Wednesday, May 2, 2012


‘Thiruvaadirai’ is celebrated in Kerala / Tamil Nadu. It falls on the ‘Thiruvaadirai’ star day of ‘Dhanu’ month – (Dec 15 – 15 Jan).
On 'Thiruvaadirai' morning, ladies wake up at dawn, have an early bath and prepare ‘kali’ and ‘kaavithu curry’ and offer ‘neivedhyam’. The family goes to temple to offer prayers.
‘Kai kotti kali’ (a graceful dance form) is performed by the ladies on the occasion.
I am giving you my sister Hema Krishnan’s recipe for Kali – it is a tried and tested hit in the family. She is an expert at making ‘kaavithu’ too – I don’t make it because my family doesn’t like it! We have ‘kali’ with home-made white butter.


Raw rice – 1 cup
Yellow moong dal – 1 tbsp
Jaggery – 1 ½ cups

Salt – a small pinch
Water – 2 ½ cups
Ghee – 2 tbsps
Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Cashew nuts/ raisins (optional) - 1 tbsp each

Soak rice in water for half an hour. Wash well and drain off the water.
Spread and leave for one hour.
Dry roast the rice in a kadhai till it turns a yellowish brown.
Cool and powder it coarsely (like rawa) in a dry grinder. Sieve to remove fine powder if any.
Dry roast the moong dal till light brown.
Add 2 ½ cups of water and 1 ½ cups of jaggery and reduce the heat to a minimum.
When the jaggery has dissolved, add a pinch of salt and the rice flour and stir well, making sure there are no lumps.
Turn off the heat.
Pour the mixture in a vessel and put it in the pressure cooker and cook like rice. (5 - 6 minutes after a whistle).
Heat ghee in a pan, and fry cashews and raisins separately till golden brown.
When the cooker has cooled, add ghee, grated coconut, cardamom powder and fried cashews and raisins to the kali and stir well.
After offering ‘naivedhyam’ serve to the waiting family along with butter / kaavithu.


Kaavithu kizhangu – 250 gms - cubed
Sweet potato – 125 gms – cubed
Pumpkin – 125 gms - cubed
Broad beans (avarakka) – 100 gms – 1 cm pieces
Green peas – 3 tbsps
Potato (optional) – 1 small – cubed
Grated coconut – 3-4 tbsp
Green chilli – 1-2 (crushed)
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coconut oil – 1-2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Red chilli – 2 pieces
Curry leaves – 8-10
Salt to taste

Put all the vegetables in a vessel, add enough water and add turmeric powder and salt and pressure cook till vegetables are cooked (nearly 5 minutes after a whistle).
Stir and gently mash the vegetables after the cooker cools.
Heat coconut oil in a kadhai and add mustard seeds, urad dal and red chillis, followed by curry leaves.
Add the mixed vegetables and grated coconut and crushed green chillis and stir.
Serve hot with kali.

This curry tastes good with chapathi too.
If ‘kaavithu’ is not available, you can use potatoes instead.

© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.

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