Monday, 25 February 2013

Therali Appam - Attukal Pongala

Attukal Pongala 2013 is on 26th of Feb. Don't forget to check the recipe of Therali Appam

Attukal Bhagavathi is a goddess worshiped in my home town Trivandrum. She is the heroine Kannagi of the poem Chilapatikaram, written in Tamil by Elankovadikal.

Read the story of Kannagi in this wikipedia article. After avenging her husband's wrongful death, she travels to Kodugallur, stopping on her way at Attukal. She is considered as the incarnation of Parvathi.

Every year millions of women offer pongala (prayer offering) to attuakal amma (mother). People arrive from all parts of the state and even from other states. They set up hearths with bricks and they make payasam (similar to chakkara pongal) and therali appam.

Around 7km radius of the temple women sit in lines with their hearths. The priest at the temple lights the fire in the temple hearth and the fire is transferred from one hearth to the next.

This year the pongala was celebrated on the 07th of March. Around 3.5 million women offered pongala to attukal amma. The priest lit the temple hearth at around 10:15. At around 2:30, priests from the temple (around 250 odd) sprinkled the holy water on all the preparations and the offering to goddess is complete.

It is the largest women's gathering in the world and has made it to the guinness records. If you are in Trivandrum, please do visit the temple.

I am presenting to you the recipe of Therali Appam that is made as an offering for the Bhagavathi. The recipe is pretty simple. The only hitch is you require the therali leaves for making them. That is why I always miss it cause it cannot be made in UK :-( The leaves add the unique taste to these appams. So try it only with these leaves. I made these therali appams with Shobha chechi.

For the longest time, I did not know that Therali Leaf is nothing but fresh bay leaf.

The leaves are rolled to form cones. Erkil (the stem of coconut leaves) are used as holders. Tooth picks can also be used :-)

The dough (recipe below) is stuffed and steamed.

Another way of making it is to roll the leaves over the dough and string them together along an Erkil


Rice Flour  1 cups
Jaggery little over 1/2 cup
Small banana 1
Ghee 2 tsp
Cardamon 2

Method of Preparation

1. Rice has to be washed and dried. Then powdered into a coarse powder. Then roasted like you do for puttu. You can use store bought coarse rice flour as well.

2. Mix all the above ingredients into a dry mixture. Because of the the wetness from the banana and the jaggery, it will come together. We use a type of banana called Palayam thodan for this. It has a slight tangy taste to it.

3. Fill the cones of therali and steam them. Appam is ready to be served.

Submitting this recipe to Kerala Kitchen hosted by Prathibha


  1. My SIL is from TVM and she had made this when I visited her once...I had clicked the pics but never posted it as yet. I liked it very much

  2. Wow Rosh - Therali appams! Wish I were in Tvm!
    Will try the recipe without the leaves, enthaa cheyka.

    Was missing your blog, Keep posting.

    1. This looks delicious..Totally YUMMY


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  4. very yummy pongal and traditional made

  5. Delicious..Our neighbours used to give us after Pongala back in Kerala,loved it n now miss it !!

  6. Beautiful post Roshni, Therali Appam looks awesome. Thanks for sending it to KK Event
    Happy to follow you and hope to see u around :-)

  7. this looks to your space and loved it totally..glad to follow u dear!! :)

  8. this looks just yummy n tasty dear..colourful pics as always....loved it.....

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  10. Does anyone know the english / botanical name for therali tree?

    1. pmreghu, As far as I know Therali leaf is the same as Bay Leaf (fresh leaf).

  11. Therali is made from leaf of Vayana maram (Cinnamomum malabatrum) but not bay leaf (Cinnamomum tamala). Vayana is a tree growing wild in Kerala, bay grows in northern India.