விருந்து உண்ண வருக - நா. கணேசன் "உணவு இல்லாமல் உயிர்கள்
இல்லை. தமிழர் உணவைப் பலவகையாகப் படைத்துச் சுவைத்தனர். விருந்தினரை
விரும்பி உபசரிப்பது தலைசிறந்த பண்பாடு என்று கொண்டாடினர். உண்டிக்கு
அழகு விருந்தோடு உண்ணல் என்பது முதுமொழி..."
இந்த இணையத் தளமானது பெரிய நகரமும் அல்லாத, சிறிய கிராமமும்
அல்லாத நாகபட்டினம் சிறுநகரில் இருந்து தொடங்கி நடத்தப்படவுள்ளது.
இதுபோன்ற இணையத்தளங்கள் இனிவரும் காலங்களில், சிறு சிறு கிராமங்களில் இருந்தும்
தோன்றி வளர இது ஒரு முன்மாதிரியாக அமைய வேண்டும் என்பது இதன் உள்நோக்கம்.
Tamil Cuisine of Tamil Nadu
"Tamil Nadu provides the visitors with a wide variety of delicacies, both
vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians, though most food in Tamil Nadu
consists of grains, lentils, rice and vegetables. Spices are added to give a
distinctive taste to this cuisine, which uses chili liberally"
"The importance of cuisine to
national culture varies greatly among nations. National cuisines are
nurtured by national elites and promoted by tourist organisations.
They result from various cultural and political ideologies,
associated with imperialism, class, gender and ethnicity. African
national cuisines have emerged only recently but are well-developed
in a few countries such as Cape Verde or Senegal. In Latin America,
national cuisines were created following a long struggle between the
culinary influences of the Iberian colonisers, the Native Americans
and their complex pre-Columbian culinary traditions, together with
the 'foodways'; of African slaves. As with most nationalist
ventures, what is hailed as being part of a long tradition is often
a recently invented myth as in the case of Chiles en nogada a
Mexican national dish supposedly presented to the Emperor Agustín
de Iturbide in 1821 yet only traceable to the 1930s. On both sides
of the Atlantic, national cuisines are far from innocent
concoctions. Dr Igor Cusack ( University of
Birmingham) in Far from Innocent Concoctions: the National Cuisines
of Africa and Latin America 18 February 2009
TAMIL CUISINE - THE FOOD TRADITION OF AN ANCIENT PEOPLE
" Tamil cuisine is perhaps the oldest
representative of the continuous vegetarian cultures of the
world. The delicious dishes from the state are relished all
over the country and abroad. The cuisine has important
vada served with
sambar and chutneys. There is a wide range of rice and
vegetable preparations. The meals are traditionally served
on banana leaves."
"Tamil cuisine is known for its aromatic, flavourful and
sometimes spicy food. These recipes create an unique blend of spices, that makes
the food very appetising, nutritious and wholesome. Vegetables, Meats and Dairy
products are the foundation. Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Cumin,
Coriander, Coconut, Rosewater etc, flavour the food and remind us of the
sweetness of life. Curry Powder, Ginger, Garlic, Chillies, Pepper etc add the
"The food traditions of a people express their attitudes to
life. They are expressive not only of their geographical psyche
but also of their beliefs about health and nutrition. They
frequently summarise a people's views on interactive behaviour
In the case of the Tamils of the north and east of Sri Lanka,
the regions referred to by Tamils as the Tamil Homelands or
the food traditions are characterised by a remarkable
resourcefulness in their use of the locally available
ingredients. In the Jaffna Peninsula (Yaalpaanam) the soil is
harsh and arable only in pockets. But from this limited plenty
the Tamils have created a cuisine that is so distinctive that it
warrants closer interest than has been given it thus far. Tamils
love their cuisine and wherever they go they relish the memories
of it and try as far as possible to inculcate a love for it in
I hope that this book recalls some of those memories,
especially of the Jaffna Peninsula, in a meaningful way for the
millions of Jaffna Tamils flung all over the globe. The mention
of "Karupani" or "Susiyam" or "Pori Arisi Maa" brings a
delighted twinkle to the eyes of Tamils in faraway lands. "Ah,
yes, I remember my Amma used to.... " and off they go into warm,
enchanting tales of a Jaffna childhood.
This book takes its spark from the warmth of that love for
their land. The baths at Keerimalai the tall, tufted Palmyra
trees swaying in cholai winds, the onion fields, the swollen
kurakkan ears of grains on the sheaves. the oil monger grinding
the goodness of the sesame seeds with his melancholy bull at the
yoke . . . These memories are recounted in excited tones of
beloved Tamil over hot meals of Odiyai Kool or Egg Hoppers in
The recipes have been lovingly compiled by Rani Thangarajah
in Melbourne from friends and relatives both here and from Tamil
Eelam. While every care has been taken to give a fairly
comprehensive selection, this book cannot be exhaustive.
