‘Kooja’ (கூஜா) As An Art Decor

A Tamil Aiyyar wedding is an elaborate two day affair comprised of many rituals. One such ritual is ‘Kashi Yatra’ which is performed on the day of the wedding. During ‘Kashi Yatra’, the groom will ‘act’ as if he is going to Kashi to become an ascetic. As the part of the ritual, Bride’s father will plead with the groom to not to go to Kashi, instead marry his daughter and settle down as a ‘Grihasthu’ (house holder). Eventually, the Groom will agree and come back to the wedding Pandal ready to marry. The symbolism behind this funny ritual can become a subject of some other blog some other time.

The point here is, I had inherited a steel ‘Kooja’ that was bought to be used during ‘Kashi Yatra’ ritual during my wedding. ‘Kooja’ is a vessel that was used in olden days to carry water by travellers. Since the ‘Kooja’ served no purpose in my modern kitchen, it was lying there until one day I had decided to use it as a water jug to water my Tulsi plant. It served some purpose, but was getting exposed to hard water and dust for years.
Over a period of time, it lost its shine, also got rusted in many places. Being emotionally attached to everything that I have got from my father, I had decided to upcycle the ‘Kooja’, before it is too late.
I immediately sat down with a mission to revive and beautify the ‘Kooja’.

I used materials that were available in the house at that time. It required lots of patience, and lot of brain storming as I was working with limited resources. Never the less, the results were worth the effort.
It was my first attempt at trying my hand in a French technique called ‘Decoupage’.
Whatever, my efforts paid off and ‘Kooja’ turned out to be a stunning art piece that now occupied pride of place in our drawing room as a decor item.
I have seen upcycled Kettles, Milk cans but I have not seen a Kooja so far. Who knows, may be I’m the first one who turned a South Indian ‘Kooja’ into a French art decor.
Smitten by my own art work, now, I am looking around for next object to upcycle. Let me search for the
‘Vishiri’, the fan that was used during Kashi Yatra ritual 27 years ago.

Kooja’s present Avtar. In an excitement to upcycle, I forgot to click before photo.

Advertisements

Ammini Kozhukatai

Ammini Kozhukatai is a traditional Kerala preparation, consumed as a tiffin or a snack item. “Small rice marbles” can be a literal translation to the word Ammini Kozhukatai.

The Preparation is very simple, healthy and very tasty too. Let’s see how to prepare as a serving for two people.

Ingredients:

1. Rice Flour – 1 cup
2. Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
3. Oil for tempering- 3 tsp
4. Few dry chilly pieces
5. Few Curry leaves
6. Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp

Preparation:

Sieve the rice flour into a bowl. Add salt to it and mix well.
Boil few cups of water.
Once the water starts boiling, remove it from the stove. Immediately
add little by little the boiling water to the rice flour, all the while mixing the flour with a big spoon.
The water should be added only that much as to make the flour fit enough for a kneading consistency.
Once the flour is ready, let it cool down until it is warm. You may kneed the flour gently once to avoid lumps if any though it is not mandatory.
Once the flour warm enough to touch, you can start making small marble sized balls out of it. You may apply few drops of oil on to the palm as to avoid flour sticking to the palm.

Once the entire flour is made into the balls, steam them in an idly plate/steaming basket in a cooker. While steaming in a cooker don’t put the weight. Let it steam for about 15 minutes. Switch off the stove. Let it cool for few more minutes. If the rice balls look shiny and non sticky that means they have got cooked enough.

Now gently remove them and seperate if they are struck to each other.

In a kadai, add oil and mustard seeds for tempering. Once the musturds start crackling, add dry chilly pieces, curry leaves and granted coconut. Now also add steamed rice balls to it. At this stage you can add little salt if you feel the salt added to the rice flour is not enough.
Keep stirring until the balls get roasted to a golden brown colour.

Remove from the stove and enjoy ‘Ammini Kozhukatai’ fresh and hot.

