Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Aarudra Darshan/ Thiruvathirai: celebrating with Kali & Curry

Arudhra Darshan  is observed in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January). It is essentially a Saiva festival and celebrates the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, which is represented by the Nataraja form. It takes place on the full moon night in the month of Margazhi. The festival is mainly observed by Tamil brahmins.
Most temples perform special poojas for shiva in the form of Nataraja, (king of dance) who is worshipped on this special day.

People make kali, pronounced more like cully and a curry made with at least 7 vegetables. I have no idea why a sweet dish is served with a savory curry. Surprisingly it goes pretty well. Some special vegetables added for this include koorka (chinese potato) and kavathu (dunno what it is in tamil or english).

There is also a lot of regional variation in how the curry or kootu is made. People also call it "thalagam". I would like to share with you all how this is made in my home.

Thiruvathirai Kali: ( serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 cup jaggery powdered
  • 2 cups water ( can be 1 3/4 cups depending on your rice)
  • 2- 3 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp cashews
  • 1 tbsp ghee.
  • Dry roast the rice and moong dal separately till slightly pink. Do it on a medium flame and take care not to burn it.
  • Once cooled, grind them together into a coarse sooji/ rawa like powder.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan add the water, jaggery and coconut. Once it comes to a boil and frothy, add the powdered rice dal mixture, cardamom powder and stir well till they all are well incorporated.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Transfer it into another vessel and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
  • In a pan add the ghee and fry the cashews till golden and add it over the cooked kali after you take it oit of the cooker.

To make the curry/ kootu :

  • Mixed vegetables 2- 3 cups medium size cubed ( I used beans, bottle guard, carrots, peas, pumpkin, potato and eggplant.)
  • Coconut 1/2 cup ( more coconut, better it tastes)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 small marble sized tamarind soaked and pulped in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste.

For Tadka:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves ripped
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add the vegetables and just enough water to cover them. Add salt and turmeric powder and cook till veggies are soft.
  • Add the tamarind extract to the partially cooking veggies.
  • Grind the coconut and green chilis into a fine paste adding water as needed.
  • Add the ground coconut paste to the cooked veggies and let it come to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Do the tadka and add it to the curry.
  • Serve with kali or rice.


  1. Priya - love the recipes. I've never made this Kali and will probably do it today. Arudhra Darisanam is a very special day for me indeed for the last few years. So, will celebrate it in the traditional way!

  2. Wat a lovely and delicious dishes..both looks fabulous..

  3. hey, that is very tempting. Love to know about new traditions :)

  4. Looks delicious, Priya we have to do a potluck when i get back - recipe demos :) - Arudhra is my fav nakshathram for several reasons

  5. Both the dishes look great... We do celebrate thiruvathirai but will make the kali with few little changes..

  6. Wow..they both looks very traditional recipes...Great work..

  7. hey priya--ur dishes look very delectable ! even i have always wondered about the sweet-savoury combo ! but the palate is alive and i am happy !!

  8. Both the dishes are so lovely. Thanks for sharing these traditional recipes..

  9. Authentic recipe..looks delicious and tempting.

  10. Love these recipes! Sounds absolutely delicious!

  11. Such a lovely combination of recipe ...... LOVE THEM.


  12. Priya - after I left you the comment - I did go and make this and it turned out great! Sorry could not write back immediately. But loved the Kali!


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