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Original TB cuisine of 15th century?

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ShivKC

Active member
What our ancestors are dining with, 5 centuries ago? A bit of google gives me a message,that, the most traditional TB household food seems to be borrowed from others (not NBs).

cant imagine of a tanjavoor sambhar without small onion,potato,tomato,roasted chilli which are all brought in from South Americas 300 years ago. Famous Dosa is Portuguese pancake copied from Kerala and Idli is chinese. The singature tamil brahmin filter coffee is brought to us by british 2 hundred years ago.

So, without Chilli, tomato, potato,onion(forbidden), what food ancestors would have enjoyed with? What was the ancient tamil delicacy( both B & NB)? was TB food superior to NBs 5 centuries ago?
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
What our ancestors are dining with, 5 centuries ago? A bit of google gives me a message,that, the most traditional TB household food seems to be borrowed from others (not NBs).

cant imagine of a tanjavoor sambhar without small onion,potato,tomato,roasted chilli which are all brought in from South Americas 300 years ago. Famous Dosa is Portuguese pancake copied from Kerala and Idli is chinese. The singature tamil brahmin filter coffee is brought to us by british 2 hundred years ago.

So, without Chilli, tomato, potato,onion(forbidden), what food ancestors would have enjoyed with? What was the ancient tamil delicacy( both B & NB)? was TB food superior to NBs 5 centuries ago?

Dear Sri ShivKC,

An interesting discussion had taken place in another Forum on the subject of South Indian vegetarian food habits before the arrival of foreigners. It was the majority view that the items that we prepare for Srardham day give an indication in this regards.

RawBanana(Vazhaikaai), Bitter gourd(Pakarkaai), Cluster beans(Kothavarangaai), Cucumber(Vellarikaai), Snake gourd(Pudalangaai), Raw Mango(Mangaai), Ginger(Inji), Colocasia(Sepangkizhangu), Elephant Yam(Senai), Sweet potato (Sarkarai velli) Banana, Mango(fruit), Pepper, Coconut, turmeric powder, moong dal are used for cooking Srardha Samayal. But Red Chilli, Thur dal, green chilli, Dhaniya are avoided.

Idly is claimed to be pure Tamil recipe, But there is a claim that "Iddalige", appears in one story of "Vaddaradhane", an old Kannada text estimated to be of 9 to 10th C AD. Dosai is from Karnataka, but some claim that Dosai and Vadai are known from Sangam period, in the land of Tamils. Perhaps Sri "Nara", Sri Samarapoongavan, Sri Pannvalan or Smt Visalakshi Ramani can give more information on this subject.

I have a copy of an old book on "taligai prepared in Tirupati" Temple based on the records of that temple giving interesting information on the subject.


Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore
 
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sarma-61

New member
Dear Sri ShivKC,

An interesting discussion had taken place in another Forum on the subject of South Indian vegetarian food habits before the arrival of foreigners. It was the majority view that the items that we prepare for Srardham day give an indication in this regards.

RawBanana(Vazhaikaai), Bitter gourd(Pakarkaai), Cluster beans(Kothavarangaai), Cucumber(Vellarikaai), Snake gourd(Pudalangaai), Raw Mango(Mangaai), Ginger(Inji), Colocasia(Sepangkizhangu), Elephant Yam(Senai), Sweet potato (Sarkarai velli) Banana, Mango(fruit), Pepper, Coconut, turmeric powder, moong dal are used for cooking Srardha Samayal. But Red Chilli, Thur dal, green chilli, Dhaniya are avoided.

Idly is claimed to be pure Tamil recipe, But there is a claim that "Iddalige", appears in one story of "Vaddaradhane", an old Kannada text estimated to be of 9 to 10th C AD. Dosai is from Karnataka, but some claim that Dosai and Vadai are known from Sangam period, in the land of Tamils. Perhaps Sri "Nara", Sri Samarapoongavan, Sri Pannvalan or Smt Visalakshi Ramani can give more information on this subject.

