Mar 14, 2010

Karadiyan Nombu Festival!

Karadiyan Nombu - the southern version of Karva Chauth. Kind of.

I posted this recipe last year same time. Well..the recipe has not changed - so here it is again to relive the moment!

This nombu is also known as Savithri Virathum. The legend behind this festival goes something like this. My mom told me the story this morning. And she also insisted I can ask my husband for gift after I do this puja - that's just the 21st century twist. Everything needs a validation!

Once upon a time, long ago, long long ago...Savithri and Satyavan were a happily married couple. Savithri was very very pious and devoted to her husband. One sad day, Yama DharmaRaja came down to earth and took Satyavan with him saying his life on earth was over. Savithri was really mad at Yaman for taking her husband away. She decided to pray to Lord Shiva and get her husband back. She fasted for days without food and prayed to Lord Shiva. Shiva was impressed by Savithri's devotion and decided to grant her a boon. He came down to earth and told her that she had impressed him and that he was giving her a boon. His boon was that she would be happy in life and have 30 beautiful kids. She took the boon from him and then spoke out to him. She told Shiva that she was thankful that she gave him a boon for 30 beautiful kids but she needed her husband back from Yaman in order to have those 30 kids. Shiva had no other choice but to keep his word. He ordered Yaman to give back Satyavan life and reunite with his wife Savithri. That's the story of this Nombu...this nombu supposedly is so powerful that a woman could bring back her husband from the dead..In other words - you are praying for a long life for your husband. Little kids also do this and their prayers are that they get a good husband in the future.

And then there are people like me who do this for the adai! Hahah!

The special food that we prepare for this festival is called a Nombu Adai - there is a karam variety which has salt and spice in it and then there is a sweet variety which is made with Jaggery. Both have pieces of cocunut and karamani for a little kick!

The basis for both the adais is Rice Flour. Take a fry pan and dry roast the rice flour on medium heat till the raw smell goes away. You will have to do this step patiently. Don't keep the flame on high and burn the rice flour. Keep it in medium and keep stirring it till the bottom starts to get a slight color. Then switch off the flame and keep it in the pan.

Before you start anything, pressure cook some Karamani (brown daal with black eyes) and keep aside. Now, some mami's might not like this - and they would add the white daal with black eyes. But this is what I had at home and I think it works perfect.

Also, break open a fresh coconut - drink all the yummy water inside - and chop the coconut into small pieces. The best way to do this is by hand - don't use a chopper or food processor - you need biteable pieces not too tiny. So, handchopping works best.

For the Kara Adai (Spicy one) - chop 1 or 2 green chillies finely. And for the sweet adai - keep about 1-2 cups of Jaggery (depending upon how much rice flour you use) in a coarse powder form that will melt easily.

Divide the rice flour that you dry roasted into 2 halves for each kara Adai and sweet adai.

To one portion of the rice flour, add salt, red chilli powder - maybe 1 tsp of each. Add the finely chopped green chilli, coconut pieces and karamani pieces. Mix to combine well. Now, heat up equal amount of water in a big kadai - let the water boil really well. You should be able to see the big bubbles boiling. Add a tsp of oil to this water. When the water is boiling, add this rice flour mix to it and mix well quickly. Some people keep mixing it till it forms a ball. I just mixed it till it all combined well and all the water was absorbed. Check the pic below.

Now, when this is still hot, pick a small amount and start to make a ball with it. Make a nice smooth ball and poke a hole in between. Since, the mixture is still hot - keep dipping your fingers in water while you do this step. It helps your fingers keep cold, also helps from the dough not sticking to your hands. It also makes is easy to roll the dough in between your palms to make a ball.

Now, arrange these in a idli plate which is pre-greased. Once you have all the plates filled up, steam them in an idli cooker for 10 mins. And....drum roll...they are done!

Now, let's get started with the sweet variety.

Use the second half of the dry roasted Rice flour. Add coconut pieces and karamani pieces to this flour. Mix well to combine.

Now, boil water similar to what we did before. When the water is boiling, add the coarsly powdered jaggery to it and add a tsp of caradamom powder to enhance flavor. Do not heat up the jaggery too much. We don't want any one string consistency stuff here. That will just ruin the whole thing. When all the jaggery is melted well, switch off the stove and immediately add the dry mix to this. Mix well till all the water is incorporated well into the dough. I got a similar consistency to the kara adai mix.

Follow the same steps as we did for the kara adai - Make small balls and steam in idli cooker. I really did not put a hole in the middle for the sweet ones - because they kept breaking up the adai. I guess its because of the jaggery! Who needs a hole when the whole thing is so good??!!

Steam these adai in the idli cooker for like 10 mins. And ...drum roll once're done!

Now for the puja part - serve these adais with butter. At this point, my husband said -'s the heart clogging butter and my daughter said right after him - "Dad - I don't like the heart clogging butter - I like just the regular butter." I wish!

Do the naivediam first - which is offering to God - and when you offer this, you will have to say this sloka below -

"Urugada Vennaiyum Oradaiyum Naan Tharuven
Orukaalum En Kanavar Ennai Piriyadirukkanum"

After this, tie the yellow nombu charadu around your neck and say this sloka -

"Throram Krishhnami Subhake Saharithamdharami Aham
Bharthuayushya Sidhartham Supreethabhava Sarvadha."

Now that you have proved that you are devoted wife, sit back and enjoy the adais!! Yummm......

Reposting this link for 'State Specials' Event hosted by Shanthi Krishnakumar's Cookbook.


  1. Dear Anu

    Interesting to know about the story. Also nice to learn that you have taken pain to prepare both the varieties of adai - the sweet and the salt one - I prepared just the sweet one 'coz that is what I like the most :)

    The demonstration of your recipe is simply great - this shows how confident you are with this preparation! Great!

  2. Thanks Latha!

    Guess what - this is probably the first time I'm making it this detailed - I usually make payasam and vada for any festival.

    This time I wanted to and made it - thought I'd take pics - if it comes out good - will publish on my blog - if not - will delete the pics and make vada payasam the next time too!

  3. My lol vidya.........ennappa njan ee kananu?
    well well....beautiful......nayan sukh! thanks for sharing the adai and u know I like the sweet one too! good to see ur demo and it is excellent!
    BYW, What did u get from ur pati dev?

  4. Eh Anu,

    BTW , is Vidya your PEN name , or something like that? :-) Sindhu what's the secret?

    Also, Anu, reading your story about Savithri and Satyavan, reminds me about the Chinmaya Mission you mentioned to me in Salem. Vino took me to this temple, and i got some nicce books for Khaviya. Check out their website They sell all the books online. If you are interested check it out........

  5. Very yummy and traditional delight...and new to me...thanks for sharing...luved yur space here...Following you from now on...

  6. Oh wow nice detailed photos i have never tasted and tried this too. Looks so different and yummy. I must not say, I should try I have too do this for sure. Both looks tasty. Thanks for sharing this.


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