Thiruvathira is a festival celebrated in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This festival falls in the Dhanu Month (Dec 15 to Jan15th) on the full moon day and is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva.
Traditionally, in our home, the ladies would wake up very early, have bath and prepare some special offerings called Kali and Kootu. These are then placed on individual plantain leaves, one for one lady with a banana and beetel leaf. These are then offered as neivedyam to Lord Shiva and later on eaten by the ladies. The neivedyam is supposed to be offered before sunrise. And then they go to a nearby Shiva Temple for the Aarudradarshanam. Women folk generally, chew beetal leaf, enjoy themselves on the swings and certain communities perform a special dance known as Thirvathirakali.
Koova Kali or Arrowroot halwa is also one of the offerings prepared especially on this day. I was introduced to this only after marriage and now make it on every Thiruvathira, sometimes even on other days, while craving for something sweet. I enjoy having this more than the Kali or the Kootu. It is really very simple to make and nobody can go wrong with this. So here is the recipe for this:
What you’ll need
1. Arrowroot Powder/Koova Podi – ½ cup
2. Powdered Jaggery – ¾ cup
3. Grated Fresh Coconut – 1 Tbsp (Optional)
4. Cardamom Powder – a pinch
5. Ghee/Clarified Butter – 4 tsp + a little for greasing
6. Cashew Nuts – for Garnish
7. Water – 1 cup + 1/3 cup of dissolving Jaggery
1. Grease a plate and a flat back cup (davara).
2. Dissolve the jaggery in about 1/3 cup of water. Strain for impurities and heat it on medium flame. Add the grated Coconut to the syrup and let it keep boiling on medium flame.
3. In a Kadai, add the arrowroot powder and 1 cup of water, mix it well without forming any lumps.
4. Place the kadai on medium heat and keep stirring, after sometime say about 3 to 4 minutes, mixture will start thickening and will change color from white to transparent.
5. Now add the Jaggery syrup and stir well. You will feel as if lumps have formed, but keep stirring well and smash the lumps with the back of the spatula.
6. Add about 3 tsp of ghee and stir. The mixture will start leaving the sides, and come as a whole mass. Add another spoon of ghee mix and transfer to a greased plate.
7. Level it with the back of a greased cup. Cut into desired shapes once cool. Decorate with cashewnuts.
No particular paakam (Jaggery syrup consistency) is required to be formed.