In the meantime finely chop the green chilies and curry leaves, grate the ginger and add it to the dough. Mix well.
  2. Heat oil in a wok | bandli. Take little dough and flatten it out into a circle shape, on a wet piece of plaintain leaf or your wet palm. Make a hole in the centre using the finger. Gently slide it out and slide it into the hot oil. Cook well on both sides, till reddish brown on both sides. Remove it out with a slotted spoon, to drain off excess oil and place it on an absorbent paper. It is now ready  for neiveidhyam.

KONDAKADALAI SUNDAL

Prep time : 9 hrs; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 500 gms kondakadalai | chick peas | kabuli channa
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the chick peas overnight. Next morning drain, wash and pressure cook the chick peas with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked chick peas, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the chick peas are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready for neiveidhyam.

¤ THENGAI PAL PAYASAM| COCONUT MILK PAYASAM ¤

On the friday following the Varalakshmi Vratham poojai, Coconut payasam is prepared. The coconut  which was kept on the ‘Kalasam’ for the poojai is stored in a rice bag, through the week and then used for this preparation.This payasam recipe is vegan and gluten free.

Pure goodness of delicious, smooth, flavoured coconut milk is indeed a treat for the Gods!

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Prep time : 30 mins; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • 1 large coconut
  • 2 tsp rice
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sugar or jaggery
  • 7 – 9 green cardamoms
  • 7 – 9 saffron strands
  • a dash of grated nutmeg powder
  • a pinch of edible camphor | pachai karpooram
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1, 2, 3 Coconut milk extracts and the simmering ‘Coconut Milk Payasam’ made with palm sugar.

Method :

  1. Wash, rinse and soak the rice in lukewarm water for about 15 mins.
  2. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamom in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Grind the grated coconut along with the soaked rice and about 1 1/2 cups of warm water in a blender. Filter with a strainer or a muslin cloth and obtain the 1st extract of (coconut + rice) milk. Repeat the procedure twice, to obtain the 2nd and 3rd extract of (coconut + rice) milk.
  4.  Mix and pour all the milk extracts into a vessel and heat it over a low flame and stir continuously. When it gets heated up, add sugar or jaggery and when it starts to simmer, switch of heat and add cardamom powder, grated nutmeg powder, saffron and pachai karpooram (lends a divine aroma). Coconut payasam is ready for neivedhyam.

Note :

  1. Do not allow the milk to boil as the milk will curdle. On the other hand, if removed too soon, it will have a raw smell. The thumb rule is to allow the milk to get hot enough i.e upto its simmering point but not be allowed to boil.
  2. Since it is for neivedhyam, one can err on lower levels of sugar. If required one may add more sugar after the neivedhyam.

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¤ VINAYAKA | PILLAYAR | GANESH CHATURTHI NEIVEDHYAM | THENGAI KOZHUKKATTAI | UPPU KOZHUKKATTAI ¤

Ganesha | Ganapati | Vinayaka is one of the most popular and much loved, amongst the pantheon of Hindu gods!

He is the Lord of success, education, knowledge, wisdom, wealth and the one to be invoked for an auspicious start of any venture or beginnings in life, as he nonchalantly removes all obstacles and evils on the way!

Ganesha, the elephant headed deity with a mouse as his vehicle – His unique form has great significance!

Ganesha’s elephant head symbolizes, the Atman or the soul – the ultimate supreme reality and his huge pot-bellied human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om (or Auṃ, Sanskrit: ॐ) – the sound symbol of cosmic universe.

In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him to smoothly propel mankind forward, on the eternal path, by destroying any obstacles encountered. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is an implement to capture all difficulties.

The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice for writing the Mahabaratha. The rosary in his other hand suggests that, the pursuit of knowledge is continuous.

The laddoos | Modaks | Kozhukattais (sweets) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petitions. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. He is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness, pride and riding the mouse exemplifies the need to control our ego.

The festival to celebrate his birthday and glorify him is ‘Ganesh Chaturthi | Vinayak Chaturthi’. Eco-friendly materials are used to make Ganesha idols, primarily wet mud or clay is used  for moulding and either done at home or bought. On the day of the festival, the idol is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoors, for people to view and pay homage. In the state of Maharashtra this festival is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. Most elaborate, huge and gigantic idols are displayed and the celebrations last for 10 days, culminating on ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’. When the final day dawns, all join in a procession, carry the idol to the river, immerse it and shout “Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” (O father Ganesha, come again early next year)

Modaks | Kozhukkatais are his favourite. In many versions and variations, this is one of the main items made as an offering for him – a win-win activity to get his blessings and gorge on these rare delicacies!

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Offerings for Vinayaka Chaturthi. First row – the making of Thengai pooranam Kozhukkattais | Steamed Sweet dumplings . Second row – the making of Ulutham pooranam Kozhukkattais | Steamed Savoury dumplings.
 VELLAM KOZHUKKATTAI  | THENGAI POORANAM KOZHUKKATTAI (same as Varalakshmi Vratham naivedhyam) 

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 1 hr; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for the Thengai pooranam :

  • One big fresh Cococnut
  • 200 gms powdered Jaggery
  • 9 green cardamoms

Method for preparing the Thengai pooranam :

  1. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Powder the jaggery. Heat it in a vessel along with about 2-3 tbsp water. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water, come to a boil, froth up and thicken to form a syrup with a divinely sweet aroma. Add the grated coconut and stir over low flame. Cook till all the water is absorbed and the fillings become sticky. Add the powdered cardamom, cool and keep covered.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour (arecanut size) and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the coconut filling | thengai pooranam and seal it on all sides forming a conical shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 – 15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

ULUTHAM POORANAM KOZHUKKATTAI  | UPPU KOZHUKKATTAI :

Prep time : 1 hr; Cooking time : 45 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for Ulutham Pooranam :

  • 3/4 cup black gram lentil | udad dal
  • 3 tbsp bengal gram lentil | channa dal
  • 9 – 12 green chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida | hing
  • 3 tsp of sesame oil
  • salt as required

Method for preparing the Ulutham Pooranam :

  1. Soak the black gram lentil along with the bengal gram lentil for atleast 1 hour.
  2. Drain off the lentils completely and grind it in a blender along with the green chilies and salt.
  3. Steam the smooth ground lentils paste after placing it on Idli plates stand, in a pressure cooker for 15 – 20 mins, till cooked. Check with a spoon if the mixture does not stick then it is cooked, else steam it for another 5 -10 mins. Once cooked, cut it into small pieces and crumble it onto a plate.
  4. Heat oil in a bandli | wok, add mustard seeds, let them splutter then add curry leaves and asafoetida. Fry for a few secs, then add the crumbled steam cooked lentils and fry for another 10 mins. Switch off heat.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukkattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the black gram lentil filling | uluthum pooranam, fold and seal it on the side forming a half moon shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 – 15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

Tip :

  1. Children and hubby can be involved in the last step activity of preparing the Kozhukakattai and make them feel a part of the ceremony. They love to prepare the kozhukkattais and do a great job of it. One need not get too fastidious about the shape, round is a shape too! The larger picture is to go ahead and enjoy making these lovely treats, which taste great in any shape!
  2. There are ready made moulds available to shape the kozhukkattais but personally I prefer hand moulded ones, they have an old world charm about them!