EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: TAMIL NADU CUISINE
A bit about the group:
The month of September was when the Shhh Cooking Secretly Group visited the state of Tamil Nadu. This group is where members get together to cook a dish on the decided theme. We are paired up and we give each other two ingredients to cook with. This group was started by Priya of Priya’s Versatile Recipes.
It was so difficult to pick a particular dish from this exciting cuisine. Before I can enlighten you with the popular dishes from Tamil Nadu lets get to know a bit more about the state.
Facts about Tamil Nadu:
Tamil Nadu is situated in the most southern part of India. The capital of this state is more popularly known as Madras but its official name is Chennai. Tamil Nadu follows the motto “Truth Alone Triumphs.” Most of the people of Tamil Nadu are involved in agriculture. The state is the largest producer of bananas, turmeric and tapioca. It is the second largest producer of coconut, mango and ground nuts.
Did you know that Tamil, the language spoken in Tamil Nadu is one of the oldest classical languages still spoken today? Bharatnatyam, the famous classical dance originates from Tamil Nadu. The Marina Beach is the longest beach in the world and the second largest. Tamil Nadu has over 30,000 temples, the most famous one being Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Home to Kancheepuram Sarees, the silk weavers are believed to be descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of Gods.Carved Rock Structures at Mahabalipuram date back to the 7th and 8th Century.
Tamil Nadu Cuisine
Tamil Nadu is widely known for its variety in both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. Rice, lentils and legumes are widely used to prepare most of the dishes. Traditional dishes are served on a banana leaf. Tamil Nadu is well known for the following:
- Idlis – seamed rice cakes
- Dosas – rice and lentil flatbread
- Vadai – lentil fritters
- Upma – a breakfast dish made using vegetables, semolina or broken wheat
- Puttu – steamed cylindrical rice cakes
- Uttapam – pancake savoury
- Idiyappam – rice noodles
- Sambar – a curry served with idli, dosa, rice
- Kara Kuzhumbu – spicy stew made using coconut or lentils
- Poriyal – dry vegetable preparation
- Kootu – vegetables served with coconut or dal
- varuval – fried vegetables or meats
- Rasam – tamarind based soup like curry
- Keerai Masiyal – Ground greens
- Aviyal – cooked vegetables with yogurt
- Pachadi – which are simple salad
- Thovaiya – chutneys ground to a paste
- Oorukai – pickles
- Payasam – milk based dessert
- Pongal – rice cooked in water or milk
- Paniyaram – small snack made from batter in an aebleskiver or paniyaram pan
- Kozhukattai – steamed little rice dumplings
Why did I make Paal Kozhukkatai?
Paal Kozhukkatai s what I’ve wanted to try out ever since I made kara kozhukkatai. My partner for this cuisine, Priya Satheesh has a wide selection of Tamil dishes on her blog Priya’s Menu like Lemon Idli Upma or Ven Pongal which I would like to try out. She gave me coconut milk and cardamom and I recommended that she uses potato and bay leaf in her dish. She made a delicious looking kumbakonam kadapa and luckily with the ingredients she gave me I finally tried out Paal Kozhukkatai.
Are there other Tamil dishes I’ve tried out?
Yes there definitely are. I’ve made my all time favourite idli and sambhar. My hubby enjoys his uttapams. Kara kozhuttai (savoury ones) has become my favourite snack ever since I tried it the first time at a neighbor’s place. Check out my colorful kuzhi paniyaram recipe.
What is Paal Kozhukkatai?
Paal in Tamil language is milk and kozhukkatai are small steamed rice dumplings. For this recipe, the small rice balls are not steamed but are boiled in a mixture of water and milk. The sweetener used is either refined sugar or jaggery. For that authentic taste used jaggery. Coconut milk and fresh grated coconut are both added towards the end. For flavoring I used cardamom powder and saffron.
Making this delicious dessert is not difficult at all.
For the kozhukattai:
½ cup rice flour
½ cup milk
½ cup water
1 tbsp ghee
¼ tsp salt
For the Paal:
½ cup milk
1 cup water
½ cup thick coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
½ tsp cardamom powder
few strands of saffron
⅓ – ½ cup jaggery powder
- Add jaggery powder and just enough water to cover the jaggery in a pan and heat it.
- Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes and take the pan off the heat. Strain it with a sieve to remove any impurities.
- Add salt and ghee to the rice flour. Mix it well.
- For the kozhukkatai, heat milk and water till it becomes hot.
- Add rice flour and keep mixing it till it becomes like a soft dough.
- Take the pan off the heat and let it cool down a bit.
- Take about a teaspoon full of the dough and roll it into a ball.
- Make balls with the remaining dough and keep it on the side till required.
- To make the paal, add milk and water in a pan and let it become hot.
- When it begins to simmer add the balls.
- Let them cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, they should come up and float.
- Lower the heat and add jaggery syrup and coconut milk, stirring all the time gently.
- Let the mixture become hot on low heat. Don’t over heat it as the jaggery and coconut will cause the milk to curdle.
- Add cardamom powder and saffron. Serve it hot or chilled.
- Don’t allow the rice dough to become too dry. You should be able to roll it into a smooth ball.
- Its best to use both milk and water to boil the rice balls as milk alone will not cook it well.
- Replace the jaggery with sugar.
- I used only ⅓ cup of jaggery powder. For a more sweeter dessert use more jaggery or sugar.
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