Monday, April 16, 2007


Virundu in Tamil means feast. When I came to know about the RCI event hosted by Lakshmi I made up my mind to do something big. This contribution is based on the major main course meal that is served anywhere in Tamilnadu like restaurants, weddings or gatherings. For this you need to have a great appetite. This full course meal is served in almost all small towns, villages and cities in Tamilnadu
I have always enjoyed having such meals while in India and for the first time I am cooking so many dishes all together at a time. I am going to explain the recipes based on how they are served.

Paruppu podi(Dal Powder)

1cup roasted gram dal (pottu kadalai in tamil)
½ cup gram dal (chana dal)
½ cup sesame seed
3-4 dry red chillies
1tbsp cumin
Desiccated coconut (optional)
2pinch asafoetida
Salt to taste.

Roast the dals, sesame seeds, chillies and cumin separately till golden brown and aroma rises. After cooling grind all the ingredients together to make powder. This podi is served first with ghee and rice.

Paruppu-nei sadam(Dal-ghee rice)

This is plain pressure-cooked thoor dal (tuvaram parupu) to which salt and ghee is added and is relished with rice. Ohh .. Nothing can beat its taste. The aroma of melting ghee in hot dal rice is real heaven.

Ennai Kathirikai (eggplant in oil)
(Poriyal category)

10-12 Small sized Eggplant
2tbsp Dhaniya powder (coriander)
3tbsp Idly or dosa powder (Idly/dosa milagai podi)
2tbsp Besan (gram flour)
1tbsp desiccated coconut
Salt as per requirement, as there is some salt in Idly/dosa powder.
3-4 tbsp oil

Slit the eggplant in to 4 from the bottom alone. Mix all the above given powders together and fill it into the eggplant as shown in picture. In a deep-bottomed frying pan add oil and gently place the eggplants, such that the powders don’t spill out. In medium heat gently stir the eggplants so that each one gets a coating of oil. Cover it with lid for 5-10 minutes and toss gently to check if it’s cooked. That’s it!! It tastes heavenly with rice.

Vendakkai sambar (okra sambar)

1cup medium cut okra
½ cup medium cut onions
1cup thoor dal
1cup tamarind water
1cup tomato puree
1tsp dhaniya powder (coriander)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp sambar powder
Chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and water as per requirement.

For tempering
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Red chillies
Curry leaves
2tsp oil or ghee

Fry the okra in 2 tsp oil in a pan for 10 –13 min till it gets soft. Keep separately. In a saucepan add tamarind water, turmeric and salt and bring to boil. Now add the okra, onions, sambar powder and dhaniya powder and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
Add tomato puree to this and again it should come to a boil. Finally add pressure-cooked and mashed dal and stir together. Add water if the sambar gets too thick. That depends on how you want the sambar to be. Temper with given ingredients and add cilantro. A small tip. As soon as you temper, cover the sambar or rasam with a lid. This will keep the aroma trapped inside the dish and will later fill the whole house with mind blowing aroma.

Vathal kulambu (sour gravy made with sundried veggies)

½ cup sundakkai or manathakali vatral
1cup medium sliced onions
1cup tomato puree
1cup tamarind puree
1tsp turmeric powder
½ cup water
3-4 tbsp oil
vathal kulambu powder
1-2 tbsp Jaggery or cane sugar

For Tempering

Mustard seeds – 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds 1/3 tsp
Red chillies- 3-4
Curry leaves- a handful
Asafoetida- 1/3 tsp

For people who don’t have vathal kulambu powder
1tsp coriander seeds
2tsp red gram dal (thoor dal)
2tsp gram dal (chana dal)
1tsp cumin seed
1tsp sesame seed
2tsp roasted gram dal (pottu kadalai in Tamil)
Red dry chillies

Preparing vathal kulambu powder
Roast all the ingredients separately in medium heat. The aroma should come out of the dals. After cooling, grind them all into powder. You can increase to ratio and store them.

