When one hears about the cuisines of Tamilnadu,Chettinad Cuisine pops up first.But there is another flavor that has long been forgotten.
There was a glorious cuisine that was a famous fare almost 200 years ago. The other cuisines took over and this wonderful and healthy cuisine has been sent to the rear and over the years became history.
Re-introducing the Cuisine of Kongunad – The cuisine from the land of nectar…..
Kongunad is the homeland of the Tamilians and dates back to the 8th centuary AD.It comprised of Palani, Dharapuram, Karur, Namakkal, Thiruchengodu, Erode,Selam,Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, Avinasi, Nilgiris,Pollachi and Udumalpet [All these places are in Tamilnadu-South India]
Before I start off with the menu,a word about the lesser-known freedom fighters from the kongu soil.
Two brave men – Theeran Chinnamalai and Tiruppur Kumaran have given their share to the freedom struggle.
Theeran Chinnamalai [1576 – 1805] is said to have made the freedom struggle a people’s movement.Historians say he adopted the guerilla warfare against the invaders.He took part in three important battles and in the final battle he was betrayed by his cook and he was hanged to death.
Tiruppur Kumaran[1904-1932] ] born in Chennimalai [Erode district] was one of the youngest in the freedom movement taking Gandhi’s way at a very young age.Kumaran died from injuries sustained from a Police assault during a protest march against the British and died holding the flag of India.He is considered a martyr by the people of Tamilnadu and is referred to as ‘Kodi Katha Kumaran’ meaning kumaran who saved the flag.
Now coming to the cuisine part,Kongunadu cuisine is extensive for the simple reason that kongunadu covers a vast area.
This cuisine does not involve marinating and has its own nativity and style.The use of turmeric,groundnut paste to curries give it a unique texture and flavor.This is a very healthy cuisine owing to the use of millets, pulses, sesame and less amounts of oil and spices.
Some of the delicacies include arisi paruppu sadham[Rice-Dhal dish],ell urundai[Sweet sesame balls],urulaikilangu curry[Potato stir fry],Paruppu urundai kulambu[Lentil dumpling in sambar],Venn pongal[Yet another rice pulse combo,a common breaskfast dish],Dosai,Nellikkai chaaru[Gooseberry soup],murungakkai sambar[Drumstick sambar],Vaazhapoo Kootu[Banana blossom kootu],Pachapuli rasam[no-cook rasam] etc and a host of non veg dishes.
So here are some dishes form Kongunad….