FOOD HABITS OF TAMILS/PART:24


[Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
(Food Habits Of present Tamils-continuing)
Every festival and ceremony has a traditional menu.The first rice meal given to a baby in the seventh month is sarkarai pongal,a combination of rice-milk,sugar and ghee.The teething of a child calls for pal kozhukkattai (tiny rice flakes resembling teeth,cooked in milk with sugar).The coming of age of a daughter is an important family event,as it is in all traditional communities.Milk,banana and sugar are give to the girl and to all well-wishers who visit her. Seemandam,celebrated in the seventh or ninth month of pregnancy,calls for a variety of rice preparations.Modernization is slowly bringing changes to the culinary scene.Compromises and adaptations are being
made.Traditional receipes that call for elaborate and leisurely cooking are disappearing.Processed foods such as ready-made idli-mix and pre-packed curry powders have invaded urban kitchens.Mechanical aids such as motorized idli-grinders are also being used in traditional cooking.The break-up of the joint family and the increase in the number of career women have inevitably changes some Tamil Eating habits. A movement towards a simpler cuisine can be sensed.All the same,Tamil food practices and their cultural implications still retain their basic character.

Some of the recipes that were in use in the 1st century AD are still being followed
today,pretty much unchanged.The everyday diet in Tamil nadu is fairly austere,consisting of boiled rice,sambar (dhal [lentils] vegetable and tamarind),fish or meat curry (for non-vegetarians), vegetable curry, rasam (spicy pepper water) and curds.On special occasions payasam,a milk-based dessert flavoured with cardomom, is served.Even in affluent families there is not much variety in the daily menu,but when there are guests or a wedding is held it is a totally different story, and a truly ambrosial meal will be produced.The food served on these occasions is an indication of the hosts' status.The delicate blending of herbs,condiments and spices is the touchstone of good cookery.The combination and quantity of spices used vary from family to family, providing subtle variations in taste.The contrast between opposing tastes is a recurring theme.Most of the popular dishes like sambar,morekolumbu (curds and spices with coconut) pulikolumbu (a spciy sour curry with vegetable and tamarind) and the red-hot fish and meat curry are all different combinations of sour and hot tastes.

Jaffna (Yaalpanam) is a town located in the northern part of Sri Lanka which consists
mainly of the ethnic group “Tamils”. The name “Yaalpanam” is derived from “Yaal” (means Harp) and “Panam” (means town) which means land of the Harp Player. Jaffna, which is dotted with beautiful Palmyrah trees,coconut trees farm lands,and surrounded by pristine beaches is another the home of traditional Tamil cuisine.Tamil cuisine mainly consists of rice accompanied by spicy curries. Rice and curries are consumed for lunch,dinner and at special occasions. Break-fast and dinner mainly consists of food prepared from rice flour or wheat flour.For example Pittu and Idiyappam (called string hoppers) are the most common food eaten for break-fast and dinner.Normally Pittu is accompanied by coconut sambol,seeni sambol,and different kind of gravies (tomato gravy, eggplant gravy, fenugreek gravy etc), vegetable, mutton,chicken,and fish curries.Idiyappam is also accompanied by the above side dishes.But one important side dish used with Idiyappam is called Sothi made from boiling different vegetables in coconut milk. Dosa, idly, chapathis and uppuma are also eaten for break-fast and dinner occasionally.Dosa and idly are normally served with coconut chutney and sambar.Even though Tamil cuisine is similar to south Indian cuisine, it has it’s own distinctive taste and spicier than most south Indian food.Coconut milk used in most Sri Lankan Tamil dishes gives them a unique flavor.
PART :25 WILL FOLLOW                                                                            

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