పూసే పూవై

నిన్నటి గూర్చి చింత వదలగా
రేపటి కోసం బెంగ దరికి రాకపోనీయగా
పలువురు నను పొగడాలని ఆరాటం లేదుగా
కారడవైనా, ఉద్యాన వనమైనా
ఎండైనా, వానైనా, ఇక్కడైనా, ఎక్కడైనా
క్షణికమైనా, చిరకాలమైనా
మొగ్గై , సడి చేయని‌రేకై
అరవిరిసిన పూవై
నా నిన్న కన్నా నా నేడు, మెరుగై
ఇంతై, అంతింతై, ఎంతో కొంతై
ఈ క్షణమే నాదిగా
విరపబూయటమే నా కర్తవ్యంగా…

తల్లీ నీకిదే నా పదాభివందనం

శూన్య ప్రయోగంతో ఆర్యభట్టు
శస్త్ర చికిత్సతో శుశ్రుతుడు
అర్థశాస్త్రంలో చాణికక్యుడు
శాంతి సందేశంతో బుద్దుడు
అద్వైత భోదనతో శంకరుడు
ఎందరెందరో ప్రజ్ఞాశాలులు
ఆవిర్భవించిన పుడమి
ఈనాటికీ, ఏనాటికీ
మన పరిజ్ఞానానికి లేదు లేమి
వేదవేదాంగాలలకు పుట్టినిల్లు
బహుభాషా ప్రయోగాల హరివిల్లు
భూ’గోళం’ అన్నది సంస్కృతం
మనకెన్నడో తెలుసును భూమి ఆకారం
ప్రతిశాస్త్రం వెనుక ఉండవచ్చు ఓ సత్యం
అన్వేషణతో కనగలం దానిని ప్రతినిత్యం
భారతీయులం మనం
ఎన్నటికీ ఎవ్వరికీ తీసిపోం
కర్మభూమి మన భారతదేశం
అర్పిద్దాం ఆతల్లికి సుధాభరిత పదవందనం

Ven Pongal

Ingredients:

Rice 3/4 cup
Mung dal 1/4 cup ( dry fry til light brown and it is aromatic)
Jeera 1/ 4tsp
Pepper corns few / Powder two pinches
Salt to taste.
Ghee 3 tsp, kaju as many as you want

Add Ghee in Kadai, fry Jeera till brown, add kaju and fry it brown.

Now in add rice & fried dal in dish wash together with water and add that into rice cooker.
Add water ( measure is for 1 cup dal + rice , 3 cups of water)

Add pepper* ( powder) , salt and kaju mixture that was fried in Kadai to this.

Cook the way you cook rice in Electric cooker.

After cooking is done, season it with Hing and kadipatha.

Mix it well it is ready to eat.

* If you are using whole pepper, then add it to the ghee along with Jeera.

Coconut rice. :

Cook rice with 1rice : 2 water
well in advance.

Rice should not be hot while mixing. The texture of the rice becomes very soggy while mixing. ( Same is the case with Pulihora)
Medium heat is ok.

Ingredients:

Ghee : 1 1/2 tsp
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Mungphali 1/2 tbsp
Coconut powder. Half cup.
Salt to taste.

In Kadai

Add ghee & mustard and let it splutter.
Add ground nuts & fry.

At the end add coconut powder & switch of the stove & keep frying until brown and aromatic.

If available Kadi Patha can be added here.

Add salt to taste.
Add little sugar to enhance the taste.

(Coconut powder doesn’t need too much of heat to get fried.

It should be light brown and aromatic.

So accordingly you should adjust your frying time & heat of the stove. )

Now to this add cooked rice, and mix well.

Coconut rice is ready to eat!

Sambar Rice

( measurement for one time consumption)

In Kadai:

Ingredients,

1 small onion, 1 capsicum, 1/2 as Carrot

Mustard 1/4 TSP or less
Ground nuts few
Sambar powder 1/4 TSP
Garam masala 1/4 TSP Haldi a pinch Hing a pinch
Tamarind paste 3/4 th spoon or little more if you want it tangy
Salt to taste.

Cut onion, capsicum & carrot all can be medium in size.

In Kadai add Ghee 2 TSP.
add to it Rai & let it splutter. U can add few ground nuts / Kaju & fry.

Add also onion to it fry till soft.

Add garam masala,
sambar masala , hing, haldi
saute…

Add tamarind paste to it… Add 1/2 cup water and mix salt 1/2 TSP.

Now add carrot & capsicum cook with lid for few minutes so that they become little salty.

Consistency should be semi solid.

Ingredients:

For cooker

Rice 1 cup or little less than a cup

Tur dal a fist full. ( Soak it 1/2 hour)

( Tur & rice together I cup)

Mix rice & dal and add 1r :2 w water
1/2 tsp salt.

Now add what ever you prepared
In Kadai to your rice cooker.
and cook.

(After some time, before the complete cooking is done, it is a good idea to switch off the rice cooker, mix all the ingredients once and restart cooking again )

You can add little ghee in plate to enhance the flavour.