March 14, 2013

Karadaiyan Nonbu Adai (Sweet/Savory)

"உருகாத வெண்ணையும் ஓரடையும் வைத்து நோன்பு நூற்றேன் 
ஒருக்காலும் என் கணவர் என்னை விட்டு பிரியாது இருக்க வேண்டும்."

Each & every south-Indian wife recites the above verses and prays for the well-being of their husbands on the auspicious day of "Karadaiyan Nonbu" that falls exactly at the start of the Tamil month "Panguni". 

The history behind this festival dates back to the earliest times of Mahabaratha, where Savitri, princess from a place called Madra, Asvapati chooses to marry Satyavan even after knowing that he had just one year to live after their marriage. Savitri who is bound and determined to save Satyavan from Yama (God of death), maintains strict fasting and vigil in an effort to save her husband. On the day when Yama arrives to claim the soul of Satyavan, Savitri impresses Yama with her dedication and arguments to save Satyavan. Finally, Yama is forced to admit his defeat over Savitri's wisdom and grants back Satyavan's life.

The connection between the story & the festival is that Savitri fought with Yama and brought back her husband to life exactly at the time when the Tamil month "Masi" ends and the following month "Panguni" begins. Inorder to commemorate this incident of the past, we observe fasting on this day, tie sacred thread around our neck and pray for long life of husbands. We also make two types of adai (sweet & savory) for neivedhyam (offerings).

Young & unmarried girls also observe this fasting & tie sacred thread and pray for ideal husbands.

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 15 mins
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 23-25 adai of each version

To make rice flour
Sona masoori rice - 2 cups

Savory version
Rice flour - 1 cup
Water - 1.5 cups
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Cooked karamani (black eyed peas) - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 3/4 tsp
Broken urid dal - 1 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 6-7 nos (finely chopped)
Green chillies - 1 no (finely chopped)
Dry red chillies - 1 no (finely chopped)
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Coconut oil - 1 tsp

Sweet version
Rice flour - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup (grated / powdered)
Water - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Cooked karamani (black eyed peas) - 2 tbsp

Soak about 4 tbsp of karamani/cowpeas overnight covered in water. Cook the peas in boiling water, until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the peas and set it aside.

To make rice flour
Wash rice (do not soak) and drain the water completely. Now, roast washed & drained rice in a pan until crisp and has slightly changed its color. Let it cool and grind it into a fine powder.


Savory version
Heat oil in a small saucepan. When hot, splutter mustard seeds, roast urid dal until golden brown, fry hing, curry leaves, red chillies, green chillies briefly for few seconds. To this, add 1.5 cups of water and bring it to a rolling boil. Now, add cooked karamani, grated coconut, 1 cup of rice flour, salt, coconut oil and mix well. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Keep it aside to cool.

Sweet version
Bring equal parts of jaggery & water to a rolling boil. To this, add cardamom powder, coconut, rice flour, cooked karamani and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Keep it aside to cool.

How to make adai's
Take abt 1.5 tbsp of sweet/savory mixture, roll it into a smooth ball, press it lightly between your palms, slightly indent on top with your index finger. Repeat this with the rest of the mixture and cook them in batches using a idli cooker for 2-3 mins. Do not pressure cook.

Serve with butter on the side.

Now, nothing can beat this divine combo! Enjoy!!


  • I did not have karamani in hand. So, used whole black urid dal instead. No changes to the cooking procedure though.
  • Incase the sweet/savory cooked mixture is too dry to make adai, sprinkle little water and losen the mixture.