Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The Wedding (IV)
When I started writing about Kerala Iyer Wedding, I thought I had just enough material for one post. Little did I realise that I had just touched the tip of the iceberg. Many of our friends have been asking me to write the most important event of the Kerala Iyer Weddings, namely the Sadhya or the special feast which is the most important part of the wedding. As I have always said, Kerala Iyers are expert cooks and these days, even the Tamil Iyers have started hiring Kerala Iyer cooks to cater their weddings. Even in Kerala, a wedding in which the feast is prepared by Pattars, as Kerala Iyers are known among the non-Kerala Iyers, is considered the best wedding feast. The other day we were watching an old Malayalam movie, in which the groom’s father tells the bride’s father, “We cannot have a wedding lunch prepared by any one less than a pattar.”
In addition to the wedding feast, the most important item which occupies the pride of place and which is carefully scrutinized by the guests and the groom’s party, is the Chir Bakhsanam or Palaharam as it is known among the Kerala Iyers. Depending upon the custom in the bride’s family or the demand from the groom’s family, it is either Full Chir or Muzhu Chir, wherein 101 items of different types of sweets and savouries (may go upto 11 different varieties) are given to the groom’s party during the wedding or Half Chir in which 51 items of different varieties of sweets and savouries are given. In addition to this, the bride’s party has to prepare additional quantities to be distributed among their family circle. More about chir bakshanam later.
Coming to the wedding feasts, since the groom’s party arrives the morning before the wedding, the meals are spread over 3 days at the most, or 2 full days, if the groom’s party leaves on the day of wedding. At this wedding, the feast consisted of a breaksfast, lunch, evening snack and dinner on the previous day and on the wedding day and a pathiya sappadu (which in inself is a grand lunch) on the day after the marriage and packed lunch for the groom’s party to take home.
There was a 24 hrs cofee/tea stall at the venue of the wedding, so coffeeholics like hubby-dear had no problem.
Returning to the menu for various occasions, there was coffee on arrival at the wedding hall on the morning before the wedding, followed by breakfast.
Breakfast menu included
For the Lunch on the same day, we had
Sarkkarai puratti upperi
For the evening Tiffin, we had
In days past, the wedding meals started from this point and hence the evening tiffin on the previous day of the wedding used to be a very grand affair. Usually, the items served were two or more varieties of Rice Sevai, bonda or bajji with chuteny and 2 or more sweets, one of them usually Jehangir. I still remember my father asking us, “don’t we have to go for the evening tiffin of Rice sevai and Jehangir?” during one of the unconventional weddings of the current days, when there was only one day program for the wedding. This was when he was 80+ and we had a hard time explaining to him that the wedding program was only for one day. Finally, my sister-in-law had to make rice sevai for him in the evening.
The janavasam dinner is traditionally the most important dinner of the wedding. In the olden days, this dinner used to be a grand affair especially because it was cooked for a smaller crowd. Most of the people conduct the wedding reception also on the previous night these days, hence the dinner is much more elaborate. Usually there are North Indian, South Indian and even Chinese dishes to cater to the present day fast food addicts. Dosa counters and chat counters are a common sight. Varieties of salads are also part of the menu. In some weddings dinner is served in tastefully decorated buffet halls and to cater to those diehards who prefer to eat on a plantain leaf that is also arranged. While most of the Iyers in Tamil Nadu still prefer to have a classical music concert at the reception, other forms of music have started to become popular in other parts.
At R’s wedding, the reception was slated for the evening on the wedding day. However, we had an elaborate dinner in the evening after the Nischyathartham, which had
Cabbage and Peas Curry
Murungai, chinna vengaya sambar
The wedding morning breakfast consisted of,
Idli – Molagaipodi
For the grand wedding lunch, we had,
Vazhakkai Podi potta kari
Mixed veg. Kootu
Khose Malli – 2 types
Idichu Pizhinja Payasam
Ghetti Mor and
We had a snack of
just before Nalangu.
The evening reception was followed by a grand dinner with a big spread,
The menu was:
The day after the wedding, no breakfast was arranged. Instead there was a sumptuous brunch. This was supposed to be a Pathiya Sappadu, a light brunch, but in itself it was a very elaborate brunch.
The brunch had:
Manathakali Keerai Thayir Pachadi
Thakkali Poritha Kootu
Ghetti mor and
The sadhya wound up with packed lunch for the groom’s party, which included,
Idli, Molagai podi
Thayir satham and
Puliyotharai and vadam.
Having described the menu for various occasions for the wedding, I have decided to post the recipes of some of the items served (some I have already posted earlier), in the immediate future.