I am back from India after a long vacation. Blogging took a break too as there was so much to do and my only interaction with the computer was checking the mails, there were times I could not even reply….my apologies to all those who sent emails, queries and recipe requests. I am starting with how a simple long forgotten energetic healthy breakfast is made.
Our farmers and many villagers from Tamil Nadu have this diet in the morning which keeps them healthy, fit and energized for the whole day. It is a lovely sight to see them having a plate of Neeragaram/pazhayadhu/Pazhaya Soru (leftover soaked rice) biting the onion & green chillies as a side. The authentic way is without buttermilk but to enhance the taste buttermilk is added.
It is very good body cooling, energetic, simple, delicious and a healthy breakfast. In a predominantly agricultural society women folk worked at the fields and therefore preparation of breakfast was avoided since they had to start work early to avoid the scorching heat. The excess rice or left over rice is soaked in water overnight and well covered preferably in an earthen pot. The next day morning, the water is drained and rice is well mashed and mixed with buttermilk. Chinna vengayam/shallots and green chillies make a great side.
Neeragaram is now forgotten by this convenient driven world due to many reasons. Since it was not suitable to carry it out they started using natural drinks like tender coconut, toddy, sugar cane juice etc. Coffee was introduced by the British and then came the packaged drinks that do more harm than good which displaced Neeragaram and it is rarely encountered today in Tamil Nadu. This pressed a need for me to post about it today.
Neeragaram is best had during the summer months and you can tell the soothing cool effect it has when had in an empty stomach. Serve Neeragaram with shallots, green chillies, pickle or your favorite fish curry .
- 1 cup left over cooked rice preferably Pulungal arisi (boiled rice)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup butter milk
- salt to taste
- Soak the left over rice in water overnight. The next morning, drain the water (about 3/4th) .
- Add salt and mash the rice well with your palm. Now add buttermilk and serve with shallots, green chillies or fish curry.
TIPS: Do not discard the water that is drained. Add a pinch of salt and drink it.
Cut the shallots finely and add to the Neeragaram if you prefer not to have it as a side. Finely chopped green chillies or ginger can also be added.