The book is intended mainly for
who have settled overseas, from choice or necessity. I hope
that a will provide them with a real link to their rich
Puttu & Murukku Makers
As in all recipe books, the weights and measures and methods
are those of the cooks. Every cook in the kitchen will make
adjustments as her spirit and knowledge of taste lead her. Less
chilli here. more salt there, a little more tamarind, leave out
this, add that . . . what delights the trying of a recipe
brings! I hope this book will prove to be no less exciting for
lovers of Jaffna Tamil food everywhere. Outside South and South
East Asia. almost all the ingredients are available in most
Asian groceries specialising in Sri Lankan and Indian produce in
the major cities of Australia, Europe and the United States.
This book could not have been written without the help of the
women of Melbourne who contributed the recipes from the
storehouses of their mothers' and grandmothers' collections: I
thank Dr Kanthi Kanavathipillay for help with translation from
the Tamil. I also thank the family of the late S. Arumugam of
Kuala Lumpur for permitting me to use excerpts from their family
Ammi - Flat Granite Grinder used in Tamil Homes
Preparing and sharing food in Ambai�s Tamil short stories
- Lakshmi Holmstr�m, Fellow, East Anglia University, United
"...Food can be a means of
defining a group identity: other people stereotype the
�Madrassi� by what and how she eats... while someone from
Tirunelveli defines himself as much by regional landscape as
by local foods... On the other hand, where a protagonist
perceives her �self� as fluid and changing, tastes and
smells of food still feature prominently among the ragbag of
memories, sense impressions including music, and emotions
that make up her particular history.."
There is an abundance of
to do with food, cooking and eating in modern Tamil fiction.
They appear consistently in the short stories of Ambai, a
contemporary author in Tamil, who writes from a feminist
perspective. She uses examples of food and cooking to highlight
certain themes in her work: frames and boundaries; order,
control and power relations within boundaries, and pleasures
outside them. As a writer who grew up in Tamil Nadu but now
lives in Bombay, a recurrent theme is the quest for identity, or
sense of the self.
Food can be a means of defining a group identity: other
people stereotype the �Madrassi� by what and how she eats
(�Arat, a sparrow), while someone from Tirunelveli defines
himself as much by regional landscape as by local foods (
�Journey 2�). On the other hand, where a protagonist perceives
her �self� as fluid and changing, tastes and smells of food
still feature prominently among the ragbag of memories, sense
impressions including music, and emotions that make up her
particular history (�A rose-coloured sari�).
Ambai also sees food and cooking as ways of imposing control
within the family, and maintaining boundaries between
communities. She questions the value of hospitality, which
merely reflects the status and importance of the pater
familias.�A kitchen in the corner of the house� examines the
mother-in-law�s illusory authority in the kitchen, the
establishment of a hierarchy within it, and how that authority
can be subverted through �food wars�. In other stories (e.g.
�Parasakti and others in a plastic box�), a mother�s food brings
order to the day and the seasons ofthe year, but this order
limits flexibility and choice. Outside the boundaries
areforbidden foods: for example, impure foods sacrificed to the
non-Sanskritic goddess Mariamman and then cooked into delicious
chicken pulao; mouth-watering butun healthy street foods
(�Journey 3�) or palm toddy (�Forest�).
These cross caste and class lines; they are dangerously close
to �pain, blood and death�, and they afford the delights of
indulgence and excess. Sharing food is a continuing theme in
Ambai�s stories. Sharing food also means crossing boundaries
between generations, communities and cultures (�Gifts�,�Age�,
�Camel ride�). The ideal feast is one where the cooking is
shared equally and spontaneously (�Forest�). Everyone eats
together, no one �serves� another: the opposite of the hierarchy
described in �A kitchen�. The feast also asserts the right to
pleasure, which sometimes has to be earned through pain. The
women in �Forest�cook their feast together, to the rhythm of
Bahini Bai�s lyric which one of them sings:Arr�, sansara,
sansara, life is like a griddle on which you cook your baakris:
It is only when you have burnt your hand that you get your
Most Tamils are vegetarian by cultural tradition or
necessity. The food tends to be fiery�so adjust chile
amounts to whatever you can take comfortably (recipes below
have been adjusted). Tamil cooking almost always involves a
process called �tempering��quickly sauteing a few spices
that become the base of (or are added to) most dishes.
Tamils (and most south Indians) follow an eating pattern
that is a different from that of northern India as well.
Rice, as in most of north India, is the basis of the meal.
