If you are not able to read what the title says, don’t bother. Kali is rice cooked with jaggery and Ezhukari kozhambu, which is sambar with 7 vegetables. This is a classic combination made for the festival of . Thiru + Adhirai is Thiruvadhirai, which is the birthday of . Adhirai is, obviously his birth star, and hence the day is called . I remember my Grandma pointing this star in the Northwest skies. It sparkles like a ruby, in bright red.
Facts apart, I love this festival, food being the primary reason. I am not a big fan of sweets, but ok with anything mildly sweet. Kali being rice cooked with jaggery is served with a savoury sambar. The sweet and spicy combination is like yin-yang for the taste buds, and I absolutely love it.Thiruvathirai Kali
This kali is also made with a mixture of rice and dal. Since the kozhambu has dal in it, I don’t find it necessary. The measurements given below serves two people.IngredientsRaw rice – ½ cup
Water – 1¼ cup
Jaggery – 1 cup, grated
Coconut – ¼ cup, grated
Ground elaichi or cardamom – ½ tsp
Cashews – 10
Ghee – 2 tspMethod
Roast rice until red. Wash rice and grind into a coarse meal, like rava. Roast cashews in a tsp of ghee until golden brown. Set aside.
In a pan, heat water and dissolve jaggery. Once dissolved, add coconut, ground rice and a tsp of ghee. Mix well and transfer to another vessel. Pressure cook this for 2 whistles. When done, cool and fluff. Mix roasted cashew nuts and ground elaichi. Serve with kozhambu.
Ezhukari kozhambu is supposed to be made with 7 vegetables, but you can add as many or as less as you want. This is more like sambar, but with lots of vegetables. In olden days, after the festivities are over, the ladies would mix left-over vegetables and sambar that was made earlier in the day. The resultant gravy is a delicious mixture of sweet root vegetables(plenty during the season) and spicy sambar.
My family calls this “Ericha Kuzhambu’, which loosely translates to sambar that is heated over and over again. This kuzhambu tastes better as it grows older, like wine. Well not that old, but 2 or 3 days. When this gravy is heated again and again, the vegetables almost melt mixing with spices. What is left is a divine concoction that goes well with almost everything, dosa and curd rice, in particular. If you are worried about nutrition depletion due to over heating, please look away. This is beyond all of that.IngredientsMixed vegetables – 3 cups, cubed
Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Toor dal – ¼ cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 10
Cilantro – few springs, chopped
Oil – 1 tbsp
SaltSpice mixtureCoriander seeds – 3 tbsp
Chana dal – 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
Red chillies - 8Roast all of the above in a tsp of oil and grind to a fine paste.Method
Vegetables that can be used are Red pumpkin, White pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato, potato, lima beans, peas, plantain, yam, elephant yam, colocasia, green beans, runner beans, cluster beans, chayote squash(chow chow), green chillies, snake gourd.
Pressure cook dal with a pinch of turmeric powder. In a big pot, mix vegetables, tamarind paste, turmeric powder, salt with enough water and boil until the vegetables have cooked and tamarind doesn’t smell raw. Combine the ground paste and cooked dal and bring it to a boil. Allow this to boil on a low flame for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning as required. In a small pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds and throw some curry leaves. Add this to sambar, along with cilantro and asafoetida. Serve with kali.