After a whole long week plus 1 day of writing about dishes fit to serve at an occasion, I’m going to be writing about traditional dishes. All this week. Yes. You read it right. Seven days, starting today. Make that tonight. Reason being I’m part of this wonderful blogging community that runs a Blog Marathon doing theme-based dishes each week. This month, our host Valli decided we’d all become too lax in our blogging and needed a shot of energy. So we’re all blogging non-stop this whole month.
The first dish to be featured in the traditional week is Kappu Arisi Pottu Kadalai. This is a unique dish is prepared on just two occassions. It is not a traditional ‘sweetmeat’. In the Tamil brahmin (a religious community) tradition, a numbe of customs are observed after a child is born. On the seventh day after the birth of the child, his/her athai (father’s sister) gifts the newborn golden/silver anklets and amulets, or kaapu. The arisi-pottu kadali (rice-roasted gram) mix prepared on this day and offered to all guests, thus, Kaapu Arisi Pottu Kadalai.
These days, many people combine the Kappu (amulet) ritual on the same day as the Punyavachaman ie. the naming ceremony that is conducted of boys are on the 10 day after the birth of the child, and durig the ear piercing ritual. The Kappu Arisi Pottu Kadalai is thus prepared on this day in many households.
The second occassion when this dish is prepred is on the the day the ears of the child are pierced. In many parts of India, the ears of baby boys are pierced too. Of course, most people tend to remove the earrings/studs before the child (boy) goes to school. We pierced the ears of our son a day before his first star birthday.
In addition to the Kappu Arisi, my mother-in-law had prepared Thengai Arisi Payasam, which I had written about last week. I spoke to quite a few elderly women in my family to find out why exactly they prepare this dish on these two occasions. Nobody knew. But my maternal grandma told me that it is also prepared in Shiva temples on Pradosham day.
Do try and make the Kappu Arisi at home when you pierce your kids’ ears even if you are planning standard fare like payasam/kheer or other sweets or even cake! It is not too difficult to prepare and will keep the tradition alive. Do you know why Kappu Arisi is prepared? Please leave a comment or write to me if you do.
Kaapu Arisi Pottu Kadalai
Raw rice – 1 cup
Roasted gram – 2 tbsp
Jaggery – 3/4 cup
Cardamom – 1-2 pods (slit to release aroma) or cardamom powder – a pinch or two
Nuts (optional) – a dozen or so (we used cashew nuts and almonds)
Dry roast the nuts and chop them
Wash rice in three changes of water and remove all dirt
Drain in a coldander for about 30 minutes
Heat a wide pan and dry roast rice on medium heat till aromatic (around 3-5 minutes)
Grind into a coarse powder. Add roasted gram and pulse a couple of times. Add chopped nuts and cardamom. Mix and keep aside
Roughly crush the jaggery into small bits. Add 2-3 cups of water and place on medium heat. Once jaggery dissolves, remove from heat and filter to remove impurities if any
Put the strained jaggery and water mix to boil in a heavy bottomed pan and let it cook, even beyond the three-string stage (if you take a drop of the jaggery syrup between your thumb and index fingers and pull them apart, you should get three strings of jaggery sticking to your fingers). It has to be a thick syrup. Another way to see if it is ready is to put a few drops of the syrup in a bowl of cool water. The drops should solidify into a small ball. If you hit this ball against any container, it should make a clinking noise. It should be as hard as toffee
Pour the jaggery syrup over the rice and nuts mix and mix well
Your kappu arisi pottu kadalai is ready