Commonly Used Spices in English and Tamil

When I started cooking, I always got the names of the spices mixed up between Tamil and English. They can all be very confusing! Here’s a small spread of spices to help you when you grocery shop. #eelamflavour#tamil #tamilspices #spices #trivia #foodblogger #foodie#mommyblogger

Vegetarian Meal Idea

Main Dishes | October 12, 2017 | By

Happy Friday! Here’s a veggie lunch meal: rice, curry, eggplant curry, lentil curry, snake beans curry and curried pineapple.

Baby Food Ideas

Breakfast, Main Dishes | October 12, 2017 | By

Here are some pureed baby food ideas. What are some other ones you’ve made that you recommend? 

Herbal Hair Oil

Herbal hair oil made by my mother in law #eelamflavour #tamil #tamilrecipes #homemade#hairfall #herbalremedies #herbal #healthy #hair#homeremedies

Sandalwood Face Mask

Herbal face masks have been widely used in Tamil culture to treat a variety of skin issues. This is a common one, made of rose water, sandalwood powder, turmeric and chickpea flour. This one helps with inflammation, acne and clearing up the skin. #eelamflavour #homeremedies #diymask#homemade #remedies #skincareroutine#skincare #herbalife #herbalremedies #rose#facials #facialmasks

Benefits of Eating Nellikai

Nellikai, also known as Indian Gooseberry or Amla has so many benefits. It’s an acquired taste, but one worth getting use to! #eelamflavour #homeremedies#superfruit #healthyfood #healthyeating#tamil #gogreen #foodblogger


Sencholai Illam Massacre

There are sadly so many tragedies Tamils in Eelam have faced by the Sri-Lankan Government. However, some of them, like the Sencholai Massacre are very painful to remember. 

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the Sencholai Illam Massacre. On August 14, 2006 the Sri-Lankan Air Force jets bombed Sencholai Illam, a children’s home for orphaned girls. 53 Tamil schools girls and three staff members were killed. Many others – 150, were injured. These were all young girls who deserved so much more, and whose lives were cut short by a senseless act.

This attack was carried out despite the orphanage having been designated s a humanitarian zone. The GPS coordinates of the orphanage were given to the Sri Lankan military via the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and was protected as a “No Fire Zone.” 

You can read more about it on Tamilguardian


Jaffna Kool (Jaffna Seafood Soup)

I feel like long weekends and summer parties are meant for Jaffna Kool. Jaffna Kool use to be one of my favourite things to eat. Unfortunately, during my pregnancy last year, I developed an aversion to it and couldn’t eat it. I found that even after I gave birth, the smell made me nauseous. I however, have such fond family memories of eating it before then, that I wanted to love it again.  I’m happy to say that I tried and made a version that I can enjoy now. I realized what bothered me most about it was the smell of fish bones, and while my mom insists this is what adds the favour to it, I used just the fillets, which didn’t give it the fishy smell. I’m not sure if this is as authentic as using whole fish, but its my preferance and it works for me! I hope you enjoy it. 

Jaffna Kool (Jaffna Seafood Soup)
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For the Kool itself
  1. 200 grams 
Odiyal Maa (palmyra flour) and 2 cups cold water
  2. 5 + cups
  3. ¼ cup 
sambar rice
  4. Handful - Jackfruit seeds
  5. 2 cups worth Murungai Illai (Drumstick leaves)
  6. 1 cup Snake beans
  7. Salt
  8. Pepper
  9. Turmeric
  10. A lime sized tamarind piece
  11. The seafood you add is subjective to you, in this specific recipe I added a box of crabs, 12 gigantic grilling shrimp, 15-20 regular sized shrimps and 7 basa fillets. You can add whole light fish, which is what is authentically used.
For grinding
  1. 10-15 red dried chillies
  2. salt
  3. Half to 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  4. 1 tablespoon cumin
  5. 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  6. Tip: Grind everything except the garlic first, so it becomes a fine powder, then grind the garlic with it. Then you have a paste you can use. You can add some water to help it grind if you need to.
  1. Before you start cooking, it's best to have some prep done.
  2. Odiyal maa. This is the key to the recipe, it adds thickness to the soup. Odiyal maa has alot of threads in it from the packets, be sure to sift out these threads before using it. Once you have sifted it out, and have only powder remaining, add 2-3 cups of water to help it dissolve. Set aside for at least an hour before using. Do this first and then your other prep so that the timing will be enough.
  3. Take a tamarind piece from the solid tamarind blocks, a lime sized amount, and make a paste of it using 1 cup of water. Let it sit. You will later add this to the odiyal man mix, so let it sit out for now. I assume you can use less if you are using the paste, but I have never tried it with such.
  4. Prep your vegetables - cut the snake beans into 3-4 cm pieces, wash the jackfruit seeds and wash the murungai illai leaves. You can also add maravalli kilangu to this (cassava chunks) as it helps cut the spice. I didn't have any on hand, that's why I didn't use any.
  5. Prep your seafood - wash and clean the seafood and set it aside.
Now to make the soup
  1. In a large pot, add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add salt to taste (I added 2 tablespoons) and a tablespoon of turmeric.
  3. Add the jackfruit seeds, rice, and snake beans. You want to add whatever takes longest to cook first.
  4. Check to see if the rice has cooked, once the rice is cooked, add the seafood, minus the fish. Fish cooks very quickly, so you want to add it last so that it retains its structure. If you add it too soon, it will fall apart and you won't see it in your soup.
  5. Add the fish.
  6. Add the chili paste and half the tamarind paste to the odiyal maa bowl which has been sitting out for at least an hour. Ensure it all fuses together. Pour this mixture into your pot.
  7. Simmer, adjust for salt and pepper. Add the remaining tamarind paste if needed (I usually do, but some people may want less).
  8. Add murungai illai leaves and remove from heat.
  9. Serve hot.
  1. You need a large wide and tall pot for this, a soup pot works best.
  2. Odiyal maa has alot of threads in it from the packets, be sure to sift out these threads before using it.
  3. Grind the paste ingredients everything except the garlic first, so it becomes a fine powder, then grind the garlic with it. Then you have a paste you can use. You can add some water to help it grind if you need to.
  4. Eating this can get extra messy, so its a good idea to have lots of newspapers and napkins around to help.
Eelam Flavour - Tamil Recipes

