India is the land of festivals. Most festivals are celebrations related to agricultural successes or a prayer to the elements that support it. Aadi perukku or aadi pathinettu is one such celebration during the monsoon months of Aadi (between July and August).
Significance of Kaveri river.
The Kaveri river is of great significance to the agricultural lands of Tamilnadu, India. The Cauvery River is the only one that arises in the western ghats and flows through large landmasses and reaches the Bay of Bengal. The Cauvery delta is the fertile zone and is a centre of all agricultural excellence. The drier lands of Tamilnadu, heavily depend on Cavery for the best crop. Naturally, worship of these elects that foster better life is natural. The water released from the dams built along the Kaveri River as will be full. The celebration of this water release is Aadi perukku.
How is aadi pathinettu celebrated?
For a region that is scarce in water being close to abundant water is a happy occasion. The rituals begin by soaking nine grains and beans for mulaipari. These germinated seeds are a main part of the aadi pathinettu day. Women and young girls followed by the menfolk perform pooja and offerings to river Kaveri. Followed by immersing the germinated seeds in the river water. This ensures seed propagation and good security all along the water path. This is followed by the picnic along the bangs with music, Kummi dance and general happy celebrations.
Wishes and hidden ideas.
There are some other sensible branch outs to these rituals. These rituals commence with the married young girls returning to their parental homes. Through this, they get a month of self-care time and to be with their family. The hidden clever intention is to keep the girls from getting pregnant during this season, the resultant child will be born in the peak of summer which is hard for both the mother and the baby. How clever!!
Aadi perukku recipes and lunch menu.
Picnic-style recipes with rice as the main grain form the aadi pathinettu recipe collection. The gravy-based curries are avoided as a variety of rice is easier to carry and serve on a banana leaf at the banks of River Cauvery. Here are the recipes you predominantly see as aadi perukku recipes.
Variety rice ideas
Lemon rice – The classic citrus flavoured tempered with mustard and chillies is one that gets first asked for in any South Indian picnic. Easy to prepare with cooked rice and that it stays fresh in humid conditions a little longer than the other preparation make this the first choice.
Mango rice – Though most raw mangoes would have disappeared during this season, some stubborn trees love to fruit between the storms and the wind. If you have some, use this to flavour the rice. The mango gojju keeps for long and can be used to make this rice just as you need.
Pulisaadam – Just like preparing the lemon rice the tangy element in this recipe is the tamarind. Usually, I toss some sauteed cabbages with the recipe so it doesn’t become too heavy on the rice.
Manjal Pongal – The classic aadi maasam recipe, made in situ ( along the river bank)with fresh turmeric pairs really well with thalagam kozhambu.
Coconut rice – with all that tangy rice mixes, you need something slightly soothing. The nutty coconut mix that goes in the rice brings a brilliant contrast to the platter.
Ellu saadam – Elluodharai or sesame rice uses a blend of spices with black sesame seeds. The unique flavours and the ease of making this dish create variety in the rice platter.
You cannot have a south Indian festival day without including vegetables. This keeps the meal well balanced.
Aviyal – A medley of local country vegetables like moringa, yams, plantain, winter melon etc cooked in a thick coconut masala base and flavoured with curry leaves is the vegetable component that is served during this festival.
Thalagam- this is another spicier gravy-based recipe made with pumpkins, okra and winter melons. Though not very common, it is more popular in the southern Tamilnadu areas.
When there are so many soft-cooked foods, you need a bit of crunch to bring them to life. here are the common sides that often come in a South Indian picnic meal
Medu vadai – Crispy fried lentil doughnut is the literal idea o a meduvadai. This is an art to shape perfectly yet one of the tastiest savoury bites.
Masoor dal vadai – Deviating slightly from the classic, the masoor dal vadai are crispy and go well with the lemon rice.
Vadam – The homemade rice or tapioca fryums that get made in the Summer are fried during this season and are one of the children’s favourites.
Arisikaruvadam- However satisfying the vadams are, the bits or sticks like arisi karuvadam are handy to share around during a picnic.
Bellam pongal – millet-based sweet pongal is the dessert that I love to carry for my picnics. Since they don’t spill and stay fresh very long. I prefer to make these.
Kalkandu pongal – If you don’t like the deep brown colour of jaggery, use rock sugar to create a lighter flavour and tasty kalkandu pongal.
Karimbu chaaru pongal – If you can source sugarcane juice, cook the sweet pongal mix in the juice to produce an aromatic pudding.
Sharkarai pongal – Yet there is nothing that will beat the flavour of the classic sharkarai pongal.
I hope you loved knowing a bit more about this festival. The recipes here are perfect for any picnic lunch that you would like to set up. Very often these double up as our camping recipes and hiking lunches as they stay well and provide sustained calories needed for the adventure. Tag us #mildlyindian when you celebrate the festival or #mildlyindiankitchen when you make these recipes. A huge thank you to my fellow bloggers, Priya VJ, Kalyani, Jayashree and Priya Iyer who contributed traditional recipes to make this post comprehensive. I hope you readers, will love their websites too.
Happy pandigai time. See you later.