I have a copy of an old book on "taligai prepared in Tirupati" Temple based on the records of that temple giving interesting information on the subject.


Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore

sweet potato came from S. Americas and is varjyam for sraaddha cooking. One indispensable item for sraaddham meals is sesamum in some form, ellurundai is a must, is it not?

the 'purodaasam' which comes in our mantras is what became "parotta, or, paraatha"; apoopam meaning fried flour mix (later appam) was also ancient. even today vadhyars say "maashaapoopam nivedayaami" (ulundu vadai, that is), guLaapoopam nivedayaami (sweet appam with jaggery and rice flour some decades ago, now wheat flour is used). honey and curds (madhuparkkam we say) was an important item for honoured guests. wheat was probably not common in south india. mustard (katuku) is also avoided i think. Putthari chundai was a must when it was avilable commonly, now seen nowhere; keerai, though local, is taboo in sraaddham, but must have been eaten commonly.

i have read a book on ancient food habits of indians but will try to find out from google more details.
 
Last edited:

T.S.Sankara Narayanan

Active member
It is in scripted that ," Tholhappiar " used to Drink a liquid by name Kuzambi daily in the mornings.

Some say including Karunanithi,That Kuzambi is nothing but Coffee.

So there are possibilities that Ancient Tamils drank Coffee Daily in the mornings.

Tamils especially Ancient Brahmins like Manikkavasagar,Tholhappiar etc used Rice as the Main Food in their Daily Routine.

So rice Derived items like Dosa,Idlies savai etc,are the Favorite and regular dishes of TBs of olden days.

One Interesting Story about Aviyal.

By the time when C.P.Ramaswamy iyer was the Diwan of Travancore Kingdom,(C.P.R hailed from KUMBAKONAM) there was a Royal wedding in Palace.

At that time there was a Severe Scarcity for Vegetables also,for making Poriyals.

The Royal cook at that time doesnt know what to do ? to satisfy the Crowd.

He rushed to C.P.R and asked.

C.P.R asked what ever vegetables available you mix it together,add Curd or buttermilk in that mixture so that it will compensate the loss of Pulippu,in vegetables added such way.You add Red Chillis also in Fully Ground form so that no one knows what is added for Kaaram in it and prepare such a food and adjust the Wedding in place of Poriyal.

Aviyal came on that day and Occupies Favourite dish even today.
 

pannvalan

Well-known member
'Kuzhambi' must be a porridge which is prepared by stirring. That's how it got that name.

I do not think coffee was ever known to ancient Tamils, especially those who lived 1000 years ago.
 

sarma-61

New member
It is in scripted that ," Tholhappiar " used to Drink a liquid by name Kuzambi daily in the mornings.

Some say including Karunanithi,That Kuzambi is nothing but Coffee.

So there are possibilities that Ancient Tamils drank Coffee Daily in the mornings.

Tamils especially Ancient Brahmins like Manikkavasagar,Tholhappiar etc used Rice as the Main Food in their Daily Routine.

So rice Derived items like Dosa,Idlies savai etc,are the Favorite and regular dishes of TBs of olden days.

One Interesting Story about Aviyal.

By the time when C.P.Ramaswamy iyer was the Diwan of Travancore Kingdom,(C.P.R hailed from KUMBAKONAM) there was a Royal wedding in Palace.

At that time there was a Severe Scarcity for Vegetables also,for making Poriyals.

The Royal cook at that time doesnt know what to do ? to satisfy the Crowd.

He rushed to C.P.R and asked.

C.P.R asked what ever vegetables available you mix it together,add Curd or buttermilk in that mixture so that it will compensate the loss of Pulippu,in vegetables added such way.You add Red Chillis also in Fully Ground form so that no one knows what is added for Kaaram in it and prepare such a food and adjust the Wedding in place of Poriyal.

Aviyal came on that day and Occupies Favourite dish even today.

