Our Indian foods have a unique taste. Many states and various kinds of foods make us as well the foreigners to smack the lips. Generally, most of the foreigners come to India to enjoy our culture, history, arts, and architecture along with FOODS. We are merged with plenty of castes and sub-castes. Each of them has their own tradition and hereditary recipes. I do not mean to point out the caste, race and religion here. It is described out one and only to make sure about the delicacies.
Iyengar is a sub-caste in the Hindu religion. Their dressing, especially MADISAR, rituals, food and other activities completely differ from Iyer who is nigh to them. Most of us use boiled and par-boiled rice, whereas Iyengar will eat only raw rice. They drink more coffee than tea and never miss the evening 4.00 pm. During the time, the Iyengar moms prepare crispy, spicy, sweet and hot dishes for their children. I made myself present voluntarily and enjoyed many evenings with them.
I do have mixed friends from various castes and religions. However, I owe to share some of the Iyengar cuisines which popped up my taste buds. And hope it would be a tribute to my friends and their moms who pampered me with such excellent tasty foods.
Akkara Adisal – A Festival special
It is their favorite sweet and a prime food on festival days, especially on “Aadi Perukku”. The main ingredients are Ghee, Moong dal, Basmati rice, milk, Jaggery, cardamom powder, raisins, and cashews.
The procedure of making Akkara Adisal is very simple. Clean the Jaggery and take thick Jaggery syrup. Soak the rice and dal for at least 10 minutes. Add a cup of water to the milk and allow it to boil. Now add rice and dal to the boiling milk, add ghee and stir. Finally, add the Jaggery syrup and stir until the mixture turns to a solid consistency. Now add the cashews, raisins and cardamom powder for smell and taste. Again stir and keep the vessel out of the flame. The highlight of the recipe is the smell of ghee, basmati rice will stimulate our appetite.
Iyengar Puliyodarai – A temple Prasadam
Usually, we prepare Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice) at home. However, the taste differs. Iyengar Puliyodarai is a popular prasadam at Srirangam Temple. The procedure is preparing Tamarind paste with multiple ingredients, adding the paste in the cooked raw rice along with gingelly oil. The oil is used to give strength, aroma as well as for taste.
The main ingredients are Tamarind, Mustard, Bengal gram, Black gram, Coriander seeds, Fenugreek, Sesame, Red chills, Asafoedita and curry leaves.
Add some water to the tamarind, extract the juice and keep it aside. Add turmeric powder, salt in it. Now pour a spoon of gingelly oil, fry the said ingredients. Keep the tamarind extract vessel on the flame, allow it to boil for at least 5-10 minutes. Now add the powder and stir it. While stirring add oil. When it turns into the semi-solid state, turn off the flame. Keep it down and make it cool. Now the Iyengar Puliyodarai is ready to taste.
Paruppu Payasam – All time favorite
This is one more sweet item in the liquid form. The item will be present in the plantain leaves on all festival days of Iyengar. The recipe is simple yet mouth watering. The main ingredients are Bengal gram / split moong dal, Jaggery, Milk, dry grapes, cashews, and almond.
Soak the dal in the water for 15 minutes. Drain the water and add sufficient water to the dal. Keep the dal in a lidded vessel. Allow it to sound at least 4-5 whistles. Clean the Jaggery and prepare Jaggery syrup. Now take the dal out of the vessel and check whether it is well cooked (like a paste when touching in finger). Keep an empty vessel on the flame, add milk, and dal paste. Stir well, until the dal paste dissolves in the milk. Now slowly add Jaggery syrup and stir. Switch off the flame after 10-15 minutes. Keep a dry ladle in the flame, pour some ghee. Add the dry items and nuts in the ghee and roast them. Finally add them in the Dal. A yummy, tasty and Payasam is ready which will take only 20-30 minutes to prepare.
Mor kali, Avakkai pickle, Vadumangai pickle, Vella seedai, Milagu orai, Kancheepuram Idly, Paruppu thuvayal and ….. The list longs.