Chennai

Margazhi’s delicious traditions

Food consultant Rakesh Raghunathan explains to historian Pradeep Chakravarthi how akkaraadisil is made.

Food consultant Rakesh Raghunathan explains to historian Pradeep Chakravarthi how akkaraadisil is made.  

Akkaraadisil, pongal have been here at least since the 8th Century

The sweet akkaraadisil and savoury venn pongal, ladled steaming hot with loads of dry fruits and generous dollops of ghee, in temples during the Tamil month of Margazhi, have remained the same at least since the 8th century. Poet-saint Andal speaks of akkaraadisil in her ‘Nachiyar Thirumozhi’ and of pongal in ‘Thiruppavai’.

At a recent event titled ‘Akkaraadisil and Andal’ at The Park hotel, guests were served akkaraadisil, venn pongal, samba dosai (a speciality of Azhagar Koil), Kancheepuram koil idli, chutney and yummy gothsu without onions or garlic, using only traditional ingredients, just like the recipes followed in temples.

The old ways

Food traveller Rakesh Raghunathan explained that the dishes had been prepared traditionally, on wood-based stoves.

Historian and writer Pradeep Chakravarthy spoke of Andal’s ‘Nachiyar Thirumozhi’, and of her prayer to Sri Azhagar in Thirumaliruncholai, a hill temple near Madurai, in which she promised to offer him 100 thadas (that’s equivalent to a pond) of butter and 100 thadas of sweet akkaraadisil if the deity united her with her Lord. “The tale goes that she finally becomes one with her Lord but the promise remained unfulfilled. It was Saint Ramanuja who instituted a festival on the 27th day of Margazhi at the Azhagar temple, where butter and akkaraadisil are offered even today,” he added.

Though akkaraadisil is a tough dish to make, Mr. Raghunathan showed how to make a quick and easy version.

Here is the recipe: Pressure cook one cup of rice and 1/4 cup of toasted moong dal together. Add a cup of water to three cups of powdered jaggery and strain it. Boil two cups of whole milk with three cups of water. Mix a whiff of nutmeg, the cooked rice and dal, the strained jaggery, cardamom, fried cashew nuts and raisins. Alongside, Mr. Raghunathan sang verses of Andal’s poetry as Mr. Chakravarthy explained their meaning.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:01:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Margazhi%E2%80%99s-delicious-traditions/article17021857.ece

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