Preparation of Vathal Kulambu

In a deep bottom frying pan add 2-3 tbsp oil and fry the vathal till aroma rises. Remove it from the pan and keep separately. In the same pan fry onions and add tamarind puree, tomato puree, vathal powder, salt, turmeric and bring to boil. Once it has come to a good boil, add the vathal and jaggery, cook for 3-5 minutes. Temper this curry with mustard, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, red chillies and asafetida. If you don’t have vathal, no worries you can use fried bitter gourd or okra.
Sundakki (Turkey berry) is Canthium inerme scientifically. Or manathakali vathal (BLACK NIGHTSHADE) is Solanum nigrum. These are prepared by soaking them in sour yoghurt and salt. Later they are sun dried till crisp and dry.

The small ones are Manatakkali and bigger ones are sundakai
Food Facts
Manathakkli is high in vitamins and has got a lot of medicinal properties. It is used as a Cardiac tonic. It corrects disorders of nutrition. the fruit of the plant serves as an effective laxative & improves appetite. It is known as sun berry or wonder cherry or the black nightshade in English. The blacks nightshade is used as an important ingredient in several Indian medicines.

Sundakai is good for skin ailments and liver disorders. It has the medicinal values for opening the appetite and relieves colds. Root and leaves used for waist cramp, traumatic injury and gastric pain; also as antitussive, amenorrhea and analgesic. For chronic coughs. This is just some of its properties.

Sorakai Pal kootu (bottle gourd kootu with milk)
1cup chopped sorakai (bottle gourd)
½ cup cooked chana dal
½ cup coconut
Green chillies
1tsp pepper powder
½ cup milk
½ tsp turmeric

For tempering
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Curry leaves
Red chillies

Pressure-cook the dal and sorakai together. Only 2 whistles in the pressure cooker. It should not get over cooked. Grind coconut and green chillies along with pepper. Add the coconut mix to the sorakai and dal. Also add salt and turmeric and bring to boil. When the coconut gets cooked completely, remove from heat, add milk and stir gently. If your dal and sorakai has got cooked more. In a separate saucepan cook the coconut mixture and later add the dal and sorakai. This way you would not over cook the sorakai.
Temper it with the given ingredients.

Takkali Rasam (tomato rasam)

1cup tamarind water
1cup tomato puree
½ tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp rasam powder
½ cup water
Chopped cilantro
½ cup cooked thoor dal

For tempering
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Curry leaves

Boil tamarind water along with turmeric, salt, rasam powder and water. To this add tomato puree and let it boil for 10 minutes. At last add cooked thoor dal and cilantro. After a boil remove from stove and temper. Rasam is always in my every day menu.
It’s a great comfort food.

Rava Kesari

1cup Sooji (semolina)
½ cup sugar
½ cup ghee
2cups water
kesari coloring powder
Cashews and raisins fried in ghee (clarified butter)

Fry the sooji in ghee till aroma rises. Add sugar, water and coloring powder to it and keep stirring. The sooji should leave the corners of the thick-bottomed pan. Add ghee fried cashews and raisins.

Getti thayir(thick yoghurt)
Thick yoghurt to be had with rice. Mor milagai (Green chillies soaked in buttermilk and is sun dried) is fried in oil till aroma rises and served with rice. Other pickles like lemon or mango are also served. The pickle in the picture is called the Vadu mangai urugai. Small tender mango pickle.

Neer moru
This is buttermilk with chopped ginger, coriander, green chillies and salt.

The other side dishes to cherish with rice are tomato vadagam, rice vadagam, javarisi vadagam, and madras appalam. In dessert variety the sweets you see in the picture are mysorepak and badushah that is store bought.

After all this you get bananas or sweet pan (vetrilai paku) at the end.


Sig said...

OMG, Sharmi, what a spread!!! I'm bookmarking to come back and get the recipes later... An amazing entry for RCI!

Kajal said...

Hi Sharmi,
Bunch of very nice dishes.
Good Job.
I learn many things from your post.
Thanks for it.
Love your presentation.
Keep it up dear.
Take Care.:)

Raji said...

loads of delicious reicpes
luv them
sundakkai is new to me though

KF said...

