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

Rava Kesari
Rava Idli
Sambar vadai
Kothamalli chutney

Coffee/Tea followed
For the Lunch on the same day, we had

Thayir Pachadi
Chenai roast
Payar Thoran
Nendran Chips
Sarkkarai puratti upperi
Aamai vadai
Kadamba Sambar
Tomato Rasam
Paaladai Pradhaman
Buttermilk(ghetti Mor)
Pickles and

For the evening Tiffin, we had

Wheat Halwa
Mysore Bonda,
Pesarattu Upma
Allam Pachadi
Chutney and

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

Sweet Pachadi
Thayir Pachadi
Potato Karakkari
Cabbage and Peas Curry
Paal payasam
Aamai vadai
Murungai, chinna vengaya sambar
Lemon Rasam
Ghettimor and

The wedding morning breakfast consisted of,

Kasi Halwa,
Idli – Molagaipodi
Ghee Pongal
Medhuvadai and

For the grand wedding lunch, we had,

Sweet Pachadi
Thayir Pachadi
Beans Usili
Vazhakkai Podi potta kari
Mixed veg. Kootu
Khose Malli – 2 types
Aamai vadai
Kadamba Sambar
Vendai Morkozhambu
Idichu Pizhinja Payasam
Nendran chips
Mysore Rasam
Ghetti Mor and

We had a snack of
Pineapple kesari
Mixture and
just before Nalangu.

The evening reception was followed by a grand dinner with a big spread,

The menu was:
Chana Masala
Veg. Pulao
Sweet Pachadi
Thayir Pachadi
Sambar Satham
Kothamalli satham
White rice
Pineapple Rasam
Paal Payasam
Vatral Kuzhambu
Thayir Satham
Pickle and
Ice cream.

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
Urulai Podimas
Chembu roast
Thakkali Poritha Kootu
Gulab jamun
Semiya Payasam
Milagu Kuzhambu
Jeera rasam
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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful post! Looking forward to the recipes of the items listed. I have never heard of "Idichu Pizhinja Payasam" - sounds interesting, could you possibly start with this one?

Nandita said...

How did you manage to recollect every single item served? In a recent function i attended, the caterers actually gave a menu card which was kept on each elai!

Ammupatti said...

Hi anonymous

I shall certainly give recipe for Idichu Pizihinja Payasam, as it is a special neyvedyam of our village temple during Navarathri, where in 1000s of coconuts are used to prepare the payasam.

It is an all time favourite of my charming and handsome son.

will be published very soon.

Just keep watching

Ammupatti said...

Hi Nandita

Our friend K had actually made a print out of all the arrangements made and the menu for each occasion and the responsibilities of each one of us.

Anonymous said...

Aunty, can you please provide the recipes of all the items?

I tried making cheppankilzhangu roast here - it turned out to be a gooey mess - I miss my amma veetu samaiyal so much

just reading this list makes my mouth water

Latha said...

I'm a first-timer on your blog and what attracted me was your post on wedding. being a tamil iyer myself (and married only since recently... 7 years) i could very well relate to all the sandais, menus etc., esp. your list of items on the wedding feast takes me back to my pre-marriage days when appa used to sit with the elders and decide on the menu. oh... how much i miss home, amma, appa; all the sacrifices they did to make us happy:)

i'm reading the karadayan nobu post now... it's very much like how my mom explains me every year... i have to ask her without fail for every festival, every year! thanks!

Anonymous said...


You have mentioned that there are kerala iyer caterers in bangalore. We are looking for one for our housewarming and have not found anyone. Do you know of anyone doing this in bangalore. Phone numbers would help.

thanks, syamala

Lakshmi said...

You have mentioned that there are kerala iyer caterers in bangalore. We are looking for one for our son's wedding and have not found anyone. Do you know of anyone doing this in bangalore. Phone numbers would help.Also please can you give me the Kalyana menu for Kannadigas.


Lakshmi Iyer

Lakshmi said...

This is Lakshmi again. I am sorry i forgot to give you my email address: I living in australia and coming to the wedding only a week before the weddding and it is the same with the girl's parents. so we need to go through and help each other.

Thanks again.

Ammupatti said...

Hi Lakshmi

I am at present in Hyderabad. I shall try to get the phone nos. and send you,

All the best

SHUBHA said...

hello ammupatti
this looks u have the recipe for the chadachadayam payasam??i love that payasam... but dunno how to make that recipe... whenever possible..
Thank you

Ammupatti said...

Hi Shuba

Take a full tour of my blogposts. You will find the recipe.

Anonymous said...

this is amazing.I stumbled while searching for karakkari recipe. could u post it please. I am from kerala but staying in blore. i fell in love with karakkari i had in Sri Krishna Cafe in blore. PLEEEEEEEASe post the recipe

Ammupatti said...


I shall very soon post karakari recipe.

Best wishes

Vandana said...

dear ammupatti, stumbled upon your blog while searching for details about iyer weddings! Kerala iyer myself, its a pity that some of us didnt take note of the traditions, cuisine and the culture until we moved westwards. Your recipes, account of the iyer wedding and the festivities such as karadayan nonbu and the upanayanam were very interesting. Looking forward to reading your next post! - Vandana

Kavitha said...

Hello aunty - thanks for these details, this will be my master source, as we are planning my sister's wedding now :)


Dhanalakshmi said...

Thanks for the detailed menu. I have included most of the items from here for my house warming on Sunday... It was a great help and one stop solution for south indian menu...Thanks once again :)

Warm Regards,
Dhanalakshmi Mudaliar

Ammupatti said...

Hi Dhanalakshmi

Congratulations! I am sure your guests would have enjoyed the food.

Best wishes

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