Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A typical Palakkad Aiyer meal

Menu from back left in clockwise direction:  Avial, Nellakai pachadi, Rice, Keerai Molagutal, Tomato rasam, Bhindi

This is a typical meal to be found in any Palakkad Aiyer home.  First let me explain what each dish is.

Avial:  A mixture of various vegetables - generally white pumpkin, beans, carrots, yam, raw banana, drumstick, red pumpkin, potatoes - cut long, cooked with salt and turmeric.  To this is added coconut and green chilli ground finely in a blender with a bit of tamarind water or yogurt added in at the end.

Nellikai pachadi:  Amla/gooseberries, ground together with a small piece of ginger, coconut and green chilli and then mixed with yogurt, seasoned with mustard seeds.

Keerai molgutal:  Same as molagutal explained in my post  Only difference here is that instead of other vegetables, spinach/palak is cooked, mashed and used to make the molagutal (with dal and ground masala).  All other details remain unchanged.

Tomato rasam:  Made with tomatoes, pepper, ginger strips and corriander.  I do not add any dal to this rasam.  The pepper and ginger are very soothing especially if one has a cold or cough.  This rasam can be drunk just like soup or mixed with rice like any other rasam.

Nutritionally speaking, this is a very healthy meal.  The avial gives one a wonderful mix of vitamins and minerals that one can get from vegetables.  The amla is a rich source of Vitamin C as well as an anti-cancer fruit.  The keerai molagutal is a rich source of iron and the dal provides the protein.  The tomato rasam again a source of Vitamin C and Bhindi a rich source of Vitamin K.  The only objection once could possibly have is that coconut is used in many of these dishes - avial, nellikai pachadi and keerai molagutal.  But if one considers the total amount of coconut that goes into cooking these dishes and then the amount that one eats of it in the portions one consumes, it is not really such a major cause of concern.  Besides this being fresh coconut, it is not so harmful.  Although traditionally coconut oil is used in cooking these dishes, these days one dispenses of that ingredient and uses normal oil.  I personally prefer to use gingelly oil for everything.


  1. wow... love the menu and dishes swati:) Delicious and yummmmmy!! wish i was there with you in today's lunch!!

  2. This is indeed a healthy and wholesome balanced meal...
    Similar to what most vegetarian South Indian homes have ... more veggies,less of deep fries...

  3. True Usha. Most of our traditional meals are very healthy and balanced. If only we stick to these kind of meals and avoided all the junk food that we tend to eat these days,we would have lesser health issues to deal with.