Eelam Flavour is filled with my cooking adventures of dishes inspired by the flavours of Tamileelam. I have not always been a cook, I only started to cook after I got married last year and continue to learn everyday.
I became fascinated by the taste, science and chemistry of Tamil cooking and soon realized I enjoyed cooking very much (much to the delight of my husband). This blog was created to share and to show that everyone can learn how to cook and enjoy food inspired by the flavours of Tamileelam. I also hope to share with you the health benefits and history of some of the ingredients commonly used.
Tamil cooking has been praised all around the world, and Tamil cooking influences can be seen in other cuisines, and in the English language. For example, the English word Curry, is derived from the Tamil word, Kari. Others include, Maangai has become Mango, Kanji became Conjee, Ingiver(Inchi- ver (root) become Ginger, and Milagu Thaneer (pepper water) became Mulligatawny (a now famous soup).
Now, in an attempt to salvage some of the wisdom from Tamil cooking, and understand the antics involved, I did some scavenging and asking of older relatives. Like, for instance serving food on vaalai ilia (banana leaf) not only enhanced the food flavours, but the leaves were served to cows afterwards so it would not go to waste.
Sangam literature also points out that early eating habits of Tamils, our diets included rice, vegetables and meats. Milk, butter and honey were also common requirements. A lot of dietary habits were based on location; for agrarian societies, small animals and vegetables were common, whereas coastal inhabitants relied heavily on seafood. Fasting was also very common practice as a way of cleansing and paying deity respects. Karuvembu was commonly used in all cooking to add flavor and aroma.
This once common information has been recorded and preserved through epigraphs chiseled in walls of our ancient temples. In these epigraphs, we’ve learned that our ancient cooking specifies the size of kitchen to be used, the size of the stoves to be used, the direction the stove should face, and highly recommends that the cook should not be angry or hold a grudge with someone while cooking. Cleanliness habits have also been talked about (ie. tying up long hair). Our ancestors treated cooking as an art form, one that required much care, love, passion, respect and mastery. I hope to share some of what I learn through this blog.
Please note that all my dishes will not be authentic Tamileelam cooking. Since I grew up in Canada most my life, there will be some Western influences in my cooking.
I’d love to hear your own cooking tips!
Thanks for visiting and I hope you have a delicious experience.