Wondeful!lots of dishes.Most of the recipes are new to me.Thanks for shating.

Roopa said...

Hey Sharmi!
Thats a wonderfull feast!
would love to hop to where you are :)

Very good entry!!

sunita said...

OMG, Sharmi...what a spread...did you make all that only for the entry...wish I was near you...would have turned up at your doorstep...simply amazing...

Sia said...

Oh My God!!!!! what an amazing spread of delicious food... how in the hell(i cant use any other word here;) did u manage to cook so many dishes? did u take one whole week to prepare them?;) he hehe... r u trying to give competition to ashakka here? he he he... i have to come back again to go through this in leisure:)

Anh said...

Sharmi, you are a super woman! Beautiful spread of food here. I;m hungry!

FH said...

OMG!!!! I wish I was there Sharmi!! What a great spread.You could send this to RCI Tamil Nadu!
I love all the recipes,thank you so much:))

FH said...

Oops,I just read they are for RCI,good for you.I love them all:))

Bharathy said...

Amazing spread..A real good treat for RCI..feel like I had your VIRUNDHU... (BURP) Fantastic...I have prepared one for RCI....simple one..
Added your blog in my list last week.
Need to learn a lot from your site...Will you help me??

Bharathy said...

Thanx for that picture...was looking out for a free picture for my the link thru your slide show...

Nupur said...

This is one of the most extaordinary food blog posts I have ever read! I'm just speechless! A feast for the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sharmi, that sure is a feast. It is always great to see how everything is served. I like the vathal kolumbu and would love to try it. Did you get the vathal in US? are they available at Indian stores here?

sra said...

That was a lot of hard work, Sharmi! I never came across sorakai pal kootu in Tamil cuisine, though! Any idea which part of TN it's made?

Pravs said...

Oh sharmi, please invite me for this feast. Food looks mouth- watering. Very nice recipes. The bottle gourd recipe, a friend just told me how to make this curry.... and now i see the same recipe here. I will follow your recipe now.

Mishmash ! said...

Girl u made more than the regular feast items I I have never seen so much of appalam and sweet varieties wherever we went for a marriage feast ...Looks like u welcomed the Tamil New Year in a grand way! Way to go !!!


Richa said...

what a colorful spread! getting to see so many feasts after the new year celebrations!
will come back later for the recipes.

swapna susarla said...

WOW sharmi
what a feast!!!!looks fabulous!!!

Aahaar Vihaar said...

Lots of recipes in one post. That's sure is a treat to the eyes and stomach. I love Manathakkali vathal and the sundakai kolambu. Also, tender mango pickle, Mmm....
Mom marinates and prepares at home. I miss all that here. Anyway everything looks so delicious.

Reena said...

sharmi, never seen an entry like this. you have captured everything at one go. i will come back to check each recipe. did you make all this in one day?

Priya Bhaskaran said...

ghosh!! you made all these...simply superab madam....kalakitinga:)

Mythreyee said...

OMG that is amazing. Virundu bada Joru. I am waiting for this kind of Ela Saapaadu. Visiting India next month.

Cynthia said...

Sharmi, like Sig said, OMG, this is some feast - wow. Everything looks great. I'm speechless. That was some task you took on. Congrats hon.

Sharmi said...

Thank you so much Sig, Kajal, Raji, Fairy, Roopa and Suni. lovely compliments!!

Sia dear, I made all the dishes in one day.thank you!

thank you so much Anh and Asha.

Sharmi said...

sure Bharathy, What do you want to know?

Padma said...

Like everyone wished, I was lucky enough to taste the virundu by sharmi and the Vathal Kulumbu rocks!
thanks sharmi, coz by the end of the feast I was very much full....burp!

Sharmi said...

thanks a lot Nupur!! so honoured!!

hey Vee, I dont know if we get vathals in US. I got it from India. can check to see if I find them here. thank you.

