Were you served, Krishna?

As my regular readers know by now, my excitement levels peak around this time of the year. Starting August, all the way until November almost every other week, there is some festival or the other to celebrate. When all this has died down, comes Christmas and New Year, and customary holiday cheer.

This year my celebration marathon started with Krishna Jayanthi. As usual, Krishna was born all of three days this year. We celebrated on the second day (Sunday) for convenience when in fact by our family traditions we should have actually celebrated on Monday. We had our friends (P, Fa and S) over as well as my bil and his wife.  Since bil’s wife takes a minute to figure out that I am referring to her when I say bil’s wife, for her convenience, I will henceforth refer to them as V&V.

I started at 11 in the morning and cooked up a storm that ended around 6 in the evening. The krishnar who visited our house had a plateful of bakshanams (snacks) – Mul Murukku (a) Manankombu, Rava Seedai (which was quite a breeze considering how apprehensive I was), Appam and Sooyyam. They all turned out really well. He also had a plateful of dinner – the usual pandigai thaligai (festival meal) which always includes paruppu, mor kozhambu, kootu, karamadhu, rasam, vadai and for a sweet, akkaravadisal (which actually ended up being more like sakkarai pongal). He was also served his all-time favorites of milk, navaneetham and aval-vellam.

I had to change his path into the house though. Instead of walking in from the front door, he had to take the more convenient route from the backyard. You see, our home has carpeted floor most of the distance from the front door to the poojai shelf. The route from the backyard however is all on wood and vinyl. So I happily made feet all the way from the lawn till the poojai room, and they turned out bright and neat too.

For calling myself a maami, I actually know very few stotrams. This time however, I made it a point to at least read krishnashtakam out of the book. (I really need to improve my stotram skills a bit more.)

I was soooo happy that everything turned out well this time. I had this nagging feeling that the past few krishna jayanthis had been so unsatisfactory – this time I made up for it. I think this year, Krishna was well served!

Due to popular demand, my own interest and good weather outside the house, I took a few pictures of my krishnar kaals. Here you go…

P.S: I don’t know if any of you iyengars out there have heard of this fabulous book written by an old iyengar maami called Rajalakshmi Raghavan. It is like the bible (or may be gita) for maamis like me who go crazy around pandigai time. It has a list of festivals for every tamil month, plus what food to make, what stotrams to tell, what kolams to draw etc. I only wish it were in English. Thanks to my poor tamil skills, it is quite hard for me to figure out some of the things she has written.


32 thoughts on “Were you served, Krishna?

  1. Me

    Maami you are the best when it comes to pandigai…I so look forward to your posts…

    ..enga aathula no pandigai this time…distant relative thavarita…

    seri en rasam nu pottutel…satrumadhu nu podaama??

    appidiyae boto potrundhel na super aa irundhurkum..:)

    Rekha: Haha.. my my how do you catch these small things? Rasam comes from thatha’s side of the family – they had iyer samayal kaarars for a long time, and so my amma got used to saying rasam, and I got used to saying rasam. Photo edukanumnu naenachaen pa.. but I was so tired by the end of the day, I didn’t want to move.

  2. Mul Murukku, Manankombu, Rava Seedai, paruppu, mor kozhambu, kootu, karamadhu, rasam, vadai and for a sweet, akkaravadisal.

    Adutha meals eppo? I am on the way. My second name is Shrikrishna 😛

    Rekha: Haha.. Krishnar var naal elaam Krishna Jayanthi thaan!!

  3. Well well yummy yummy thaligai 🙂 Btw where can I get that book you mentioned.

    Rekha: Thank you. I dont know where you can get it – it’s called “Bhaaratha Pandigaigalum Anushtanamum” by Thirumathi Rajalakshmi Raghavan

  4. Pradeep

    pramaadham pongo!
    I caught your Iyengarness when I saw the “karamedhu”, but was disappointed to see “rasam”. 😦
    Why was there no “thaligai” in the post? 😛

    Rekha: Ayyo.. like I said, I am an Iyengar with heavy Iyer influences in the area of food terminology.

  5. Smitha

    I recently came across your blog. I love all the posts u write. Maami kalakarel pongo!
    Your menu for krishna jayanthi sounds awesome.

    Rekha: Thank you 😀 By the way, who is vidhya?

  6. Ayyo, I tried murukku and it disintegrated into the oil. Seedai was okay! 🙂

    Naa krishnar kaal ellam draw pannale!

    Rekha: Ayyo.. how come? Some ratio kolaaro? Seedai is the tougher one, but you seemed to have done well with that. Better luck next time.

  7. Girish

    Wow..Hats off to you.

