Kala’s All Wheat Kuzhippaniaram (with Vermicelli)

Kuzhippaniaram is traditionally made with dosai batter. I came up with this recipe one morning when I wanted to make vermicelli uppuma but found I had only one cup of vermicelli. While wondering what to do, I had a brainwave: why not make a kuzhippaniaram with vermicelli? I then extended this concept to include other wheat products, creating this very unique combination of a South Indian dish made with wheat (which doesn’t grow here). This goes extremely well with Vengaya Sambar and Coconut Thuvaiyal.

All Wheat Kuzhipaniaram 1 - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s All Wheat Kuzhippaniaram (with Vermicelli)

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Vazhaikkai Cutlet (Unripe Banana Cutlet)

Vazhaikkai (unripe bananas/plantains) are available round the year if you are lucky enough to live in South India :). The bananas are used in a variety of dishes as part of a dish like aviyal or kootanchoru, or as the primary ingredient in preparations like these cutlets. I have adapted this recipe from my grandmother’s vazhaikkai vadais. I prefer this as it is shallow fried with very little oil.

Vazhaikkai Cutlet - Kalas Kalai

Vazhaikkai Cutlet

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Ulundhu Vadai (Black Gram Dhal Patties)

In Tamil Nadu we serve Ulundhu Vadai as an accompaniment to make a meal festive. On special occasions it is served with payasam (sweet dessert) or with ven pongal (a savoury rice dish) or idlis (steamed rice cakes). But even otherwise it makes a great all-time snack.

Ulundhu Vadai 1 - Kalas Kalai

Ulundhu Vadai

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Masala Dosai

I don’t think you will find a single South Indian who will say No to a Masala Dosai. It is not only an all-time favourite, it is also a special treat. Masala dosai is relished for breakfast, lunch, tea, or dinner. It is not very spicy and therefore popular with many tourists as well. South Indian who live abroad make sure to have masala dosai whenever they visit home, and introducing their children to the masala dosai is a special ritual.

Masala Dosai 1 - Kalas Kalai

Masala Dosai

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Thaenkuzhal (Murukku)

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.

Thaenkuzhal 1 - Kalaskalai

Thaenkuzhal (Murukku)

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Kolusa Paniaram (Star Paniaram)

It’s advent today! I’m going to kickoff the Christmas season with the first of my Christmas Specials, which will mostly feature recipes of Tamil Christians from the deep south of Tamil Nadu. There’ll be one every Sunday from now till Christmas.

When we got married, my mother gave each of my sisters and me a recipe book with many recipes she had collected. This recipe was in that book but I didn’t remember her ever making it. When I asked, she said that it was because the kolusa paniaram smelled of egg and it would disintegrate while frying. I later on discovered that she didn’t make it because she was allergic to egg. I tried the recipe and found that the paniaram did smell of egg, but the smell disappeared when coconut milk was added. I don’t know what ‘kolusa’ means, but this makes a very tasty snack with a star shape that is perfect for the Christmas season.

Kolusa Paniaram - Kalas Kalai

Kolusa Paniaram (Star Paniaram)

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Vazhaipoo Vadai (Banana Flower Vadai)

Though the Vazhaipoo Vadai is not a new recipe, it came into prominence in cookery demonstrations after it was mentioned in the Tamil film Kandukonden Kandukonden (which was based on Sense and Sensibility though that story did not feature Vazhaipoo Vadai). There are several versions of this recipe. My mother even had a version with ground coconut added along with cumin and garlic but I never relished it (maybe because the garlic made it very pungent). I experimented with most of them and arrived at the method below as it is very simple.

Vazhaipoo Vadai (Banana Flower Vadai)

Vazhaipoo Vadai (Banana Flower Vadai)

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