Thiruvathirai Kali

 Thiruvathirai Kali 

Thiruvathirai Kali

Thiruvathirai Kali, also known as Thiruvathirai Pongal or Thiruvathirai Payasam, is a traditional South Indian sweet dish that holds great cultural significance. This delectable dessert is primarily prepared during the auspicious festival of Thiruvathirai

, which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January) , and is celebrated to honor Lord Shiva. Thiruvathirai Kali is not only a delight to the taste buds but also an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. 

The word "Kali" translates to "porridge" in Tamil, and Thiruvathirai Kali is a type of rice and jaggery porridge that is cooked to perfection. It is believed to be an offering to Lord Shiva and is prepared as a symbol of gratitude and devotion. 

Thiruvathirai Kali finds its roots in ancient Tamil Nadu and has been a part of the region's culinary traditions for centuries. According to mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva once performed a cosmic dance, known as the Thiruvathirai, to appease Goddess Parvati. This divine dance is the inspiration behind the name of the festival and the dish.

On the day of Thiruvathirai, women perform a special pooja (prayer) and observe a fast. They offer Thiruvathirai Kali along with other delicacies to Lord Shiva. The preparation and sharing of this sweet dish during the festival symbolize unity, love, and prosperity among family members.

Thiruvathirai Kali is not only limited to the Thiruvathirai festival but is also prepared during other festive occasions like Karthigai Deepam and Thai Pongal. 

Thiruvathirai Kali is made primarily with rice, jaggery, and coconut. The rice symbolizes prosperity, jaggery represents sweetness, and coconut adds a rich flavor to the dish. Other ingredients such as cardamom and ghee are used to enhance the taste.

Traditional preparation of thiruvathirai kali-

In traditional preparation of this recipe the soaked rice is ground into a coarse paste. Next In a pan, melt jaggery with water to make a syrup. Add the ground rice to the syrup and cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens.Once the mixture has thickened, add grated coconut and powdered cardamom to the pan. Stir well and cook for a few more minutes till the flavors blend together.Turn off the heat and drizzle some ghee over the Thiruvathirai Kali. Give it a final mix to incorporate the flavors. Serve the Kali warm . 

This traditional method mentioned above takes a lot time and constant monitoring but here I have cooked the recipe in pressure cooker which cuts the cooking time into half without compromising on taste.

Thiruvathirai Kali is not just a dish; it is a celebration of flavors and traditions. So, next time you want to relish a sumptuous treat that will transport you to the heart of South India, give Thiruvathirai Kali a try!

Thiruvathirai Kali, also known as Thiruvathirai Kootu, is a delicious festive dish that is popularly prepared in South India. While it is mainly associated with the state of Tamil Nadu, this delectable treat is also enjoyed in other states like Kerala and Karnataka with slight variations in names and preparation methods.

In Tamil Nadu, it is called Thiruvathirai Kali or Thiruvathira Arisi and is often prepared using rice, jaggery, and grated coconut. In Kerala, it goes by the name of Thiruvathira Puzhukku and is made with tubers like yam, colocasia, and raw banana, along with coconut and spices. In certain parts of Karnataka, it is known as Thiruvaathira Huggi and is prepared using rice, jaggery, and coconut milk.

These regional variations add a colorful twist to the traditional recipe while preserving the spirit of Thiruvathirai Kali.

One of the distinct features of Thiruvathirai Kali is the use of specific ingredients and techniques that give it its authentic flavor and texture. While the core ingredients like rice, jaggery, and coconut remain consistent, the methods of preparation can differ.

For example, in Tamil Nadu, the rice is soaked and ground into a coarse powder or paste before cooking, while in Kerala, tubers are boiled and mashed with coconut and spices. These variations in technique contribute to the unique taste and texture of the dish.

Additionally, certain ingredients like ghee, cardamom, and cashew nuts are commonly used for garnishing in Thiruvathirai Kali. The aroma of cardamom and the richness of ghee enhance the overall taste experience, making it a delight  to eat.

Thiruvathirai Kali is traditionally served on banana leaves, which add a natural and eco-friendly touch to the festive experience. The banana leaf not only enhances the visual appeal but also imparts a subtle flavor to the dish. 

Thiruvathirai Kali can be enjoyed on its own, but it can also be paired with a variety of accompaniments to enhance the dining experience. In Tamil Nadu, it is often served with dishes like Thiruvathirai Kootu (a mixed vegetable curry), Thiruvathirai Thalagam (a tangy gravy), or Thiruvathirai Ezhukari Kootu (a seven-vegetable curry).

In Kerala, Thiruvathirai Puzhukku is traditionally served with Kanji (rice gruel) or Kerala-style sambar. These combinations create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that complement each other.

Thiruvathirai Kali is not only a delicious indulgence but also offers some nutritional benefits. It is a good source of carbohydrates, as the main ingredient is rice. Jaggery, which is used as a sweetener, contains iron, calcium, and other minerals. Coconut adds healthy fats and dietary fiber to the dish.

While it is important to enjoy Thiruvathirai Kali in moderation, these ingredients can provide some nutritional value as part of a balanced diet.

Rice, the primary ingredient in Thiruvathirai Kali, is a staple food that provides energy and fuels the body. Jaggery, often used as a healthier alternative to refined sugar, is known for its iron content, which helps in maintaining healthy blood levels. Coconut is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can provide a quick source of energy for the body.

When consumed in moderation, Thiruvathirai Kali can be a guilt-free treat with some nutritional benefits.

Thiruvathirai Kali holds a special place in South Indian culture and is celebrated during the auspicious festival of Thiruvathirai or Arudra Darshan. It is believed to be a way of paying homage to Lord Shiva and seeking his blessings.During the festival, women gather in their traditional attire and perform the Thiruvathirai Kali dance, also known as Kaikottikkali, in a circle around a decorated lamp. This dance is a celebration of womanhood and is accompanied by melodious folk songs.

In conclusion, Thiruvathirai Kali is not just a delicious sweet dish; it is a symbol of tradition, togetherness, and the spirit of celebration. So, gather your loved ones, savor the flavors, and immerse yourself in the joyous festivities of Thiruvathirai Kali.


Raw rice-1 cup

Moong dal-1/4 cup

Jaggery -1 1/2 cups

Grated coconut -1/4 cup

Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp

Edible camphor - a pinch

Cashews - few

Ghee-1-2 tbsps

Recipe Video 


👉Wash and soak the rice and dal for 1/2-1 hour.

👉Drain water completely and dry roast the rice dal mixture until light golden brown colour.

👉Powder coarsely to rava consistency. Set aside.

👉In a pan dissolve jaggery in 1 cup water and bring to boil, strain to remove impurities set aside.

👉Now in a pressure cooker add 3 cups water, jaggery water, grated coconut, powdered rice dal mixture and mix well without any lumps. Add cardamom powder and 1 tbsp ghee, mix well .

👉Pressure cook for 3 whistles in medium flame and allow pressure to release naturally.

👉Open the cooker mix the Kali well and again switch on the gas if it is watery.

👉Meanwhile roast few cashews in ghee and add it to the Kali.

👉Add edible camphor and mix everything together well.

👉Switch off the gas. Note the Kali will thicken on cooling and become fluffy and flaky.

👉Serve this Thiruvathirai Kali with Ezhu Kari Kootu | Thalagam Kulambu

👉Enjoy 😋

Preparation time-30 minutes 


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