Shri Sankaranarayanan Sir,

"aviyal" is a kerala preparation from more than 200 or so years ago. the keralites believe that it was bhiman (pandava) who first made aviyal during vanavaasam. he cut whatever edible items were available in the forest - mainly சேனை, பூசணிக்காய், வெள்ளரிக்காய், கும்பளங்காய் (a gourd like வெள்ளரிக்காய்), வாழைக்காய், சேம்பு, முருங்கைக்காய் - and mashed pepper, coconut (not grated but just pieces mashed with bhiman's mighty hands - சதைச்சது, they say here in kerala) and prepared this aviyal. அவி means steam cook in malayalam also but in the case of aviyal it is cooked in minimum water. Later, after Bhima's time, the recipe must have changed - and red chillies, curry leaves, grated coconut made into a paste, coconut oil for taste and fragrance, ஜீரகம் for taste and fragrance, etc., must have been used.

The story (legend) you say is not likely because in kerala "aviyal" is a must item even in wedding feasts of the very rich (I have no idea of royal wedding) famine or no famine.
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
sweet potato came from S. Americas and is varjyam for sraaddha cooking. One indispensable item for sraaddham meals is sesamum in some form, ellurundai is a must, is it not?

the 'purodaasam' which comes in our mantras is what became "parotta, or, paraatha"; apoopam meaning fried flour mix (later appam) was also ancient. even today vadhyars say "maashaapoopam nivedayaami" (ulundu vadai, that is), guLaapoopam nivedayaami (sweet appam with jaggery and rice flour some decades ago, now wheat flour is used). honey and curds (madhuparkkam we say) was an important item for honoured guests. wheat was probably not common in south india. mustard (katuku) is also avoided i think. Putthari chundai was a must when it was available commonly, now seen nowhere; keerai, though local, is taboo in sraaddham, but must have been eaten commonly.

i have read a book on ancient food habits of indians but will try to find out from google more details.

Dear Sri Sarma,

It seems there is mention of Vegetables and pulses used in Bharatavarsha in Rig Veda. I quote excerpts from articles that I read on the subject hereunder :

" The first vegetables mentioned in the Rigveda are the lotus stem (visa), and the cucumber (urvaruka). Vedas also refer to several others, like lotus roots (shaluka), the bottle-gourd (alabu), the water-chestnut (saphaka, mulali), two other aquatic plants (avaka and andika), and the bittergourd (karivrnta or kara-vella). The Buddhist and Jain canonical literature refers to yams (aluka), two convolvulus roots (etaluka and kadambu), and several leafy vegetables. Kautilya in his Artha-shastra refers to the rajdhana or ksiri (now kauki, Manilkara kauki) and to the cucumber as chidbhita."
But common understanding of the word "urvarukam" is water melon.

The great epic Ramayana of Valmiki "speaks of the surana or elephant yam (vajrakanda), the pindaluka (possibly the sweet potato), the bottlegourd (kalasaku), the sleshmataka and lasora (both Cordia species that bear fruits which can be cooked or pickled), karira (Capparis decidua, with edible sour berries), and sudarshana or vrspani (unidentified)".

Regarding Sweet Potato there are different theories on its origin. One is that Sweet potato is of native origin of our country known in South as "valli kizhangu" migrated to Polynesia via Java and then to Americas. It has a Sanskrit sounding name in Zew Zealand "Kumara" and popular among Maories. There is a view that mention of edible root in Balakanda in Valmiki Ramayana refers to Sweet Potato only. I am not aware that Sweet potato is varjyam for Srardham. It is common among Tamil Brahmins to use of this root in Srardha Cusine.

Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.
 
Last edited:

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
'Kuzhambi' must be a porridge which is prepared by stirring. That's how it got that name.

I do not think coffee was ever known to ancient Tamils, especially those who lived 1000 years ago.


