((Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam))
[Food Habits Of present Tamils-continuing]
Puttu is a very popular breakfast dish of steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut.This referred to as Pittu in Sri Lanka.In old times puttu was steamed in a bamboo tube with a pierced disc at the bottom, fixed tightly over the mouth of a pot in which water was boiled.These days instead of using bamboo tubes for steaming,puttu is cooked in metal tubes fitted over a pot or pressure cooker.In Tamil Nadu the sweet version of puttu,made with jaggery is a food offering during the nine day Navarathri festival.Sweet puttu was also made in old days when a girl child attained puberty,and the coconut palm blossomed for the first time.Other popular,morning meal,Idiyappam, fresh
steam-cooked fine rice noodles are traditionally made by soaking and grinding rice into a very fine batter.Then the batter is mixed with salt and a tablespoon of oil and cooked over medium heat to remove all water.It is stirred constantly so that no lumps form.After a few minutes it thickens and come together into a ball of soft dough.It is cooled and then either pressed through a wooden or metal press with many small holes at the bottom and then steamed,or first steam the dough and then squeeze the noodles using the press.The noodles are squeezed out in a circular pattern onto a steamer plate with small holes at the bottom (same is used for steaming idli) They
are then steamed for about five to eight minutes.dosa is another favoured item for either breakfast or dinner.A Vijaynagar inscription[Kannada] details the proportions as being equal measures of rice and Ulundu.Moving from dishes more popular to others less popular is today’s kitchen, we come to the sweet called Kummayam. Periyazhwar mentions this in the Divya Prabhandam.This dish is still served in a few Vishnu temples rarely. It is made of rice,Gram dhal[ Payaru Paruppu], cow’s ghee, curd, banana and sugar.This recipe is from the 10 th century AD.The inscription also adds, that by equating the sugar measure to the rice, Chakkarai Pongal can be made.Many inscriptions chiselled on the walls of temples reveal how food habits and religious practices became intertwined. Nowadays,food eating culture is depending on tongue’s taste and hence many people eat food whenever they like thereby inviting many diseases.So, it is important to know the food eating method with these delicious taste to lead a healthy life forever.

Onion, Tomatoes, green chilly,cloves,refined oil,sugar etc., were
not available in sangam age.Today we can’t imagine the cooking without the above said ingredients and sweets without sugar.Peppercorns,coriander seeds,Black Jaggery,Tender coconut,Honey,ginger,Turmeric,Tamarind,Mustard seeds,ghee are the ingredients used on early days.In 15 & 16th century, many ingredients were introduced for the cooking through trade. After the introduction of groundnut oil in Vijayanagara dynasty that produced more deep fried foods.India has many cuisines to offer but our Tamil
food is the premiere cuisine.Even the famous biriyani had its origin in South India, not from anywhere. According to Tamil works  Pathitruppathu and Purananuru etc,which vastly describes the food and fermentation method done in ancient days,-the warriors / soldiers were fed with “Oonthuvaiadishil [ஊன்துவை அடிசில்]” or “Oonsoru[ஊன்சோறு]” (means boiled rice with meat) by the King before they were going to warfront and also this biriyani were served to soldiers whenever there were victories at war.

"You dined in the company of your warriors,
men who did not run away from battles,
feeding them abundant meat and rice
cooked together[biriyani]."-[Pathitruppathu  45,lines 13-17]

Here,the line "சோறு வேறு என்னா *ஊன் துவை அடிசில்",clearly indicate that "inseparable meat mixed rice".

PART :26 WILL FOLLOW.........                   


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