Some of these dishes are steeped in history while many of these special dishes are part of popular culture (like the Tirupathi ladoo from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh). The recipe for success is usually the same. It hasn't changed over a long period of time - high quality ingredients and large scale cooking with wood fires. But the X-factor is probably the devotion and dedication of cooks at the Madapallis, the temple kitchens. We pick eight temples in Tamil Nadu that are not just popular with devotees but also for their divine food:
1. The Sakkarai (Sweet) Pongal at the Parathasarathy Temple: This 8th Century Pallava-era temple located in Triplicane in the heart of Chennai is one of the city’s most visited temples. The temple’s time-tested recipe for its rich Sweet Pongal includes 700 grams of ghee and 400 grams of cashew nuts for every 2 kilograms of rice.
2. The Pongal at the Nanganallur Anjaneya Temple: This relatively new temple in Chennai is home to one of the tallest Hanuman statues (32 feet). A morning darshan of the temple’s iconic Hanuman statue is usually rewarded with a cup of piping hot Pongal that is given to all visitors. The Pongal is not greasy and gets its subtle flavours from the peppercorns and jeera.
5. The Panchamirtham at Pazhani Temple: This temple is among the Aaru Padai Veedu (Six holy abodes of Murugan) and is world famous for its Panchamirtham, one of the oldest preserves or fruit mixes. Bananas, ghee, seedless dates, cardamom and sugar candy come together in this preserve which tastes better with time and doesn't require refrigeration.
8. The Curd Rice at the Jagannatha Perumal Temple, Thirumizhsai: Curd rice is commonly referred to Thair Satham or Dodyonam and this is an integral part of the Neivethiyam (food offering) to deities in many temples in Tamil Nadu. A combination or curd, rice and spices (used for tempering) are used to ensure the rice doesn't turn sour even after a few hours. This temple, just off the Chennai-Bengaluru highway, serves delicious curd rice.
About the Author:Ashwin Rajagopalan is a Chennai-based writer who writes on topics related to food, gadgets, trends and travel experiences. He enjoys communicating across cultures and borders in his weekday work avatar as a content and editorial consultant for a global major and one of India's only cross cultural trainers.Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.