Saturday, 26 April 2014

Grandma’s recipes (பாட்டி சமையல்)


My Grandma (ரங்கம்மா பாட்டி)
The foundation of my culinary knowledge was laid down by my late maternal grand mother, Mrs Rangamma Narasimhachari. She was a woman of great strength and wisdom. Mother of eight children and fourteen grand children, she had seen the rough and tumble of family life. In addition to being good at sewing and crochet, she was a great cook, who could prepare an elaborate feast in a short time without the facilities of a modern kitchen. Hers are time tested recipes, handed down from one generation to the other. My grandma’s recipes always make me feel “at home”. I have detailed her  recipes on this site, with the intention of sharing them with interested people. Please try the recipes and I hope you find them useful. Your comments and feedback are welcome.
Mrs Rangamma Narasimhachari
Tamil Brahmin (Iyengar) Cuisine (தமிழ் பிராமண சமையல்/ ஐய்யங்கார் தளிகை)
A traditional South Indian vegetarian Brahmin meal, especially Iyengar meal consists of rice (சாதம்), porial (கறியமுது), kootu (கூட்டு), pachadi (பச்சடி), salad (கோசுமல்லி), pappad (அப்பளம்), wafer (வடகம்), kuzhambu (குழம்பு), rasam (சாத்துமது), vadai (திருப்பணியரம்), payasam (திருக்கண்ணமுது), mixed rice (சித்ரான்னம்), curds (தயிர்) and pickle (ஊறுகாய்). Such an elaborate menu is generally prepared only on auspicious days.

Tamil Brahmin menu is more or less similar among different sects, except for a few specific preparations. Here, I have attempted to cover all the items in the Tamil Brahmin/Iyengar menu.

Rice (சாதம்) 
Rice is the staple diet in South India and every dish in a traditional meal is prepared as an accompaniment to rice 

Kuzhambu (குழம்பு) 
Kuzhambu is a generic term that refers to an array of preparations ranging from sambar to more kuzhambu.Though most recipes are tamarind based, some are made without tamarind.  Kuzhambu is served as the first course and is mixed with rice and eaten along with vegetables (poriyal/ kootu).  

Mixed Rice (சித்ரான்னம்) 
Mixed rice preparations are generally served in feasts. In Tamil homes, mixed rice preparations are specially made on the 18th day Aadi, 4th month of the Tamil calendar (ஆடிப்பெருக்கு (அ) பதினெட்டாம் பெருக்கு). 

Rasam (ரசம்) 
Rasam is similar to a soup, a watery preparation made with or without tamarind. It is served as the second course, and is mixed with rice and eaten along with vegetables (poriyal/ kootu). Though some prefer to serve it like an appetizer before meal. 

Curry (பொரியல்) 
Curry is a dry preparation of vegetables. It is served at the beginning of the meal to be eaten with sambar rice, rasam rice or even curd rice. Curry may also be eaten along with plain rice and ghee. 

Kootu (கூட்டு ) 
Kootu is a gravy preparation of vegetables and, at time with dhal. It is served at the beginning of the meal and is eaten with sambar rice or rasam rice. Kootu may also be eaten along with plain rice and ghee. 

Pachadi (பச்சடி) 
Pachadi is generally a curd based preparation, though there are exceptions. It is served at the beginning of the meal to be eaten with sambar rice, rasam rice or mixed rice. 

Tiffin (பலகாரம்) 
In a Tamil Brahmin household, tiffin generally refers to breakfast preparations. Quite a few breakfast recipes are available in our menu, as a wholesome breakfast is preferred in Tamil Nadu. 

Chutney (சட்னி () துவையல்) 
Chutney is an accompaniment to breakfast preparations such as idly, dosai, adai, appam, uppuma, kuzhi paniyaram and even pongal. Some types of chutneys or thuvayals may be eaten with rice and ghee. 

Payasam (பாயசம்) 
Payasam is a milk based sweet preparation that is part of the feast menu. Payasam is also prepared on special occasions or auspicious days along with regular meal. 

Pickles (ஊறுகாய்கள்) 
Pickle is hot, spicy preparation made of vegetables or fruits, selected spices and oil. Pickle is served after the vegetables and is generally eaten with curd rice.   

Masala powders (மசாலா பொடிகள்) 
Traditionally, masala powders are made at home. They are used for making sambar/ rasam, for mixing with rice or for serving with breakfast items. Home made masala powders ensure that the preparation has the right taste and flavor. 

Sweets (இனிப்பு வகைகள்) 
Sweets are made of different types of flours, coconut, rava, milk etc., along with specified quantities of sugar or jaggery and ghee. Sweets may be served as part of the feast menu in addition to payasam.  

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