A typical full course Tamil meal consists of all six tastes or Arusuvai as called in Tamil. They are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Thus, no meal can be treated as complete without the desserts.
The indulgent desserts of Tamil Nadu are exquisite and nutritious. Most are healthy preparations using less sugar and include healthy proteins like green gram and chickpea. Some of the mouth – watering traditional sweets of Tamil Nadu are:
Payasam: A thick, creamy dessert, Payasam is ubiquitous throughout the state. Ingredients used mostly include vermicelli, rice, chickpeas or green gram with the base being milk or coconut milk. It is prepared during all auspicious occasions including festivals.
Rava Kesari: Brightly coloured with saffron (Kesar), this dessert is all buttery, inviting and similar in texture to sooji halwa.
Mysore Pak: A bewitching dessert, “king of all sweets” - made from gram flour, sugar, and fragrant cardamom powder roasted in oodles of ghee. It is then cooled and cut into squares. Meant for special festivals like Navaratri and Deepavali.
Paniyaram: A quickest sweet snack when one has a craving for sweet. It is made from idli batter that’s been sweetened with jaggery. Coconut and cardamom powder are added to highlight its taste.
Sakkarai pongal: Sweet pongal is a delicious South Indian dish made with rice, moong lentils, ghee, jaggery or sugar, cardamoms and nuts. It is traditional dish mostly made to offer the gods on special occasions & festivals. Sweet pongal is known as sakkarai pongal in Tamil. It is made in many traditional South Indian homes on the day of Makara sankranthi or pongal festival. The dish is said to have been prepared by our ancestors to signify and celebrate – abundance and prosperity after the harvest.
Ukkarai: A popular dessert served during Deepavali in Chettinad, it’s made of steamed green gram and Bengal gram flavoured with jaggery, coconut and cardamoms.
Kozhukkattai: Something similar to Modaka. It is a sweet dumpling made from rice flour and has a filling of coconut and jaggery. These melt¬in-the-mouth snacks are offered to Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chathurthi.
Adirasam: A sweet delicacy bonding the household of Tamil Nadu and gorged during Deepavali. It is a deep fried snack made up of jaggery and rice flour. Very similar to “Malpua” of the north.
Aside from these, there are other sweets like the famous cashew-flavoured macaroons (found in the ports of Tuticorin), maladu, karollappams, thirvadhirai kali, mundrikothu, makkan peda, etc., to tempt and tantalize the taste buds.
It is knowing and appreciating the value of a cuisine that was perfected some time ago and has been gifted to us, only to be passed on again to the next generations makes for many of the heirloom recipes shared here.
So, next time you visit Tamil Nadu explore beyond idli, vada and sambar. Instead savour each regional cuisine that boasts of unique cooking methods and spices. They have been backed with heirloom family recipes, ancient culture and traditions, community history and external influences.
The delectable cuisine of Tamil Nadu is a culinary style which dates to antiquity and has since influenced the other states of South and South-East Asia.8 months ago
Next time you visit Tamil Nadu explore beyond idli, vada and sambar. Instead savour each regional cuisine that boasts of unique cooking methods and spices. They have been backed with heirloom family recipes, ancient culture and traditions, community history and external influences.8 months ago
The great Chola king, Rajaraja II (1143 CE –1173 CE), built the Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram, which is ranked only third after the two famed Chola temples of Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram. Read more...8 months ago
Dazzling through the woods on top of hills of the Eastern ghats is the road that bends the most. Located in the high altitudes of the Eastern ghats, the Kolli Hills derive their name from the Goddess who guards the hills-ettukai Amman, also called the Kollipavai. Run wild and free in the unrevealed greenery.8 months ago
Check out these five lesser-known but pristine hill stations of Tamil Nadu that will certainly leave you spellbound. Explore the unexplored.8 months ago
The southernmost tip of India is a charming town blessed with beautiful temples, historical monuments and serene beaches. Kanniyakumari has been and remains a preferred destination for tourists. Part 5 of an Outlook special on tourism in Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
A district steeped in the history of faith, with links to epic legends as well as to modern-day visionaries, Ramanathapuram delights those who love history, gladdens the hearts of nature lovers and soothes the souls of spiritual seekers. Part 6 of an Outlook Special on tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
A unique corner of Tamil Nadu, the newly-formed district of Tenkasi is home to spectacular waterfalls and ancient temples. A visit to Tenkasi is balm for the soul. Part 7 of an Outlook special on unexplored tourist spots in Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
Synonymous with stainless steel, Salem’s other charms usually go unremarked. About 160 km from Coimbatore, this small city on the route to many better-known getaway destinations is overlooked by tourists. While religious travellers flock here, Salem is as significant for its lush greenery, waterfalls and rich history. Part 9 of an Outlook Special on unknown tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
