Thiruvadirai Thalagam , a side dish for Kali

This is a very tasty recipe for Thalagam which we prepare  forThiruvadirai to go with Kali , a jaggery sweetened rice and dal delicacy. Although we traditionally prepare the Kootu, the recipe for which I have already shared in the earlier posts, Thalagam is a must , as we love the samabar like gravy loaded with vegetables and very apt for Kali. So it is Kootu and Thalagam for us every Thiruvadirai.!

This is not difficult as both the dishes have the same vegetables , whereas the condiments differ. While the Thalagam is infused with so many condiments, the kootu recipe is pretty simple , yet so tasty.

As it is difficult for us to decide which is better of the two, I  always prepare both in small quantities.
 So we get to savor the taste of two great side dishes with Kali.
Am always amazed as to how a sweet dish can be paired with sambar or kootu, but only this is  possible and seems just right with Kali.

This is also known as Ericha Kuzhambu and heated many times, as the left over  tastes even better the next day!

So to the recipe we go.

Ingredients :

4 cups of mixed native vegetables peeled and cut into cubes .

( Yam, yellow pumpkin, raw plantain, colaccasia, broad beans, field beans,sweet potatoes are the usual choice.)

1 gooseberry size tamarind. Pour some warm water and keep the extract ready.
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil /coking oil for seasoning
2 tsp mustard seeds

sprigs of curry leaves.

To roast and grind

1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 tbsp chana dal
2 tsp udad dal
1 tbsp Toor dal
3 tbsp Coriander seeds
7-8 red dry chillis
1 tsp methi seeds ( fenugreek )
Generous pinch of Asafoetida ( Hing powder )
1 inch square piece of jaggery
1 cup  freshly grated coconut


Peel and cut all the vegetables into equal sized cubes or pieces, slightly bigger than usual.
Cook the vegetables with little salt and turmeric  powder either in the pressure cooker or stove top.
Do not cook the vegetables too soft ..

While the veggies are getting cooked, take a small saute pan or tadka pan and add the oil, when heated, roast first the sesame seeds  and when it turns golden, keep it aside and then roast all the others ingredients given under roast and grind, making sure not to burn the coconut .
Grated coconut can be roasted separately to avoid the burning.

When these ingredients are cooled, grind in the mixie adding little water and keep aside the paste.
Add the tamarind extract to the vegetables when they are cooked, let it simmer, add the hing powder, adjust the salt, and when te mixture is simmering add the ground paste and let the vegetables gravy simmer, stir well .

When the Thalagam comes to a gentle boil, remove from gas, and garnish with curry leaves .
Prepare the tempering of mustard seeds and pour over the hot Thalagam.
This is a heady flavorful gravy almost like the sambar which we prepare  but more thicker and this is again a very great side dish to have with Kali.

The sweetness of the Kali with the most flavorful sambar like Thalagam go hand in hand and seem made for each other. As this festival happens once a year during the pleasant winter months, we look forward to the pleasure of having both the varieties of gravy and the Kali which is a sumptuous meal by itself.

Cook the vegetables till soft with salt and turmeric powder either in a pressure cooker or open pan with just enough water.

Roast all the ingredients given under roast and grind till golden and aromatic.