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy (Tamil Beliefs)


There’s this little girl, she wrapped her little fingers around mine, and my world has forever changed. Earlier this year, I gave birth to the most precious baby girl. Pregnancy and motherhood has been one of the best, yet most challenging times of my life. 

During my pregnancy, I was fortunate enough to have the help of so many wise elders who shared their wisdom with me. In an effort to dig a little deeper, I looked into some of the common beliefs shared with pregnant Tamil women in terms of foods to avoid. I hope you find this information as intriguing as I did. 

Photo Credits: Radival_Oliveira

Papaya: This is the number one food I was told to avoid during my pregnancy. Papaya is thought to be a fruit with a ‘hot’ property, and believed to possibly cause abortion. Looking into some research, I found that the avoidance of papaya could be two-fold. One, papaya in Tamil, papali, is made up of two words – pappa (meaning little child) and ali (meaning to destroy). Literally meaning to destroy a child, and thus avoided. It was also believed that consuming this fruit caused the onset of an overdue menstrual period, therefore linked to early miscarriage. Also, papain, the digestive enzyme in papaya has been used to soften and tenderize meat in some parts of the world, and the belief is that if it can be used to soften meat, it may soften the fetus and cause a miscarriage. 

Pineapple: This was also a fruit that I was told to avoid. Pineapple is a fruit with a ‘hot’ property, and thus recommended as one to avoid. Furthermore, I was told eating lots of pineapple could cause bleeding. However, you would have to eat many whole pineapples for this to actually happen. 

Sesame seeds: While this is also a food with a ‘hot’ property, it is also believed that sesame seeds embody fertility and can stimulate the ovaries unnecessarily. 

Eggs: Eggs are thought to cause the baby to grow too much, making labour difficult and also believe to cause rashes for the baby. Before pregnancy I really enjoyed eating soft-boiled eggs, and as my family doctor also recommended only eating hard-boiled eggs, I found avoiding eggs a little harder to give up. Oddly, after avoiding it in pregnancy, I do not like eggs as much as I did before pregnancy. 

Sweet potato: This was another one that I was told to avoid during pregnancy because it causes ‘vayvu’ or gas. The belief is that foods that cause gas cause restriction of the movement of the fetus. 

Others: Other things to avoid in general were very spicy foods as they could cause indigestion and heart burn, day-old food as it could have bacteria if not stored properly and other hot inducing foods which were believed to have hot properties, thereby causing uterine contractions (garlic, onion, tea, etc.). Mutton was also limited during pregnancy. 

Recommended foods: Foods that I was encouraged during pregnancy to eat were spinach, venthiyam (fenugreek seeds),  nethili karuvadu (dry fish) for the iron content, kungumapoo (saffron milk), fresh fruits, rasam, and many others that I can’t remember now. In general, it is encouraged that woman eat what they like also, as being happy during pregnancy is important to the health of the mother and baby. My husband was amazing during my pregnancy in this regard, and traveled far and late at night during those really intense craving times!

What are some things you’ve heard to avoid in pregnancy? 

Thanks everyone for all your kind words, support and patience with my blog. I hope to soon get more into a routine and start blogging more frequently. For everyone who has requested recipes for some of the photos I’ve posted, I will surely get to them slowly. Some days all I can manage is to take a snap of my food.


No Bake Energy Bites

Some mornings, you need something to just grab and go. I made these last night and left them in the fridge because I knew I probably wouldn’t get time in the morning. These are made with oatmeal, toasted coconut, chocolate chips, peanut butter, honey, flax seeds and almonds. #energybites #snacks #foodphotography #foodblogger #foodie #sweets #breakfast #instagood #instafood

Here’s the recipe:

No Bake Energy Bites
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  1. Oatmeal, 1 cup of raw steel cut oats (don't use flavoured oats)
  2. Toasted coconut, half a cup (preferably unsweetened)
  3. Chocolate chips, half a cup
  4. Peanut butter, 2/3 a cup
  5. Honey, half-2/3 a cup
  6. Flax seeds, ground to a powder, quarter cup
  7. Almonds, crushed finely or powdered, quarter cup (I used powdered)
  8. Vanilla extract - 3 tablespoons
  1. Mix all the above and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. The consistency should be that it mixes well and can hold, if needed, you can add more peanut butter to help the hold.
  3. Make little round balls with the mix.
  4. Sprinkle some more toasted coconut flakes on them.
  5. Put it in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes before serving. (After you can just keep it in the ridge and take them out when you're ready to eat them).
Eelam Flavour - Tamil Recipes