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Kongunad Sandhavai

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Though Tamil Nadu has its distinct style of cuisine, it has regional variations - just like the language Tamil and its variations in regional dialects. Largely Tamil cooking depends on the readily available spices from the region. But the way the individual spices are used differs from one region to another. Fresh vegetables grown from the nearby Nilgiris district add to cooking style of Kongu - Coimbatore style of cooking.

Kongunad Cuisine

Kongunadu is the region that comprises the western part of Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Tirupur, Dharmapuri, Namakkal and Dindigul. The cuisine of this region has its own flavor, distinct from Chettinad cuisine.

The use of coconut or dried copra is noticed. Coconut milk is also used. The gravies are comparatively less spicy. In the traditional meal, the rasam rice combination is partaken last unlike in the rest of the state where the rice and buttermilk combination signals the end of the meal. Vadagams made by drying meat along with spices, Arissi paruppu saadam, Aathur kozhi kolambu, ragi rotti, kadamba saadam, pachapuli rasam, kaalaan parangi kari, nathakadaiyur nandu masala, kalkandu pongal and kollu masiyal are examples of Kongunad cuisine. Pathaneer halwa, opputu and Elaneer payasam are typical sweets from the Kongu region. Use of palm jaggery is noticed.

Idiyappam recipe


Parboiled rice 2 cups
Freshly grated coconut ½ or 1 cup
Salt ½ tsp
Cardamom 5 pods

Wash and soak rice for three to four hours. Grate coconut, make sure not to grate near the shell, use the white portion alone. Grind coconut and cardamom to a fine paste and add it to the rice and grandly until a smooth paste. The consistency of the batter should be thicker than idli batter. Make idli from this batter. Use a sandhavai nazhi or idiyappam press to make rice noodles,string hoppers or sandhavai. Typically Sandhavai is served with coconut milk, sugar and cardamom. Traditionally it was served to newlyweds when invited for a meal.

Savory Sandhavai

The Sandhavai can also be made in a savory version. Grind soaked rice with coconut till it is a fine paste. Steam the batter and use an idiyappam press to make fresh sandhavai. Heat oil in a pan and add seasoning of mustard, green chillies and curry leaves. Add onions and fry till they are translucent. Add turmeric powder, tomatoes and salt. Once the mixture is soft, add the sandhavai and mix well.

Other Recipes of Kongunadu

Kambu Dosa

Bajra flour 1 1/2 cup
Rice 1/4 cup
Urad dal 1/8 cup

Soak the rice and urad dal for about 4 hours. Grind them till fine. Add chopped onion, red chillies and asafetida to the batter and grind till smooth. Add the bajra flour and mix well. Add salt to taste. You can add a tempering of cumin seeds and curry leaves.

Arisi Paruppu Saadam

Rice 1/2 cup
Tuvar dal 3 tbsp
Chopped onion 1
Chopped tomato 1 small
Coriander leaves
Curry leaves
Turmeric powder

Masala (to be ground):

Red Chillies 2
Garlic 2
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Pepper corns 1/4 tsp

Soak the dal and rice for about 10 minutes. Prepare the ground paste. Take a pressure cooker and prepare a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves in a bit of oil. Fry chopped onions till golden. Add chopped tomatoes and fry till they are soft. Add salt. Add the ground masala and fry till the aroma is wafting out. Add the rice and dal. Add nearly 2 cups of water. Pressure cook till done.

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South Indian Recipe : Kongunad Sandhavai