    Krishnar will be definately impressed 🙂

    He wont mind coming inside from backyard when such yummy saapad is waiting for him. 🙂

    Rekha: Haha.. I hope so.

  8. Wow!
    I want to eat all the Bakshanams!
    Krishnar superah enjoi paniruparu!
    aduthu eppo krishnarah kupida poreenga
    he will come soon enuf even b4 his bday to ur house 😉

    Rekha: Krishnar superaa enjoy pannaaro illayo.. naanga superaa enjoy pannitom. Seedai gaali already!

  9. Raj

    Nalla rasichu ezhudhi irupadharku paratukkal (usss.. appa.. itha ezhudarathukullaye kanna kattudhe…).
    >>They all turned out really well.
    Parkarathuku ok.. sapidarathuku eppadi irundhadhu? 🙂
    btw what is sooyam? smarthan parungo.. adhan…..

    one common thing i see in this gen maami’s (most of them…) they are not good in tamil writing and reading… adhu yen??? this includes my vootukari.. enaku pozhudu pogalainna oru ananda vikatana koduthu sathama padika solluven… good time pass 😉

    Rekha: They turned out really well ku arthamae sapda nanna irundhudhunu thaan. Sooyam is also called Chithurandai. It is Poornam dipped in maida batter and deep fried.

  10. As a committed lazy Maami I ordered in the bakshanams, I spent the day playing Unnikrishnan’s Krishna Darshanam!

    Rekha: Haha.. I am noticing that this has become the trend in India. People here seem to be slowly moving towards trying to celebrate all the festivals.

  11. RT

    I always read your posts. Very nice. Can you please let me know the title of the book that you had mentioned at the end of the post please? Sounds like “The Book”that I need. I also go crazy about the pandigai days and always try to bring the indian festive atmosphere into my house.

    Rekha: Thank you for reading. The title of the book is “Bhaaratha Pandigaigalum Anushtanamum”
    by Srimathi Rajalakshmi Raghavan. I am not sure if it is available anywhere. The book I have was gifted to my mother by her chithappa several years ago.

  12. prem

    well…i got a free dinner thanks to lord krishna. saved from my and my wife’s cooking for a day!

    lord krishnaku oru ‘OOO’ !

    Rekha: OOOOho!!

  13. WA

    Wow. Like Me said photo podaame vittuteengale. Looking fwd to more pandigai samayal posts. And andha book enge vaangaradhunnu sollavum, please

    Rekha: Put up pictures that I could click after 3 days, and I have no clue where you would find that book.

  14. pinneetel, all the iyer/iyengar lingo I dont understand anyways. We are liberal tambrams who make cheedai for krishna jayanthi and paanagam fro thaipoosam!

    But just reading about the food made me hungry. Next time i’m driving to chicago, I’ll make sure it’s during a pandagai!

    Rekha: Sure..next time you come to chicago, do stop by for an iyengar saapadu.

  15. That was just awesome – you went the whole 9 yards with the kaal and all 🙂 I just made appam this time and no cheedais. What is rava cheedai btw, is it like rava laadu?

    Rekha: Rava cheedai is a simpler version of Seedai. As per rajalakshmi maami’s book – 1 cup rava, 1/2 cup copra, 1 tbsp ghee,. Mix together with water (that has salt and asaphoetida) and let it rest for 10 mins. Then roll into seedai and fry. No fear of bursting and it came out crisp too.

  16. padmajav

    Wow!! Jjust reading the post was a treat! I was holidaying in Cunnoor and gave the pandigai a miss. Even when here, I end up ordering from Grand Sweets!!

    Rekha: Yes. Grand sweets would have definitely made me lazier. May be because there is no Grand sweets, I don’t have an option. And wow.. Cunnoor… I always liked it more than Ooty

  17. well did the chhedai burst?? once it did for amma and we had fireworks in the kitchen.[;)]

    Rekha: I’ve heard all about that, and that is why I waited 5 years until I could muster enough courage to attempt it. I made rava seedai which apparently has lesser chances of bursting like that, so mine didnt burst and turned out beautifully.

  18. Can I visit? I actually celebrated the pandigai for once.. but just made appam’s , gulab jamun and thengulal.. no cheedai in true iyengaru style!!

    Rekha: Wow. that is pretty good for a first attempt, and do visit anytime 😀

  19. I was in India recently but couldn’t stay for Krishna Jayanthi. Mom sent me murukkus, cheedais and manogombu when I came back from my vacation. I guess some of the food items mentioned here take me back to the awesome food I had when back home. I guess its now back to cooking MTR sambhar at home and possibly a couple of nice northie dishes from time to time. Naturally, Subway veggie sandwiches have to figure in this list as the lowest common denomitator of all food.

