It was Karthigai deepam yesterday and I didn't realize until Amma told me. It kind of slipped my memory. But how can I not remember Karthigai Deepam? As every festival, this too has special memories associated. This festival is very special to Tamil Nadu and since having lived here all my life, this has become part of our celebrations too.
Having said that, I knew what the festival is about though when Konda asked why it is celebrated, I found it hard to paraphrase it. So here are the notes on the festival.
Karthikai Deepam is a festival of lights celebrated by Tamil Hindus on the full moon day of Karthikai month (November/December), which is observed in every home and in every temple. This occurs on the day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai (Pleiades) and purnima. This constellation appears as a group of six stars in the firmament in the shape of a pendant from the ear. Many legends and lyrical poetry have grown round this star. The six stars are considered in Indian mythology as the six celestial nymphs who reared the six babies in the saravana tank which later were joined together to form the six faced Muruga. He is therefore called Karthikeya, the one brought up by the Karthigai nymphs. Houses and streets are lit up with rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the festival day. - Source Wiki
But no where linked with these were our sentiments that I shared with my brother. We used to save some crackers for the day and used to look forward to fire them. On the day it is not only welcomed for the crackers but for the special treat that Amma makes with Puffed Rice and Jaggary. These are the famous Pori Urundai, a special variety of puffed rice that is available only on this day. The markets are vibrant and busy selling heaps and heaps of these puffed rice.
Recently when my dinner was planned to be Uggani, I ended up in a shop that sells exclusively the puffed and beaten rice products. I was amazed I never went that way. Finally I walked away carrying 3 bags of puffed rice and promising myself to be back there again. But Deepam completely went off my mind, else I would've got another bag.
So when Amma reminded me, the first thought that came to mind were these lovely laddos that is made with puffed rice and jaggary. She asked me not to worry as I will not have time to make these coming back from office. Well I was blessed to taste these again as Amma made them for me. And another surprise was Athamma made these delicious Horse gram stuffed vadas, deep fried! I must say, there is really something so basic about digging into a deep fried snack. The satisfaction you get is priceless, atleast for me!
For today it is going to be Pori Urundai!
Coming to my eBook, I was so happy receiving the user comments. Everybody who bought the book were so happy with the way it has turned. I was really so thrilled hearing their comments. If you are interested to buy it, you can get the details here. I am sure it will make a great festival gift!
My heartfelt thanks to all your wishes and support!
Pori Urundai Recipe!
Puffed Rice / Poha / Pori - 1 Kg
Jaggary - 1/2 Kg
Cardamon - 1/2 tsp
Rice flour for dusting - 2 tsp
Method to prepare:
Clean the puffed rice to remove any unwanted particles that may be present in it.
In a wide mouth kadai, melt jaggary and remove impurities. Then continue boiling it, till you get the right syrup. (till it reaches a consistency of a ball). This can be identified by dropping a drop of the jaggary into a bowl of water and trying to make a ball. You should be able to get a solid ball of the melted jaggary.
Once the jaggary reaches this stage, add the poha and mix well.
Bring the pan/kadai down, and coat your palm with rice flour and quickly gather the poha jaggry mix into tight balls. Coating your palm with rice flour will prevent it from sticking.
Notes: By adding the poha to the kadai and mixing gets you the right consistency.
Store these in a container, these normally stays crispy for a week or so.