Thursday, January 29, 2009

Milagu Kozhambu - Traditional 'Pathiyam' Dish

Hi, its me again:) This time I am going to share one more recipe that used to be 'grandma's special' in almost all the houses. " MILAGU KOZHAMBU"
This used to be a common recipe of every household in earlier days, especially when there was a new mom in the house. This is one of the main food items given to a new mom amongst many other special dishes(these recipes are called as 'pathiyam samayal'). It is supposed to be very good for digestion too. It can be made easily and can be stored for a few days too as there are no vegetables or immediate perishables added to this.

Decades ago, I found this recipe in my ever-popular cook book,'Meenakshi ammal's Samaithu Paar'. In the late 70's and early 80's when women started working and were moving out of their homes relocating to various places in India and abroad, Meenakshi Ammal's 'cook and see' books(a set of three books) used to be a definite part of their baggage. I took them too when I moved to the Gulf. Reading it would make you feel just like listening to your granny explaining a certain recipe. The only drawback used to be that the measurements were given in olden days' scales like 'veesai', etc( i am sure nowadays many don't even know these words existed) so we had to get the correct metric measurements from that part. These were great books giving every detail needed and covering many traditional recipes, including those related to Iyer functions, poojais and traditions.

This milagu kozhambu recipe is also listed in that book(my mom and mom-in-law also make it this way only). The Meenakshi Ammal cook books are still published today, translated in several languages.

The things you will need are:
1. black pepper :1 teaspoon

2. red chillies :6

3. urad dal :1 teaspoon

4. channa dal :1 teaspoon

5. dhania :2 teaspoons

6. jeera :1 teaspoon

7. tamarind :one small lemon size

8. asafoetida

9. curry leaves

10. salt :11/2 teaspoon

11. gingelly oil 3 tbspoons

1. Soak the tamarind in just few spoons of hot water(This makes it easy to grind it with the other ingredients later.

2. Heat one tbspoon of oil and saute fry the red chillies, black pepper, dhania, jeera,urad dal and channa dal till they turn gloden brown, then add the curry leaves(few sprigs wl do) and asafoetida and fry them too.

3. Turn off the stove, keep them aside and let them cool down. Grind the fried items along with the soaked tamarind to a nice smooth paste. You can add some water if needed.

4. Mix the ground paste with half a glass of water and keep aside.

5. Heat a kadai and heat the remaining oil. When it is hot season it with one teaspoon mustard and one teaspoon ural dal and when it crackles add the ground paste and let it come to boil on a slow fire. By this time the kozhambu will thicken and when it boils well with bubbles you can switch off the fire and remove it.

6. Store it in a container.

This can be eaten with rice, and as a side dish with curd rice also. This is also served in Tamil Iyer weddings on the final occasion called 'Kattu Sada Koodai'. This ceremony happens after the wedding, and these days after the reception too. On the morning after the wedding, this Milagu Kozhambu is served with other dishes that are also not immediately perishable, such as Puliyogare, Idlis, etc. The significance behind this occasion comes from olden days, when the bride had to travel a long distance with her new family, unlike modern day weddings. This 'Kattu Sada Koodai', which roughly translates to Take away food basket, was supposed to keep the bride and the groom and their entire family from hunger till they reached their destination. And that is why the menu comprised a list of long lasting food items, so it could last through the long journey without getting spoiled.

We often make this dish at home as it is a good cleanser for our systems as well. You should try this dish and see if you like it.


  1. I am drooling, going to try this for sure. I miss this so much!

  2. Good Job Manni..............put in more of our authentic recipes. If you know how to make Mysore Rasam ...pls do post that. I've always wanted to try that.

  3. ├Żeah sure i wl its a simple recipe only.