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Monday, December 24, 2007

Today happens to be Thiruvaathira, a festival celebrated by the Hindu womenfolk of Kerala. As like most other festivals, this one too has religious origins and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

This festival is marked by two unique recipes, Thiruvaathira Puzhukku, and Koova Paayasam which are considered an important part of the day's cuisine, and are prepared with much devotion.

Traditionally, no accurate measurements are taken for the same. perhaps that is the reason why it comes out so very tasty and unique each year. do try them out. they are very good for the health too and are a store house of nutrients.

Arrowroot Pudding (Koova Paayasam, or Koova Varakiyathyu)

You will need

  • 2 cups of Arrowroot powder

(traditionally, the roots are washed, and the milk is extracted from it by grinding with water. it is then sun-dried and stored for a whole year).

  • 1/2kilo jaggery, melted in two cups water and sieved for any impurities

  • 4 cups water (approx)

  • 1 cup frest coconut scrapings

  • 3-4 tbsp Ghee

Mix in the Arrowroot powder with water and the jaggery syrup. cook on low flame, stirring all the while. when it becomes a thick mixture, add the coconut scrapings and the ghee, and stir further till it becomes a really thick glazed, mass. It is delicious either hot or cold. traditionally, it is served with Kerala Papads and Puzhukku in plantain leaves.

Do try it out sometimes. maybe in smaller quantities. the quantity of the ingrediants may have to be slightly altered according to your needs. especially the water and the amount of jaggery. but the end result is really yum! you can substitute the jaggery with white sugar. but the traditional one is better, though the sugary one gives out a more appealing jade green colour.

Another dish that is prepared for Thiruvaathira is Puzhukku, which is fairly easy considering the nutiritious factor. traditionally, it is prepared with a variety of root vegetables, like yam, koorka, colacassia, kaachil, kaavithu; pulses like cheru payar, vella payar, muthira, and vegetables like pumpkin, raw banana, gourds, string beans, avarakka, etc. Avoid all 'english' vegetables. raw jackfruit is a must.

just chop them into medium sized pieces and cook them in salted water with turmeric and chilly powder. you may have to pressure cook the pulses and root veggies. just take care that the vegetables are not overcooked or mashed up. when everything is well cooked. meanwhile crush some freshly grated coconut and green chillies. add it to the mixture. keep stirring for a couple of minutes more. remove from fire and mix in 1 tbsp coconut oil or any cooking oil of your choice and a few sprigs of curry leaves. serve hot.


  1. hi priya,
    thanks for visiting my blog. and welcome to the blogosphere of foodies. i should add your blog too to my roll. actually, i am not much of a cook ! but what interests me is the history of food ! i maintain this blog mainly as part of my quest into the kerala food. it is a good means to find the food habits of malayalees hailing from various parts of kerala, since regionality plays a big role in the evolution of kerala cuisine.

    so, from you i can expect some good info on the palakkadan platter, heh ?

  2. Thank you for your comments, renu. I will definitly try to satisfy your curiosity with regards to the palakkadian cuisines.. Keep watching.

  3. koova paayasam as you call it is also called mangalyam and it is married women who join the cooking ritual or so i have heard from elders.
    koova is supposed to be cooling i am wondering why this is cooked and eaten when the weather is coool too... why not in summer...???