Yesterday was Chingam 1
It’s the Malayalam New year. It also marks the onset of Onam…the festival of festivals!! Us mallus call this ponnin chingam, (golden chingam) because it is the month when harvesting takes place. After the rain drenched month of Karkitakam,which is also known as the month of privation, Chingam is welcomed as the month of plenty. The sky is a deep blue, the fields are emerald green, and the harvest is ready for reaping.
Traditionally, the first day in the month of Chingam is regarded as the most auspicious one by mallus, thus making it apt for new beginnings. Chingam is also the time for mallus to go all gooey eyed with fond remembrances of the good times…actually, the old timers…I don’t think any of the new generation mallus celebrate it at all….Sadly, they find celebrating the Gregorian New year on January 1st much more fun than the traditional Malayalam new year.
The best thing about Chingam 1 was the Athachamayam , a cultural procession that takes place in the royal town of Tripunithara, which also marks the beginning of Onam Celebrations in the state. Ahuge crowd accompanies the procession. There is music, caparisoned elephants, floats depicting various aspects of mallu life, colourful and glittery umbrellas, pulikkali,(play showing tiger hunting with people colouring themselves like tigers)…what not..!!
I love the colours, and the excitement….what a grand spectacle it is! Since I am a true blue mallu… I make sure of my attendance at this festival . Me and my husband, N, with kids in tow , park ourselves in the pavement on the side of the street through which the procession winds. And this year too… we are not disappointed!! The kids loved the elephants the best.
I think I’ve been rambling too much….you guys must be getting bored…no?
So …shall we move on to a recipe?
In keeping with today’s post, I thought we’d make an Aviyal , in which simple, robust vegetables combine to form a tasty dish without which no mallu meal is complete.
Coconut (grated) ½
Curryleaves a stalk
Button Onions 3
Garlic 2 small pieces
Fenugreek a pinch
Cumin a pinch
Mustard seeds a pinch
-----------------------------------------------------Grind all these items coarsely.
Potato 2 sliced lengthwise
Carrot 2 sliced lengthwise
Tomato 1 sliced lengthwise
Beans 4 chopped
Drumstick 3 cut into 2 “slices
Green chilly 5 slit in half
Onion 1 sliced
Cucumber(vellarikka /kumbalanga…not the salad type)
Turmeric 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Coconut oil 4 tbsp
Put all the vegetables together with turmeric and salt as well as1/2 a glass of water in a pressure cooker and cook till it emits 4 whistles.if not using pressure cooker, just put in a vessel and cook till vegetables are tender and well cooked.
Add the ground masala and coconut oil. Mix well. Heat again till just hot Do not boil. Serve hot with rice.
Easy as pie…no?