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 s 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.
PREPARATION OF THE BASIC KARADAI FLOUR:
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.
“ I offer an unbroken adai and butter which has not melted,
May I not be separated from my dear husband for ever.”
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