Replete with a unique history and heritage, nature and nuance, culture and cuisine are the town and district of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. Part 9 of an Outlook Special on lesser-known tourist spots takes you on a tour of this unforgettable destination.5 months ago
One of the top hill stations of Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal has many well-known attractions. Yet, in spite of its popularity, it remains a serene island and retains the simple charm of a century ago. Part 10 of an Outlook special series on tourist spots of Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
With its magnificent houses of worship and its heavy industries, the symbols of its past glory and the titles of its present significance, Trichy is an intriguing city. Part 11 of an Outlook Special series on Tamil Nadu tourism.5 months ago
Bustling and yet soulful, ancient and yet modern, cultured and progressive, Madurai epitomises the best of Tamil Nadu. Part 12 of an Outlook special on tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
Enveloped in an ambience of spirituality, Thiruvannamalai is one of the most serene destinations in Tamil Nadu. Part 13 of an Outlook special on lesser-known destinations in the state.5 months ago
Tamil Nadu has a plethora of towns famous for their temples. But Kumbakonam is special among these. Part 14 of an Outlook special on lesser-known destinations in the state.5 months ago
Yet another beautiful temple town built by the Cholas, Chidambaram has a quaint charm in addition to its spiritual significance. Part 15 of an Outlook special on tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu.5 months ago
Endless greenery, unique temples, interesting festivals and wildlife reserves make Pollachi in Tamil Nadu an intriguing destination. Part 17 of an Outlook special on lesser-known destinations in the state.5 months ago
This Independence Day weekend over the Bay of Bengal, kite history will be created! The state of Tamil Nadu welcomes kite flying culture on the most historic weekend of India as it celebrates 75 years of Independence!4 months ago
Azure waters, clear skies, and shimmering sand. Tamil Nadu is where each beach lover's heaven exists4 months ago
Discover the beauty left behind by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the Scottish, and the Irish in Tamil Nadu4 months ago
Chennai, the steamy capital of Tamil Nadu, is huge, sometimes hectic, and a perfect introduction to the wonderful, frenetic energy of South India. The city sprawls for miles along one of the world’s largest urban beaches, dotted with temples, museums, Raj relics, and restaurants serving what could well be the world’s finest vegetarian cuisine.4 months ago
Often overlooked by the crowds who flock to Delhi and Mumbai, fascinating, foodie Chennai is the gateway to India’s steamy south. Within easy striking distance of the Tamil Nadu capital are timeless temple towns, coastal nature reserves, old colonial outposts and beach resorts that are as popular for monsoon watching as sitting on the sand.4 months ago
In the beautiful state of Tamil Nadu, is a quaint town that is typical as well as atypical of the state in several intriguing ways. Part 17 of an Outlook special on lesser-known destinations in Tamil Nadu looks at Karaikudi3 months ago
In our times of matchbox apartments and crowded parks, uninspired design and soulless malls, Chennai offers up a slice of both grandeur and grace through its several heritage buildings reflective of colonial times. Part 18 of an Outlook special on lesser-known destinations in Tamil Nadu3 months ago
Chennai is graced with a rich architectural legacy from the times of British colonial rule. Part 19 of an Outlook special on lesser-known aspects of Tamil Nadu as a tourist destination.3 months ago
Much before the British established their stronghold over India, the Portuguese had established trade relations with the country. Heritage buildings in various parts of India reflect traces of Portuguese architectural traditions. While Goa might come first to mind, Tamil Nadu also has quite a few imprints of Portuguese culture. Part 20 of an Outlook special on lesser-known places of interest in the state.3 months ago
The imprint of the Portuguese in Tamil Nadu has a long history that predates the British, the Dutch and the French. This is still evident today in some churches and other buildings that remain, offering travellers who are interested in history and heritage an intriguing glimpse of our past. Part 21 of an Outlook special on lesser-known travel ideas in Tamil Nadu.3 months ago
The East India Company and the British Empire’s presence in Tamil Nadu caused an influx of officers, officials and men from not just England but Scotland and Ireland. This also left a distinctive and beautiful imprint on the landscape of Tamil Nadu, especially its architecture. Part 22 of an Outlook special on lesser-known travel ideas in Tamil Nadu.3 months ago
Marghazi. From the name of an auspicious month to a word synonymous with a month-long festival of music and dance today, as the global cultural cognoscenti will attest to. Part 23 of an Outlook special on tourism in Tamil Nadu gives you a peek into one of the world’s biggest music festivals.3 months ago
The Shore Temple. Magnificent sculptures. Windswept beaches. The whisper of waves. That is Mahabalipuram every day. But, for a month every year, it becomes a stage for the tinkle of anklets, the beat of the drum and the glorious sight of dancers in tandem. Part 24 of an Outlook special series on the tourism events and destinations of Tamil Nadu - the Indian Dance Festival.3 months ago