Thiruvathirai is a festival of Lord Shiva and is celebrated in the Tamil month “Markazhi” which spans from mid-December to mid-January, on the day of Thiruvathira Nakshathra. It is also known as Arudhra Dharshan. It is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva is incarnated in the form of Lord Nataraja and celebrated for a week in the famous Natarajar temple in Chidambaram, Tamilnadu.
In kerala also, they celebrate this festival one among their traditional festivals, like Vishu and Onam. On this day, the women in Kerala perform a dance called “Thiruvathira Kali” for the folk songs called “Thiruvathira Paattu”.
On this day, special Neivedyam called “Thiruvathirai Kali” along with a special kootu called “7 Curry Kootu or Thalagam” are prepared for offering to Lord Shiva.
Here we go for the recipe of making Thiruvathiral Kali. Thiruvathirai kali can be prepared following different methods. My grandma used to make it in Uruli made of Brass (வெண்கல உருளி) and the taste, I have no words to say. She maintained that vessel only for making kali, mysorepa, halwa, burfi etc. Today, we are in the world of pressure cookers and non-stick cookwares. So, I will explain the method of preparing kali using pressure cooker.
- Raw rice (Ponni) – 1 cup
- Moong dhal (Paasi paruppu) – ¼ cup
- Water – 2 ½ cups
- Jaggery – 1 cup
- Coconut gratings – 2 to 3 tbsp
- Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
- Ghee – 3 tbsp
- Cashew nuts – as required
- Dry fry rice in a kadai in simmer till the rice becomes light brown in colour, transfer it to a plate and let it cool.
- In the same kadai, dry fry moong dhal until you get nice aroma. Allow it to cool.
- Grind fried rice and dhal in a mixie to a coarse powder.
- Melt jaggery in a cup of water and filter the impurities.
- In a pressure pan, add 2 ½ cups of water and bring it to boil.
- When it boils, add the rice-dhal powder, mix everything, close it with a lid and cook until done. (in my cooker, I leave for 3 whistles)
- In the mean time, fry the cashew nuts in a tsp of ghee and keep it aside.
- When the pressure subsides, open the cooker, add the filtered jaggery syrup, cardamom powder, coconut gratings, fried cashew nuts and remaining ghee and give a stir. Cook in simmer until everything gets blended nicely.
Thiruvathirai Kali is ready for Pooja!
- The measurement for jaggery can be increased if you want more sweet. My measurement will give you a mild sweet kali.
- Rice and dhal should be powdered coarsely in rava form.
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