    I guess I delurked this time around. Nice blog, NRI Maami and will drop in more often. You’re welcome to visit my blog too! 🙂

    Rekha: Oooh.. Festival times are when you miss home the most. Thanks for delurking. Checked out your blog. You seem to be big on karnatic music. You probably know my sob story when it comes to that.

  20. Nanduri Hamsaanandini

    Hi again. Making krishna’s feet was something that I used to fancy so much when I was a kid.. and even now, I do. Every year, despite amma’s pleas, I used to fight with my sister and take the arsi maavu to draw them. With concentrating so much on the shape of the feet, I used to end up drawing the same foot everywhere. So krishna had to hop into my house!!!! After years of hopping a long way into the unjal, I think he got tired and sent me away from home. I have never been home for Krishnashtami for the past 3 years now. And Krishna now walks into the house, comfortably!

    Rekha: Haha.. That is so funny 😀 Next time you should attempt the stamping kind rather than the drawing kinds – It’s more difficult to go wrong with that.

  21. Rohit

    As far as I can remember, there used to be a big hullaballoo about me stepping over those krishnar kaals which akka used to draw quite patiently!!!! one of the few things she had the patience for!!! 😉
    and its quite possible that i used to derive a secret joy out of doing it… 😉

    Rekha: Well, you were certainly more adept at stepping on freshly laid out Vadaam Koozhu. And trust me I have a lot more patience now than I did back then – what with a kid who refuses to eat and all that.

  22. Namagiri Rajagopalan

    Dear Rekha,
    very recently I read ur blog site, and it was quite a revelation to me . I was trying to find out how popular my mother, Smt Rajalakshmi Raghavan’s book “Bharatha pandigaigalum anushtanamum” would be in the US. I came to live with my son in Houston 2 years back. Tried to show the book in the temples here, but to my surprise, the land in which I thought there was a renaissance of our , there was no response! So, I was very happy that You found it useful as it promotes our culture.

    My sis-in-law is translating the book into English as it was my mother’s wish to translate her book in English so that it’d be helpful to the younger generation in India and abroad.

    Thanks indeed for spreading the message. If u want, I can get some Tamil books when my brother comes to the US in November.


    Rekha: I am so happy and excited to hear from you. Please be assured, that your mother’s book is a blessing. Her recipes are excellent and always a sure shot success. There are people who read this blog, who had asked where they could get a copy. I will email them and ask if they are interested in purchasing a copy and let you know. Please do let me know once the English version become available. I would love to purchase a copy.

    1. nagein

      hi maami,
      could you pls tell me how i could get the english version of the book to? thanks.love your blog too!super funny!

    2. Dear N.Rajagopalan,
      Is it possible to get a tamil copy of your mother’s book “Bharatha Pandigaigalum Anushtanamum”. I live in Austin, TX.
      Wow…a reply almost 7 yrs later 🙂
      I hope to hear back from you! (and/or the blog author – Rekha)
      Best regards

  23. vidhya

    I came across your blog and got way too fascinated b’se you are also an Iyengar. By the way what book are you talking about here? i would love to buy it. Can you give me the name?

    Thanks and keep in touch,
    Vidhya from Austin

    Rekha: Ooh.. I envy you Vidhya of Austin. It is so cold here these days. Welcome here. The books is “Bhaaratha Pandigaigalum Anushtanamum” by Srimathi Rajalakshmi Raghavan. The maami’s daughter left a comment a little above yours. I’ve since then tried to get more information. When I do eventually have it, I will put it up on the blog for everyone to make use of.

    1. asha

      hello mami,
      i came across your blog by accident. can you send me the copy of the book Bhaaratha Pandigaigalum Anushtanamum either in english or tamil. it will be very helpful to me..thanks a lot for all the info you provided


  24. Pingback: Manipal to set up NRI university | GoDesi Blog

  25. mrs.sri

    I have enjoyed arranging golu dolls and managing to tell the kids about various mythological stories even by being in US. I went to a warehouse in Atlanta and got a few rare dolls that we get only in tamil nadu. they are available online too at navarathri.com. They gave me a discount coupon too when i mailed them.

  26. Vaidehi Kannan

    Oh my god. I have the same book by Rajalakashmi Raghavan. 20 years befor, when I was in Delhi, with my parent we went to Rajalskhmi Mami’s house as my father was some what related to Mami and i was fortunate to meet Mami. That time Mami mentioned about her book and my dad bought 2 books and gave one to me. My father passed away last year. If he was alive, he knows how to contact Mami’s family:(. I really want few more copies of the book. Any information is much appreciated.

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