Happy Deepavalli everyone! In Tamil, Thirattuppaal means milk condensed to a semi-solid consistency. This is a speciality of Tamil Nadu, but it is curiously, nowadays, neither made at home nor found in shops, maybe because the North Indian milk sweets have become very popular. I chose this as a Deepavalli special as it can be made at home quite easily – but not quickly 🙂 – instead of buying sweets from stores, which is now the norm but also very expensive.
As the name suggests, Mysore Pak does not belong to Tamil Nadu. It has come from the state of Karnataka but has won the hearts of Tamilians, and is one of the most popular and requested sweets here. With Deepavali this weekend the shops are filled with gifts packs of this sweet, so why not surprise everyone with homemade Mysore Pak?
Murukku is very popular in Tamil Nadu as a snack. There are several types of murukkus involving various ingredients and techniques. Thaenkuzhal is one such type very popular in Thirunelveli district. Though murukku is available with most traditional snack vendors, the theankuzhal type is usually made at home. This recipe is from the Saiva Pillaimar, and I still make it at home during December as it is part of the Christmas tradition in our family.
(My city Chennai has been devastated by floods over the last few weeks. I didn’t have power for most of this week and all our infrastructure and supplies are still patchy. I was not sure I would be able to post this but things have improved slightly today. I was not sure I should post this with all the pain and misery around us, but decided to go ahead as everyone needs cheering up and good wholesome food is necessary for keeping spirits high – even mine. If you are in/from Chennai I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.)
The 12 Days of Christmas always started on the 12th of December for us, as that was my husband’s birthday. I used to cook special dishes every day and we all increased our girth – it wasn’t only the geese that were getting fat! This festive meal of Tomato Biriyani with Thayir Pachadi (onion raita) and Milagu Chops (pepper chops) was also one of our diet busters 🙂 These are three of the few recipes I have from my father’s mother, Kothai Devadas, who was an excellent cook but unfortunately lived far away in Erode so I rarely sampled her cooking.
This is my first foray into Urdu Muslim cooking – khamir (or khameer) is Urdu for yeast. Saira Mohseen was my student in 1988. She now lives in Melbourne. For the Eid celebrations she had prepared Khamiri roti with other dishes and had posted a photo of the meal on Facebook. I had not come across Khamiri Roti before, and so I asked her for the recipe which she readily shared, cautioning me that it was not standardized. I have standardised the recipe and presented it here with a more detailed procedure.