Sra, Pal koothu is made commonly every where in TN. I got this recipe from Tamil Magazine.

Sharmi said...

thanks Pravs!

Ya Shn I bought a lot of stuff when I visited India this time. thanks dear.

Thanks Richa and Sawpna!

hey AV, I too love Tender mango pickle, got em from India!!

Ya Reena made it all in one day. was tough though!!

Sharmi said...

thanks a lot Priya, Mythye and Cynthia!!

Sharmi said...

Thank you so much Padma!! That was the most amazing compliment!! I feel great!!

Unknown said...

where are your feets are just many delicacies cooked at one tme...WOW !! Just beautiful

Manjula said...

Amazing that you managed to cook so many things on the same day! This is really a feast :)

Viji said...

Sharmi, Greatpost and nice entry. Feel like visited some marriage function. So nice spread and nice authentic recipes. Good job. Viji

Dr. Soumya Bhat said...

Now this is really temting me.Where did you get the leaf from? lovely dishes and a traditional way of eating this is what i like.Hmmm everything looks so nice

Latha said...

OMG Sharmi! What a spread! I am sooooo hungry... where do u live? Wish i could have come over :-)
Awesome entry for the RCI event. I am going to make my mom cook a big meal like this for me... she is coming next week... i'm too lazy. i would rather crave for it looking at your lovely pictures.

muralee said...

Wow, amazing range of food with stunning captures of photography. Too good...

Shilpa said...

Oh god..thats so delicious.

USHA said...

Hi Sharmi,

What a spread my gal!!!Authenic recipes...Hmmm when i see Crane pakku i remember our functions only...Hope whole family had nice time and feast on varuda piruppu.

Bong Mom said... are a genius. What have you done, OMG. Lovely lovely spread and equally lovely presentation, it gives me a beautiful idea of Tamil Cuisine

bee said...

a very happy new year to you and your family, sharmi. you have space in your tummy for a banana after all that gorgeous food?

Seema Bhat said...

Look at that wonderful array of dishes beautifully displayed on that evergreen banana leaf. Looks so very authentic Sharmi. Looks like the good whole South Indian thali. Loved all the dishes urf recipes. Best entry for RCI. Why didn't you let me know that you are making so many dishes. I would have drove to your place straight from the school. Great job Sharmi.

archana said...

This is one of the best food blog posts i ever read, thank you so much for sharing this fabulous spread with us. This post brought back the memories of an elaborate meal we once had in Madurai,TN. A traditional tamilnadu feast is nothing less than pure joy. Thank you, thank you and again thank you.

Ranjani said...

OMG ..and i thought that i cooked a lot for tamil new year have cooked a week's meal :))
awesome !

Pdk said...

Amazing presentation and most of the dishes are new to me.. have to try it, like the sorraki pal koothu and ennai kathirikkai... i wish i had a leaf of all the dishes laid out for me.. thanks for adding and if u dont mind, adding you to my blogroll..
Happy cooking

Reena said...

sharmi, i still can't believe you cooked an entire year's meal in one day. wow!!!! i am visiting this page again and again:)):))

Saju said...

Wow Sharmi, you have worked so hard, it is amazing, I can't wait to try some of it.

Rajani Rayudu said...

Hi Sharmi,
Wow what a spread I thought u got it from a magazine, How did u cook all those in one day. You must be super women. Love your RCI spread. Very colourful and what a feast. Well done! u rock.


Mahek said...

you have put in a lot of effort to make such a great post , thanks for sharing it with us.
can you tell me how you loaded the player on to your blog?

Sumitha said...

Goodness Gracious!What is this Sharmi?From where did you find the energy to do it all?My God I am surprised!Take rest dear;)I have to show this post to my hubby too!You have one very lucky hubby I should say:)

Prema Sundar said...

Hey Sharmi... Looks like I can come over ..I love to have food seved in banana leaf. All the dishes are good. perfect entry.

Sharmi said...

Thank you so much all of you for all your Lovely and adorable comments. feels really great:))

Prema Sundar said...

