This time of the year marks the beginning of the Tamil month of Panguni and the end of the previous month of Masi according to the solar calender. Tomorrow, the 14th of March, is the first day of Panguni, on which day Karadaiyan Nombu is celebrated in commemoration of Sathi Savithri’s success in bringing back her husband’s life.
Karadai, a sweet preparation made out of rice powder and jaggery is prepared on this day. Although the name implies a different meaning.This is how we prepare it in our family.
- Roasted rice powder – 1 cup
- Cow pea(Red) – 1tablespoon.
- Powdered jaggery – 1 and 1/4cups.
- Grated coconut- 1 and 1/2 cup or half a coconut of medium size.
- Cardamom powder – 1 teaspoon
- Ghee -1 to 2 tablespoons.
- A pinch of salt
- Butter – about 50 grams.
To prepare roasted rice powder– Wash and soak 1cup of raw rice in water for 1 to 2 hours. Drain water and dry the soaked rice in a white cloth under shade. When the moisture is removed fully dry grind it in a mixer into a fine powder. Dry roast it in a frying pan till a nice aroma comes out of it, taking care not to burn it. Keep aside.(This can be readied the previous day itself)
Dry roast the cow peas in a pan in medium till it emits a nice flavour,and soak in just sufficient quantity of water and allow to stand overnight.
On the day of preparation, pressure cook the cow peas in the same water upto two whistles.
Dissolve jaggery in 1 and a half cups of water, filter, strain and allow to boil, adding the coconut gratings and the pinch of salt till the raw smell goes.
Now add roasted rice flour and the cooked peas together into the boiling jaggery solution, stirring all the while.
Add the cardamom powder and the ghee, stir well till every thing together cooks well to form a thick paste. Remove from fire and allow to cool.
When reasonably cool, roll the cooked flour into balls. Take half of the balls and flatten in the form of adais on plantain leaves. The remaining balls have to be shaped into kozhukkattais.
Steam cook for ten minutes.
After removing the steamed adais and kozhukkattais, it is offered to god before consumption
The women in the family perform Naivedyam (offerings to the divine) after placing a Karadai and Kozhukkattai in a plantain leaf with betel leaves, arecanut (betel nut) and a ripe banana in front of the idol of God. A Charadu (sacred thread) with a flower tied to it like a pendant (in a necklace) is also placed along with the offering.
A small quantity of butter is placed on the adai and offered to the gods. While offering the women chant, ‘urukkadha vennaium oradaium vaitthen, orukkalum piriyamal en kanavan irukka‘ which is essentially an entreaty to God to grant her husband a long life. After finishing the pooja, according to one’s custom, charadu should be tied around the neck.
This is an ancient ritual long practiced before the advent of modern customs like Valentine’s day, where the menfolk usually do the toil.