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We are currently living in an era where intake of medicines overcome the intake of food. In other words, nutritional value of food is progressively declining and the gap is filled by medicines. Ancient Indians lived in a period with the mantra – “Food is medicine; medicine is food”. Though we cannot completely go back to ancient diet, we can at least try to know a few of them and accommodate a few possible dishes into our diet such as the Traditional Tamil food – Palan choru.

Considering the south Indian cuisine, their menu card is loaded with nutrients-rich recipes with easy preparation. In a time where refrigeration was a distant dream, food was prepared and consumed on demand. Keeping the left over food in mind, choice of ingredients was made accordingly.

Hence food itself served as a medicine and there was no need for medicine intake separately. There was no need of labels with manufactured and expiry dates, as food was prepared with fresh ingredients which were always natural and abundant in supply.

rice photoPhoto by gigijin

Farmers and their menu chart

Agriculture was the main occupation for south Indians especially for the people of Tamil Nadu. Though farmers are constantly ignored nowadays, our survival highly depends on them. During the past decades, farmers and other labours used to consume nutrient rich food for themselves and produce the same for others too. Their work demanded high energy levels and large amount of calorie consumption. Hence ‘Tamilan’ invented a simple yet wonderful dish called “Palan choru”.

Rice – a staple food

Rice is a staple food for south Indians and a meal is incomplete without rice. The most wanted dish of pre-modernized Tamil Nadu was Palan choru. It slowly disappeared from the diet of people due to the entry of commercialism and consumerism. But still we can bring our fore fathers’ delight back to our life with a few simple steps.

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fermented rice photoPhoto by Kent Wang

Palan choru

The preparation of palan choru is simple with its main ingredient being left over rice. Soak rice overnight in a vessel with a few cups of water. It promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. Next day morning, it is ready to eat with addition of spices, chillies, small onions, curd or buttermilk etc. The mixture of soaked rice with these ingredients is known as palan choru. One can drink the drained out water separately or along with the rice.

This traditional dish is loaded with a rich supply of vitamin B6 and B12. It promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and keeps most of the common diseases at bay.

Palan choru was regularly consumed by people who do a lot of manual work. This food gives a lot of energy, keeps the body fresh throughout the day. The microbes, formed during fermentation of rice, strengthens the digestive system with easy digestion and relief from constipation.

It was due to negligence that, such healthy meals were forgotten. This does not require money making ingredients and hence it was not advertised as much as the corporate products. In addition to these, palan choru was labelled as a poor labour’s food and hence the urbanized world ignored it.


After a series of scientific research, the western world is admiring at the wisdom of ancient Indians. It is ironical that Indians themselves are ignorant about their past glory. They in turn run behind western culture. Now, due to the advent of internet and media, such traditional food items are returning back to the dining table.

People now begin to understand the importance of health, and a healthy life depends on healthy food. It is time to end the era of unhealthy junk food and let’s return to our grandparents’ way of life!

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Featured Photo by ratnarajaiah

Traditional Tamil Food – Palan Choru

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