Hi Sharmi,
I was attracted by the picture of banana leaf spread. Actually me and revathi of en- ulagam has created a blog of tamil recipes. U can view it at
We thought a picture of south indian food in banana lea would be good. I saw one in kanchana's blog too. we decided to ask u both or the picture. can we use ur picture for the blog.we need ur permission for that. ... will wait for ur reply.

Deepa Hari said...

Hi Sharmi,
Wow, wonderful long did it take you to prepare all the dishes...its great...really appreciate your effort and dedication...thanks for sharing.


sailaja said...

Sharmi, I must commend you for your patience and passion for cooking traditional Tamil food which reflects in this beautiful post. A feast to the eyes and the palate!!

Gorgeous pictures and presentation, Sharmi! I can't think of a better entry for RCI-Tamil. This post has it all!

Suganya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suganya said...

This post brought back all the memories of my celebrating Tamil New Year's day with mom and dad. You are making me home sick. We don't get to cook so many dishes for just the two of us. So all i can do is watch and drool over yours.

Revathi said...

So right it was just seeing tv. I should say you prepared a whole weeks food for one spread !! Awesssooommmeeeee.
I am going to add the page to the Tamil cusine special at

Ayesha Seerin said...

Mind blowing .. I am speechless...

Unknown said...


Wow, So many dishes.. you really have patience.. It is really good post.

Unknown said...

I was searching what a manathakkali looked liked, 'cos i hadn't heard of it earlier. Not only that i could see a picture of it here, but i got some wonderful recipes... and yeah i'm going to bookmark it now to visit again. I want to relish the virundu upto the last ....buttermilk and bananas...yummmmmmy...

Thanks a lot. I am happy about the wonderful discovery i made via manathakkali.

Kay said...

Awesome!!! I cant believe you made all those... Sharmi!

Finla said...

You should have invited me to you Virindu
It looks delicious...........looking to the picture made me really hungry.
Last time i had a vrindu with everything like in your pice was when i was back in India.

Swapna said...

Wow Sharmi, that was a great food layout...keep ur good job up....i love ur blog . ur sambhar looks delicious do u hav recipe for sambhar powder...

Sharmi said...

Dear Jill, thanks a lot for the lovely words. to Post about sambar powder might take a while for me because when I make them I will be posting. If you need it urgently please send an email to my Id which is in my blog, I will give you the recipe. you can also try the udupi sambar in my blog. that is pretty easy.

Dori said...

Yum...everything here looks so good! I had tried to make Rava Kesari but I cooked it a bit too long :D The picture of yours looks so good!!! Your eggplant dish also looks amazing!

RM said...

Wow - thanks for the wonderful recipes. I tried the paal kootu and the vetral kuzhambu. This is the first time my VK turned out as authentic as it should!

Archana Doshi said...

delish spread. And YUmm, its been such a long time since I have had yelai sapadu!. BTW, i am hosing a ONE DISH MEAL EVENT. I would love for you to take part. Check my site for more details.

Anamika-The Nameless said...

Hello Sharmi,

I visited your site and tried out the sorakai kootu. thanks, it turned out very well. wondering if I could do the same without the coconut! I try to be as conscious as possible about what I put into my food and I hardly use coconut.

Anyways, i like your recipes. please continue posting newer ones.


Thenu said...

Hi Sharmi,
I am a new comer to your blog and by far this is the best foodie blog I would say! You have a wealth of recipes- unique, common, popular and what not. It is mouth watering and something about this blog is very catchy.Truly inspiring. I have a food blog too, ofcourse not as eloborate as yours. :) Keep up the great work, dear!

jerry said...

i was satisfied.

jerry said...


jerry said...


Jaanu said...

i am bookmarking this page wonderful package

Jaanu said...

i m bookmarking this page full package of south indian food. this is what i was searching for so long
i never tried soraka kutu and vatha kulambu in my menu thanks

Unknown said...

hi sharmi,

very nice. if its in tamil language..... very very useful for me. regards shree.