Karupatti Paniyaram for Pillaiyar Nonbhu

Pillayar Nombu falls on the 21st day after Thiru Karthigai - when 'Sashti' thithi coincides with 'Sadhayam' (star - Nakshatram). There are various stories told by elders about this festival, and is celebrated world over by Nagarathar's. 
Being traders by profession, we celebrate this Nombu in the evening. In foreign countries and now in cities like Chennai, Nagarathaar's get together at their Sangam or in a common place and celebrate it together.
Appa told me that Chettiars were "Samana's" (people who follow Buddhism) who  later converted to "Saivam" at Thiruvannamalai. Under the guidance of a Guru they did sadhana for 21 days; and the they kept count by keeping aside a thread a day, which is then used as the wick. Ganesha is the witness to this and the Jyothi swaroopam is taken in. The 'Ilai" is in the shape of a small mountain - the simplest form of Lord Ganesha. The eldest in the family does the honours. The 'Thiri' is lit and taken alive. 
We offer Aval Pori, Arisi Pori, Ellu Pori, Chola Pori and Kambu Pori; along with Cheedai (representing Athikkai/Aalangai), Vadai, and Paniyaram (Karuppatti Paniyaram). Avarampoo, Kannupillai poo and Ma-Ilai form a bouquet. This is offered to the diety and on the next day, it adorns our Vaasal (doorway). The Ilai-Maavu is made of Jaggery or Karupatti and Rice flour. 21 threads form the 'thiri' that is drawn from a new, preferably unbleached cotton Veshti. 
The fasting does not happen now, but this pooja is revered and celebrated. The eldest in the family will do the honours. He will wear a 'Thalapa" (head gear) and take the Ilai first. Then he will give the lit "ehlai" to all the others in the family/community. This year we celebrated the same at Periamma's. 

Raw Rice - 2 cups
Karupatti (Palm Jaggery) - 1 cup
Elaichi - 2, powdered
Oil for deep frying

For the Maavu (Dough):
Soak Raw Rice for 3 hours. Drain well and spread on a white cloth to remove moisture thoroughly.
Grind the rice in batches to get a fine powder. Sieve. Return the granules in the sieve to the mixie to be ground further.
Repeat process with the entire rice. Keep aside.
Roughly chop palm jaggery. Place in a heavy bottomed pan with very little water and bring it a boil.
Allow to dissolve completely, mashing the bits in the syrup. Add elaichi to it.
Cook until it thickens a little (should be syrupy).
Strain and cool slightly.
Mix into the prepared flour and bind to get a firm dough. Keep aside.
NOTE - Do not be tempted to add more syrup, as the dough will become so loose that you cannot shape it.
At this stage, we remove a portion of the dough for the "Ilai" maavu; mix it with little ghee and keep it aside for the Pooja.
Prasadham (Athikkai 21 nos, Alangai 21 nos, Paniyaram 5 nos, Vadai 5 nos) for the diety is prepared in ghee. Nadu Veetu Kolam is drawn on the floor. When dry, the stove is placed on it. We then blow the conch before starting to make the Palagarams.  Take a small Kadai and pour about 3/4 cup of ghee. Heat it over a medium flame and make the Cheedai first; then the paniyaram and finally the Vadai.

To make the Paniyaram:
Take the thick Maavu (as prepared above) in a shallow dish. Add water as required and thin it down to a thick batter.
Check taste for sweetness and add extra syrup if needed.
Heat oil in a shallow, flat based pan.
Pour a ladleful of the batter into the oil. Use a quick and short motion; and hold the ladle close to the oil.

The Paniyaram will float to the top. Turn it over and cook for a minute or two.
Flip over once again and drain it by holding the ladle against the sides of the Pan.
Place it on a plate (elevated on one side to help drain the oozing oil).

My grandmother would add soaked and steamed moong dal into the batter for a softer Paniyaram.
Left-over Paniyaram can be stored in the fridge. Next day, steam cook and enjoy!


julie said…
Hi, I just wanted to thank you so much for this blog. I have probably pinned half your blog on pinterest (with the aim of cooking each recipe some day or the other) !! Thanks once again !
Maha Gadde said…
all time fav.yummy
madhu mithra said…
In our area i am not getting raw rice can i use iddiyappam or puttu flour for ths pls suggest me
Minu said…
Try with Basmathi Rice
Unknown said…
Useful and thankyou for nonbu steps
rm sundaram said…
Useful and thankyou for nonbu steps

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