Breakfast/Tiffin items

Nombu Kozhakattai


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It is funny, how some event that did not seem to be of much significance when you were a kid stays in your memory and resurfaces with vivid details when you’re staring at your computer at 12.22 am, while your kid sleeps peacefully beside you. Even stranger is how you never accord importance to a festival that occurs year after year and you go through the motions just because you have to, but suddenly assumes great significance that you Google out details, make a few phone calls and start chatting up the elders to know more simply because it seems to be a good candidate for a blog post.

During our bloggers meet at Ahmedabad, Srivalli announced that she was planning a month-long blogging marathon. While a few hands went up to say they were eager to participate, I was non-committal. But today, I’m really glad I went against rational thinking to take up the challenge (albeit a watered down version. I’m doing 3 weeks instead of 4, because Valli was sweet enough to accommodate mom bloggers with infants! And I’m rescheduling and rewriting a whole bunch of posts ‘coz I couldn’t put them up on time). If not for breaking my head over what dishes to include for this week’s Traditional dishes (week 2), I’d have never thought of writing a blog post on Karadiya Nombu Kozhakattai.

For those of you wondering what it is (I was wondering all these years too, till a simple Google search told me a little while ago!), Karadiya Nombu vratham (vratham means observing a fast in Tamil) is a fast observed by women to pray for good health and long life for their husbands. Unmarried women pray so that they may land good husbands! It takes after the historical character of Savitri, who ran after Yama, the Lord of Death, and fought back life for her dead husband Satyavan with her wit and humility. The special Karadiya Nombu Kozhakattais prepared that day are supposed to be in remembrance of a similar dish Savitri made for Yama to thank him for granting life to her husband.

When I was little, I wasn’t particularly fond of these kozhakattais. In fact, I’m not a big fan even now, although this is a dish that actually tastes quite unique and nice. But I do remember watching intrigued as my mother prepared these little beauties (they are so cute to look at!), did some puja and offered the neivedyam to the Lord. The kozhakattais are then eaten by everyone else.

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I kind of like the way these kozhakattais are placed on turmeric leaves along with a blob of fresh white butter (yummmmm!). It looks very simple and elegant. The kozhakattais wait patiently as the man ties a new saradu (yellow thread that is a symbol of matrimony in many parts of southern India) around his wife’s neck. Once that’s done, the wife utters a sloka (prayer) for a life of togetherness with her man before getting down to the task of devouring the kozhakattais. Two versions of kozhakattais are made on this day: savoury and sweet.

Thithippu Kozhakattai (sweet)

Ingredients:

Rice – 1 cup

Jaggery – ¾ cup

Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp

Method:

Wash rice in several changes of water and clean thoroughly

Drain the water and put the rice to dry on a clean piece of cloth for 20-30 minutes

Heat a tawa and dry roast rice

Keep sautéing till rice starts to turn pinkish red. Don’t let it darken though

Once cool, grind rice into a fine powder. You can pass it through a sieve if you wish

Add around ¼ cup of water to the jaggery and place on heat

Remove from heat once jaggery melts and filter for impurities

Place the jaggery water back on medium heat and keep stirring occasionally till it starts to bubble up

Add cardamom powder and mix

Add rice powder and mix being careful to avoid lumps. Keep cooking till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

Take small portions of this mixture in your palm and pat it into small disks about half inch thick and 2-3 inches wide

Make a small indentation in the centre of the kozhakattai and steam for about 15-20 minutes till the kozhakattais are cooked through

 

Uppu Kozhakattai (Savoury)

Ingredients:

Raw rice – 1 cup

Oil – 1 tbsp

Tiny coconut pieces – 1 tbsp

Green chilies- 2 (halved lengthwise)

Asafoetida/hing/peringayam – a generous pinch

Curry leaves – a few

Salt

Method:

Wash rice in several changes of water and clean thoroughly

Drain the water and put the rice to dry on a clean piece of cloth for 20-30 minutes

Heat a tawa and add rice. Saute for a minute

Remove from heat and grind into a powder

Heat oil in the same tawa. Add mustard seeds,followed by green chillies and curry leaves

Add salt, asafetida, coconut pieces and about ½ cup water

Add rice flour when water starts to bubble up

Remove from heat when all the water is evaporated (the mixture should be thick and pasty, not soggy

Take small portions of this mixture in your palm and pat it into small disks about half inch thick and 2-3 inches wide

Make a small indentation in the centre of the kozhakattai and steam for about 15-20 minutes till the kozhakattais are cooked through

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14 thoughts on “Nombu Kozhakattai

  1. It is indeed strange and at the same time fun to research these things. We (at least me) have been so monotonously doing traditional things and not bothered to understand why. Even am glad I took up this BM. In the name of BM, we get to know many things. And I absolutely love these adais. A delish with a blob of butter. 🙂

  2. I guess all of us are of the same class?..to identify a good candidate we do take ourselves quite far, even if it is to redo things we didn’t like as kids..:) I am so glad you took this challenge Nandini, you have made so many traditional dishes that were new to me even though I have been all my life here!

  3. Nandini..hats off..really with a small baby taking up the challenge..well it has been one of the best BM’S..where all of us have learnt a lot from each other and of course..our family, friends and Google :))))..the preparation looks good..I think I prefer the savory ones….

  4. Yes, valli thankfuly did not offer any respite to moms with toddlers, and mine is no longer in that category either, but all in all, i am glad too being part of this, this is nice recipe and agree , blogging and writing about those makes it even feel more special

  5. I don’t know the history,but I sure love the adai. We use banana leaves instead of manjal leaves. And that blob of butter….mmmm….heavenly!

  6. Pingback: Manga Pachadi aka Raw Mango Preserve | foodiliciousnan

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