Recipes from Harushi
Home | Countryside
Country side of TamilNadu is where you can still see century old cooking style and way of life. Festivals and auspicious days are sincerely followed by them. Many homes grow their own vegetables and fruits, that have traditional values. Some are not available in the market.
Tradition lives in the country side. You can also witness among some global Tamils who had settled abroad over one or two centuries ago.
Traditional cooking is done using firewood, charcoal and a dry cake made using cow dung.
In the country side, we still use some equipments like "ammi kallu" which are now getting replaced by electronics for convenience. Check out this page for traditional tamil cooking tools.
The real taste of our food can be tasted only in the country side because of the methods, tools, cooking vessels and fire they use.
Traditionally we eat the food using hand, particularly right hand.
In the cooking methods, some of the important steps country side people follows in cooking will be the use of anjarai petti, tempering and the use of vadagam. The city dwellers are too busy to skip some of these steps.
In Tamil cuisine, we categorize taste into Six tastes of food that is unique in Tamil cuisine. If you have not heard about Tamil food earlier, then you will know only Five tastes of food.
While we cover most of the recipes in the vegetarian and non-vegetarian section, we would like to list some of the simple and humble food that countryside people make.
Talk to your grandma or that distant relative aunt and learn delicious authentic recipes of your family.
Some of the eating style of the countryside people, which, people in the city are also following includes "making use of leftover food items".
For eg: Kuzhambu (Fish or Veg) done yesterday (when leftover) is kept overnight and had as a side dish for Idly/Dosai in the morning. Or as side dish for "Pazhaya soru".
Btw "Pazhaya sooru" is also left over rice, kept overnight. Check "Pazhaya sooru" page for the recipe. Pickles go as side dish for this. In country side, they make home made pickles every now and then. Famous pickes are lime and mango and they are either dried pickle or with oil. Another side dish that is common is vathal. Vathal is also made at home. Similar to dried pickle, vathal is dried in hot sun before it can be used.
Kuzhambu tastes super delicious when had the next day because of the Tamarind content in it.
Popular fruits and vegetables that are found in homes of countryside. Note these are grown in Tamil Nadu and South India since several centuries ago - Native.
Talking about country side in a recipe site, we must mention cows and trees that are part of a country side house hold.
Cows milk is good for our health. We heat the milk and allow it to boil until foam comes out. Then we cool it down and drink. We also use the boiling process of cows milk to do house warming and other special occassions.
From cow's milk, we make curd and ghee which we use in our meals. For example: Curd we use in steamed rice, mix and eat. Ghee we use a spoonful on top of hot sambar rice and eat.
Everything that cow produces is good for us or we make use of them including cow dung used as a replacement for firewood. Diluted cow dung is used to lay the floors / clean the home in the country side.
The cow's urine is used during house warming ceremony. Farmers use cows for plouging fields.
Trees of countryside Tamil Nadu:
We must mention some of the trees that we have in our backyard in country side homes. These trees are part of our culture and tradition. Country side homes will have at least one or more of the following trees:
1. Coconut tree:
Tender coconut is used a direct food consumable. Coconut is used in the form of oil or the fruit part to make milk or grate and use as vegetable. The coconut tree trunk is used for making boats called Kattumaram (Catamaran in English - a word is borrowed from Tamil word "Kattumaram") to catch fish. The meaning of Kattumaram in Tamil is very simple to understand. "Kattu" in Tamil language means "To tie together" and "Maram" means "Tree". Just "trees tied together" is Catamaran. The leaves of the coconut tree are used to make room for a small hut. The thin trunk in the leaves are used to make broom stick. Almost all parts are used by us traditionally. The coconut shell is used as cup or a holder. Coir - which the fibre from outer husk of coconut is used for making brushes, rope and as stuffings for bed and pillows. Truly natural and eco-friendly.
2. Moringa tree:
Except the trunk all other parts of this tree namely, leaves, flower and unripe fruit (called as drumstick) are all used as ingredients in our dishes. If you want to grow Moringa tree in your home, all you have to do is, get a branch from a neighbour and plant it in your ground and water daily. This will magically start to grow.
3. Banana tree:
We have a dedicated page for Banana tree as almost all of the parts that this produces are used as food or in cooking - right from the trunk, flower, unripe banana and banana. Banana leaf is used as a plate to serve food and it is prestigious to get food served on a Banana leaf and hence during festivals, wedding ceremony and other auspicious days you can find food served in Banana leaf. Most traditional Tamil restaurants serve food on a Banana leaf.
4. Neem tree:
Neem tree is of good medicinal value. The thin brances of the
neem tree are used to brush our teeth. The leaves are used as antiseptic.
5. Guava tree:
Guava is a healthy fruit and the unripe form is also good to eat.
6. Papaya tree:
Papaya unripe is used as a vegetable. Fruit is had as a salad.
7. Mango tree:
Mango is one of the 3 supreme fruits of Tamil culture and tradition. We cook the unripe mango, called as Mangai in Tamil language. We eat them raw and also cook as a vegetable.
8. Sweet lime (Sathukudi/Mosambi):
We eat (or make a juice out of) Sweet lime to get healthy.
9. Jackfruit tree:
We eat the Fruit and the Nut. Jackfruit is one of the 3 supreme fruits consider in Tamil tradition and culture. The wood from Jackfruit tree is used to make furnitures. They are also used to make Tamil traditional musical instrument called Kanjira / Ganjira and Mridangam / Mridhangam - Tamil/Indian drums / percussion instruments.
10. Curry leaves tree:
Curry leaves tree is grown mainly to consume the leaves. The leaves are used in many dishes. It is good for health, particularly helps in hair growth.