It is served, however, with three basic types of
accompaniments. In this order, a Tamil meal would include
rice served with a sambar
(a rather thin curry, often made with tamarind);
rasam (a tart and spicy soup�really, almost a drink);
and finally �curd� or yogurt (plain or mixed with vegetables
or fruits). Other drier types of curries,
chutneys and pickles, and Indian breads might round out
Tamils love milk-based
desserts such as payasam (thin, soup-like
puddings often based on rice or thin noodles). This despite
the fact that most south Indians of Dravidian descent are
lactose-intolerant! Some nutritionists speculate that since
meals almost always include yogurt as well, the lactose in
the desserts is offset by the good enzymes and bacteria in
Of course, most poor Tamils sustain themselves with a
little rice or ragi gruel and maybe a rasam and some yogurt.
Ragi is a red grain grown in south India. When I asked an
anthropologist friend of mine who lived in South India about
it, he did not recommend that we try to recreate it. Having
eaten it a lot himself, he warned that it can cause severe
digestive problems, especially for those unaccustomed to it.
You can find finely-ground ragi flour (commonly used in
India rota breads) in Indian stores. The ragi consumed by
poor Indians is generally much coarser.
A note on South Indian ingredients:
Tamarind is the date-like fruit of a large Indian tree.
Indian groceries will usually carry tamarind pulp, which
contains seeds. Tamarind pulp must be soaked in hot water,
which is then strain to remove the seeds, before use. You
can also buy tamarind concentrated, seedless tamarind paste.
You add it to hot water and stir to dissolve before using in
recipes.... I use 2-3t of tamarind paste per 1c of soaking
water called for in recipes. Tamarind is quite sour; lemon
juice can be substituted when called for in tiny amounts.
Asofoetida (�heeng�) usually comes in powder form and is
made from a dried resin. It is very, very pungent and on its
own not very desirable. It�s one of those things like
anchovy (think Worchestershire Sauce) that rounds out dishes
and is indistinguishable in judicious amounts. You would
only use a pinch in most dishes and you can omit it. Some
cooks use a little garlic as a substitute.
Toor Dal are split and spinned pigeon peas, sometimes
confusingly called �red gram dal.� They are yellow. Toor Dal
is a central ingredient (adding body) in sambars and rasams.
Cooking it in water is the first step in making either. I
find that toor dal takes about 30-40 minutes to cook to a
very soft state necessary for these dishes, although time
may vary. You should be able to mash it easily with a fork.
In Tamil recipes, you do not drain the dal before adding it
to sambars and rasams.
Whole Spices and Dried Coconut and Legumes are often
ground to make pastes that season and thicken south Indian
dishes. If you use a recipe that calls for a paste
containing these ingredients, be sure to grind them very,
very finely�otherwise the texture won�t be very pleasant.
I�ve adapted the recipes here so that you don�t need to
worry about this.
Ghee is clarified butter from which the milk solid have
been removed so that it can be used for frying. (Milk solids
in butter burn at a relatively low temperature�think about
how fast butter browns�thus making whole butter a poor
frying medium.) Ghee is sold in Indian stores and many
others, but process is easy to do and you�ll find directions
easily on the internet. For the recipes I�ve included, whole
butter will work fine as long as you are careful with your
cooking temperature and watch it carefully.
Curry Leaves are small and flavorful but have nothing to
do with curry powder (a spice blend). They are used in
tempering. Fresh are best and many Indian stores will carry
them. If you can�t find them, however, don�t worry.
Sambar and Rasam Powders are spices mixes, just like
curry powder. You can make your own or purchase the mixes in
Indian stores. They vary by brand and by cook, but generally
contain the same basic ingredients.
CHENNAI: C.K. Gariyali, Principal Secretary to the Governor, had
only one complaint. "As I am a vegetarian, I am not able to eat
some of the best dishes here ... "
Going by her
comments, and that of the other guests, the `Tamilaga Unavu
Tiruvizha' (Festival of foods of Tamil Nadu) at the MGR
Institute of Hotel Management and Catering last week was a grand
The annual food festival organised by the
college on Friday featured over 30 recipes, a majority of them
non-vegetarian. It was a spread to do justice to Tamil cuisine:
Kancheepuram idly, Tirunelveli halwa, Pudukkottai idiyappam,
Thengapal and Namakkal Vadai, among others, for vegetarians. For
non-vegetarians, the fare included Chennai
meen kozhumbu, Erode mutton chukka, Ramanathapuram era
varuval, Nagapattinam sura puttu, Sivagangai Chettinad koli
Finally, all these washed down with piping
Kumbakonam degree coffee.
Institute principal K.
Damodharan (Chef Damu), college chairperson D. Meenakshi Ammal
and managing trustee A.N Radhakrishnan were at hand to look
after the guests.