Tamizh New Year

Customs and traditions are established in families. They are handed down through practice and observation to future generations. The older generation still clings to celebrations that are focussed on family participation while the younger generations share events with friends and peers.

The New Year’s day is an occasion when generations come together to give and receive blessings and best wishes. The menu for New Year’s day is an interesting mixture of many flavours.

The sweet, sour, bitter and bland tastes and textures of the food augur a balanced destiny and teaches one to accept life’s sorrows and joys. Children also look forward to this day as it brings gifts and money from the elders in the family. People welcome the new year day, by cleaning and white washing the house and decorating the door step with with mango and palm leaves. The front of the houses are decorated with colourful Kolams.

The menu for the first day of the Tamizh almanac incorporates all the tastes–sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent–signifying hopes for a year that balances all experiences. The meal is served on a banana leaf (eco friendly, bio-degradable!).
Kadalai Paruppu Payasam
A sweet pudding made with Gram/Chana dhal, vellam/gur, milk, cardamoms and roasted cashewnuts.
Thayir Pachadi
            Yoghurt and grated cucumber raitha

Vadai Flat dhal/lentil round dumplings/cakes soaked, blended with green chillies, ginger and asafoetida and deep fried.

Veppampoo Pachadi
Roasted Neem flowers garnishing a raw mango, gur sweet chutney that is seasoned with mustard seeds, red chilli and a dash of salt!
String Beans/Kothavarangai/Broad beans Paruppu Usili
A seasoned vegetable garnished with a blended and steamed tuvar dhal/chana dhal spicy crumble.
The famous mixed vegetable and yoghurt side dish flavoured with raw coconut oil.
Roast Potato, Yam or raw banana
Par-boiled root vegetables, smeared with gram flour, chilli powder, salt and asafoetida and then deep fried and seasoned.
Mango-Inji (Ginger) sweet chutney or Mango Kari (red pickle)
Mango and chopped ginger are cooked in a tangy tamarind and vellam gravy until thick.
Or the chopped mango is spiced up with chilli and mustard powder and seasoned!
Tuvar dhal and vegetable (drumstick, okra, white pumpkin) tamarind based curry.
Neem flower Rasam
A special rasam made with tamarind, dhal water, curry leaves and the roasted neem flowers..seasoned with mustard, cumin, coriander, pepper powders and asafoetida.
Paal Poli
Fried maida and semolina pooris soaked in a rich, thick milk concentrate and flavoured with cardamom, roasted almonds and pistas.
Rice; Poppadoms; Banana Chips; Curds; Beeda (Betel leaves and nuts)

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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4 Responses to Tamizh New Year

  1. Grannymar says:

    It all sounds very exotic to my Western tongue. Milk and yoghurt are well in evidence and therefore I would have to pass on several dished. 😦


    • padmum says:

      Dont worry….I can cook you a vegan meal without compromising on any of the tastes….with soya milk or complete absence of any ‘milk’ derivatives.

      A question that has been biuzzing in my mind…if you have lactose intolerance how do you eat meat–beef or mutton etc. that produce milk?


  2. rummuser says:

    I haven’t had a meal like that in decades! Must do something about it soon. Can you help?


  3. padmum says:

    Next time you are in Chennai, I shall treat you!! Half of it I did not cook as old stomachs cannot digest the ‘saddhya’!!


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