The season of spring in India in the months of March and April is not only marked by pretty flowers blooming and a generous agricultural harvest of fruits, vegetables all over the country, but also with an array of regional festivals. While Holi – the festival of colours is celebrated in a lavish manner in the northern states and Ugadi signifies the beginning of the Telugu/Kannada new year in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Puthandu and Vishu are the Tamil New Year and Malayali New Year festivals in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively.

The term “Puthandu” translates to “New Year” in Tamil and the Tamil New Year festival falls on April 14 this year, denoting the first day of the month of Chithirai as per the Tamil Hindu lunisolar calendar, with lavish festivities being organised in the state of Tamil Nadu. Households are cleaned and decked up with beautiful ornamental decorations, a tray of fruits, flowers, vegetables is arranged and a lamp is lit, to perform a religious puja and offer prayers to the Almighty for health, wealth and good fortune. A sumptuous vegetarian feast is prepared, which is eaten together with family after the holy rituals.

Also Read: Tamil New Year: Know The Importance Of 5 Essential Ingredients
Happy Puthandu/Happy Vishu 2022

Vishu is a grand occasion in the state of Kerala, which is the Malayali New Year that falls on April 15 this year, earmarking the first day of the month of Medam according to the Malayali solar calendar. Various items including fruits, vegetables, silver, money, floral blossoms of Konna poo i.e. laburnum flowers are placed in homes, such that family members gather together and view these healthy and prosperous bounty as the first thing on the auspicious day i.e. Vishu Kani. Devotional hymns are chanted during the puja and people sit down for a hearty home-cooked vegetarian feast with family, post the religious ceremonies.

Of course, sweets are an integral part of Indian festivals, with umpteen delicacies being prepared on Puthandu and Vishu as well. So go ahead, indulge in these tasty and healthy traditional sweet recipes of Kadalai Paruppu Payasam – a smooth porridge made with chana dal, jaggery, coconut milk and Unni Appam/ Nei Appam – fried balls prepared using rice flour, coconut and bananas.

Kadalai Paruppu Payasam
Kadalai Paruppu Payasam


¼ cup kadalai paruppu i.e. chana dal

4 tbsp jaggery powder

½ cup shredded coconut

2 elaichi/cardamom pods, finely ground

5 – 7 cashew nuts

7 – 9 raisins

2 tsp ghee


Roast the chana dal in a vessel on medium flame for just 1 minute, then transfer it to a pressure cooker, add sufficient water and pressure cook for 4 – 5 whistles so as to boil and soften the dal.

Mix the shredded coconut with 1 tbsp hot water, pulse on high in a mixer to obtain a smooth texture and filter to extract the coconut milk.

Once the chana dal is done in the pressure cooker, mash the lentils to obtain an even and slightly thick consistency.

In a pan, heat the chana dal with jaggery powder, let it boil on medium flame for 2 minutes, then put in the elaichi powder.

Turn off the stovetop, pour in the coconut milk and mix well.

Heat ghee in a pan, add the cashews and raisins and fry for about a minute, then add it to the chana dal-coconut milk blend.

Savour the lip-smacking kadalai paruppu payasam on the joyous and grand event of Puthandu with family.


Kadalai paruppu/chana dal is a storehouse of proteins, for strong muscles and optimal growth, development of cells, tissues in the body. Rich in iron, jaggery powder is a natural sweetener that enhances red blood cell synthesis, effectively combats anaemia and alleviates fatigue. Coconut milk contains ample amounts of calcium, magnesium – key minerals for fortified bons and joints. While elaichi abounds in antioxidants that have decongestant properties to resolve respiratory issues and boost lung functions, cashews offer profuse levels of B vitamins for uplifted metabolism and ghee possesses healthy unsaturated fats to preserve heart wellness.

Also Read: Elaichi/Cardamom: Marvellous Health Benefits Of This Aromatic Condiment

Unni Appam/Nei Appam
Unni appam/Nei appam


½ cup coconut, cut into small pieces

1 cup jaggery

1 ½ cups rice flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

2 large ripe bananas

A pinch of salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp ghee

1 cup coconut oil, for frying


Heat ghee in a small pan and roast the coconut pieces then the sesame seeds separately until they turn slightly brown, then set them aside to cool down.

Add water and jaggery lumps to the pan, heat on medium flame, stir well and filter it, so that a smooth jaggery syrup forms.

Slice the ripe bananas and grind them in a blender so that a homogenous paste is formed.

Dry roast the rice flour and whole wheat flour for just 1 minute such that it emanates a fragrant aroma but does not turn brown.

In a large bowl, mix the rice flour, wheat flour, jaggery syrup, banana paste and roasted coconut bits along with 1 cup water and combine well to form a batter.

Let the batter sit at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes, then add the salt, baking soda, elaichi powder, roasted sesame seeds and mix thoroughly.

Fill the circular moulds in an appam/paniyaram pan with equal amounts of coconut oil, put in uniform amounts of batter in each of the moulds and cook in low-medium flame.

Once the sides become golden brown, flip the batter and cook the other side as well so that the mix is completely fried and crisp, then switch off the flame.

Enjoy the mouth-watering unni appam/ nei appam on the delightful occasion of Vishu with family.


Coconut offers dietary fibres for facilitating digestion and smooth bowel movements. Laden with potassium, bananas help to regulate blood pressure and prevent hypertension, heart disease. Rice flour and wheat flour deliver essential macronutrients of carbohydrates, proteins and calories, for instant energy and promoting metabolism, immunity. Wishes All Its Customers A Very Happy Puthandu And Vishu!