Dear Sri Pannvalan,

Coffee was introduced to India by the 17 th century Sufi Saint Baba Budan who had brought seven coffee beans from Yeman (port of Mocha) and planted them in the Hills of Chikkamagalur. His Dharga is in Baba budan giri situated in the same hill range. It is believed that Coffee plant is from Kaffa in Ethiopia. It is a popular drink among Arabs called "Qahwa" and Turkish "Kahva".
I don't think Coffee is known to us before 17th Century.
Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
Dear Sri Sarma,

It seems there is mention of Vegetables and pulses used in Bharatavarsha in Rig Veda. I quote excerpts from articles that I read on the subject hereunder :

" The first vegetables mentioned in the Rigveda are the lotus stem (visa), and the cucumber (urvaruka). Vedas also refer to several others, like lotus roots (shaluka), the bottle-gourd (alabu), the water-chestnut (saphaka, mulali), two other aquatic plants (avaka and andika), and the bittergourd (karivrnta or kara-vella). The Buddhist and Jain canonical literature refers to yams (aluka), two convolvulus roots (etaluka and kadambu), and several leafy vegetables. Kautilya in his Artha-shastra refers to the rajdhana or ksiri (now kauki, Manilkara kauki) and to the cucumber as chidbhita."
But common understanding of the word "urvarukam" is water melon.

The great epic Ramayana of Valmiki "speaks of the surana or elephant yam (vajrakanda), the pindaluka (possibly the sweet potato), the bottlegourd (kalasaku), the sleshmataka and lasora (both Cordia species that bear fruits which can be cooked or pickled), karira (Capparis decidua, with edible sour berries), and sudarshana or vrspani (unidentified)".

Regarding Sweet Potato there are different theories on its origin. One is that Sweet potato is of native origin of our country known in South as "valli kizhangu" migrated to Polynesia via Java and then to Americas. It has a Sanskrit sounding name in Zew Zealand "Kumara" and popular among Maories. There is a view that mention of edible root in Balakanda in Valmiki Ramayana refers to Sweet Potato only. I am not aware that Sweet potato is varjyam for Srardham. It is common among Tamil Brahmins to use of this root in Srardha Cusine.

Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.

Thanks for your informative post.
I heard that "seppankizhangu" is a valuable delicacy in Africa. Do you have any information on that and its origins? Of course that too is accepted in TB sraddha cuisine.

What is puzzling to me is that in Ayurveda, those grown sub-terranean are considered lowest and yet they are included in sraddha?

With warm regards,
Swami
 

sarma-61

New member
Thanks for your informative post.
I heard that "seppankizhangu" is a valuable delicacy in Africa. Do you have any information on that and its origins? Of course that too is accepted in TB sraddha cuisine.

What is puzzling to me is that in Ayurveda, those grown sub-terranean are considered lowest and yet they are included in sraddha?

With warm regards,
Swami

Sarkkaraivalli kizhangu is taboo in TB sraaddhams in kerala and also some parts of TN AFAIK.

Ayurvedam only holds that roots are not easy to digest. so it should be given with care in the case of sick people - and who goes to ayurveda physician except when sick? it is jains for whom roots are completely taboo.
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
Original Tamil Brahmin cuisine of 15th century?

Thanks for your informative post.
I heard that "seppankizhangu" is a valuable delicacy in Africa. Do you have any information on that and its origins? Of course that too is accepted in TB sraddha cuisine.

What is puzzling to me is that in Ayurveda, those grown sub-terranean are considered lowest and yet they are included in sraddha?

With warm regards,
Swami


Dear Sri Swami,

Sembu, Senai , Inji were known to Tamils since long and are being used in Tamil Brahmin houses for pitrukaryams. While browsing for information I found the following in one of the reputed websites::

ஏகோத்ர வ்ருத்தி நவச்ராத்தத்திற்கு
அரிசி-கால் கிலோ, வாழைக்காய்-1, சேம்பு-100, வெல்லம்100, ப.பருப்பு-50, வெத்திலை-4, பாக்கு-2, நக்ன ஸ்வாமி தக்ஷpணை .


Sembu is popular in South East Asia, but might have gone there from India (Malabar). My grand mother avoided use of root vegetables grown under ground for the reason according to her they were meant for animals. However it is my view that prohibiting use of roots must have been influenced by Jainism.

I do not know much about Ayurveda. It is a separate subject.

Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.
 
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