Thursday, January 04, 2007
Another Thiruvathira. As has now become a practice, I get ready for Thiruvathira festival the previous evening: the vegetables are bought, rice roasted and powdered, dal roasted, jaggery measured, pressure cookers kept ready. After I have roasted the rice and dal (I do it in my oven, for uniform roasting and also to save myself of the pain in my arm from constant stirring), I put some peanuts for roasting. I just could not resist shoving in handfuls of peanuts into my mouth, whenever I saw them. Perhaps this, caused a very bad sorethroat by evening and I started getting spells of dry cough and my throat became very hoarse. I knew if I did not take a medication for this, I may perhaps wake up with an upper respiratory tract infection, which I am very susceptible to and then if I took an antihistamine, this may make me drowsy and I may oversleep and my Thiruvathira plans would get upset. I decided I did not want to get an URTI and took an antihistamine and went to sleep. Thankfully, I could wake up at 4.45am(!).
After the usual oil bath and works, I started preparing Kali and Kari. Hubby dear had cut the vegetables by then. I put the vegetables in one pressure cooker and cooked the dal in the other. This time around, I used Kavathu, Red pumpkin, sweet potatoes, Avarakkai and Toovar pods. I just cooked the vegetables for one whistle. The dal was also cooked for one whistle. Meanwhile I melted the jaggery in 4 cups of water (I used 1½ cups of rice flour this time) and poured the melted jaggery into the cooked dal and when it started boiling added the rice flour and closed the cooker. I put the weight on the cooker and reduced the heat and switched off the stove after 10 minutes. After 20 minutes when I opened the kali was perfectly done.
Though the Kerala Iyers make the Thiruvathira Kari with kavathu, red pumpkin and avarakkai (traditionally), the Tamil Iyers make a different type of Kari, almost like sambar. They make what they call as 5 curry or 9 curry or 11 curry or 13 curry depending on the number of different vegetables used (5 curry will have 5 different types of vegetables, 9 curry 9 types of vegetables and so on..)
Kalyani mami told me today that she made 13 curry, using carrot, beans, cluster beans, avarakkai, mochakottai, peas, white pumpkin, red pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, chenai, chembu, capsicum and chow chow. They use tamarind and dal and made a sambar masala with coconut, dhania, bengal gram dal and red chillies. She has not heard of kavathu she said. We still use only the traditional vegetables and do not use the so called English vegetables (carrot, beans, peas, etc. are generally referred to as English vegetables) for preparing the Thiruvathira kari or for that matter during Sradhams etc.