Sunday, March 15, 2009

Karadai - Sweet and Savoury Lentil & Rice Dumpling

The name of this dish is intriguing because it is neither a spicy (kharam) dish nor has any semblance to the dish called adai. It is a very simple dish prepared with rice and karamani (black eyed beans) on a special festival called Karadaian Nombu. Women perform this vratham (a vow including fasting, praying and then breaking the fast with the offering prepared to the Almighty) for the well being and long life of their respective husbands. Unmarried girls perform the rituals aspiring to get good husbands.
The story of this festival, as per the Puranas, (Hindu religious texts) goes like this. Goddess Parvati covered Lord Shiva’s eyes in a playful mood, thus causing the entire universe to come to a stand still. For this shortcoming, Shiva bid her to live on the Earth (Bhooloka) until he decided to take her back.
Goddess Parvati was then born on earth as Kamakshi. She formed a Lingam (symbol of Shiva) with sand, and started her severe penance under a mango tree located at Kanchipuram for her reunion with Lord Shiva. When the spate in the Kamba river threatened to wash away the Sand Lingam, Kamakshi prayed to Parashakti (Supreme Goddess) that the flood should not destroy her penance for her Lord. Lord Shiva then appeared and took her back with him.
Women pray to Kamakshi on Karadian Nombu, and offer the karadai, just as she had offered a dish prepared out of the wild grains to Parashakti .
The legend of Savithri and Sathyavan also mentions about this nombu. Here Savithri performs this penance for the Sathyavan’s long life. Although his death was preordained, Savithri  is able to save his life from Lord Yama, through her stringent penance. Hence Karadian Nombu is known as Kamakshi Nombu and Savithri Nombu as well.
A sweet karadai can be prepared using jaggery and is known as vella adai. The version prepared with salt and seasoning is called as uppadai. The basic ingredients and the initial preparations are the same for both.
Rice – 250 gms
Black eyed beans or Karamani (Dried) – 50 gms
1. Dry roast karamani till it starts cracking and keep it aside.
2. Dry roast rice till it turns pinkish in colour.
3. When both the ingredients have cooled down, dry grind them together to a coarse powder resembling semolina.


The prepared karadai flour - 1 cup
Jaggery (powdered) – 1 cup
Cardamom (powdered) – 2 

1. Dissolve jaggery in warm water and strain.
2. Add water to make 3 cups of jaggery water.
3. Bring this to boil and add the flour stirring to avoid lumps.
4. Cook stirring all the time until it becomes a thick mass.
5. Add cardamom powder and blend well.
6. Take out a ladleful of the sweetened mass and pat it into a round plump roundel or adai and make a shallow depression in the middle.
7. Shape all the adais similarly and place them on greased idli plates.
8. Steam in the pressure cooker (without the weight) for 15 minutes.
This is offered to the Almighty along with butter while chanting a prayer which means:
“ I offer an unbroken adai and butter which has not melted,
May I not be separated from my dear husband for ever.”
Prayer or no prayer enjoy the Vella Adai with a blob of fresh butter!!
The prepared karadai flour – 1 cup
Mustard seeds - ¼ tsp
Black gram dal (urad dal) – 1tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – a few
Fresh coconut gratings – 2 tbsps
Salt – ½ tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tsp 
1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.

2. When it splutters add the black gram dal.
3. When it turns golden in colour add broken red chillies.
4. Add asafoetida powder and curry leaves and fry.
5. Add 3 cups of water, salt and the coconut gratings and bring it to a boil.
6. Now add the prepared flour and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
7. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the flour becomes a thick mass.
8. Shape into roundels or adais with depressions in the middle and steam in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes.
Enjoy the hot adais with butter and chutney or gojju of your choice

20 Post your Comments:

Chitra said...

wow,thats really a fantastic post dibs,we too make the same and chant the same lines:)Iam very happy to see this post!!Thanks for the info abt this noanbu!!

Priya said...

Nice to know more about Nonbu Dibs...Karadai looks delicious!!

Asha said...

New to me, never heard of this.Looks delicious. specially savory ones! :)

meeso said...

Never had these, but looks very tasty!

Sunshinemom said...

You made this for Nombu? I forgot the festival completely till Mum called up and then forgot again till it was too late:) But I love nombu adai! We do not grind the karamani. Quite a treat:)

Shama Nagarajan said...

nice read....lovely recipes

Priti said...

Looks nice...I heard about this but never tasted...

rekhas kitchen said...

I know about that sotry but not this nonbu intresting and both adai s looks so yum very good for helth too

YOSEE said...

They are good tiffin items.Parvathi and Savithri are apparently innovative cooks.Who would've thought of Karamani in a sweet-dish !

YOSEE said...

They are good tiffin items.Parvathi and Savithri are apparently innovative cooks.Who would've thought of Karamani in a sweet-dish !

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

very nice info. enjoyed reading the story.. i love sweet kozhakattai. tastes yum with butter :) your kozhakattai has come out perfect.

Ivy said...

I love learning so many new things about Indian traditions and food. Your dumplings sounds delicious.

Uma said...

Never heard of these before. looks so delicious.

Vaishali said...

You took me back for a moment to my childhood and listening to or reading those amazing stories about Hindu gods and goddesses. Thanks, Dibs, for that, and for a really delicious-looking traditional treat.


My mom used to do this,I just love the sweet adai with butter on top!!

S.R.Ramachandran said...

enjoyed tasting karadai with home made butter. healthy food. appa

LG said...

I had never heard of them. Savory adais and vella adais look delicious. I will give it a try soon.

Cham said...

Love the savory version , like the story behind!

Varsha Vipins said... so amazed to see all these traditional dishes so unknown to me..w have a vast culinary history..Good one Dibs..:)

ammapa2000 said...

its nice