Manga Oorga to Paruppu Payasam: 8 Dishes For Your Puthandu Feast
Image Credit: Parappu vadai is a great snack | Instagram - @namaste_matsumoto

Puthandu, also known as the Tamil New Year, is a vibrant and significant celebration that marks the beginning of the traditional Tamil calendar. Celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, and other parts of the world where Tamil communities exist, Puthandu is a time of reflection, renewal, and festivities. The festival falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Chithirai, which usually falls in mid-April. It is a time when people come together with their families and loved ones to exchange greetings, share meals, and offer prayers to their deities.

One of the most exciting aspects of Puthandu celebrations is the traditional feast that accompanies it. The feast typically features an array of delicious vegetarian dishes that are not only delicious but also symbolic of the abundance and prosperity that the new year promises. Often served on a plantain leaf, the meal comprises everything from sweets and savoury snacks to elaborate rice-based dishes and seasonal vegetables. The Puthandu menu offers something for everyone. Let us take a closer look and explore the various dishes that make it a feast to remember. Whether you are a seasoned fan of Tamil cuisine or are looking to discover new flavours and textures, this list, with dishes made of seasonal produce, typically enjoyed during Puthandu, has got you covered.

Murungakai Sambhar

Recipe credits - Indian Recipes Tamil

This is a popular dish that combines the goodness of drumstick pods with a lentil-based broth. To make this dish, the drumstick pods are cooked with onions, tomatoes, tamarind, and spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, until tender. Meanwhile, lentils are cooked separately and then added to the drumstick mixture along with water and salt to create the sambhar. The result is a hearty and nutritious dish that is typically served with rice or as a side dish to other staples like idli or dosa. Murungakai sambhar is not only delicious, but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making it a favorite among many households.

Vellai Poosanikai Kootu

It is a traditional dish that is made by cooking vellai poosanikai (ash gourd) with lentils, coconut, and spices. First, the vellai poosanikai is peeled, seeded, and cubed, and then boiled until tender. Separately, toor dal is cooked and mashed before being added to the vellai poosanikai along with a mixture of grated coconut, green chilies, cumin, and turmeric. The dish is then seasoned with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dried red chilies. Vellai poosanikai kootu is typically served with steamed rice and is a delicious and healthy way to incorporate vegetables and lentils into your diet.

Manga Oorga

A beloved Tamil pickle made with raw mangoes, chilli powder, and mustard seeds, this tangy and spicy condiment is a perfect addition to rice, idli, or dosa and adds a burst of flavour to any meal. The process of making manga oorga involves slicing the raw mangoes, mixing them with spices and salt, and allowing them to ferment for a few days to achieve the perfect texture and flavour. With its tantalising blend of flavours from spices like mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt, manga oorga is sure to leave you wanting more.

Paruppu Vadai

This is a crispy and savory snack that is made by grinding chana dal, onions, and spices like cumin and coriander seeds into a coarse paste and then shaping it into flat patties before deep-frying. The vadai is served hot and pairs well with other traditional dishes like sambar, rasam, and kootu. Parappu vadai is not only delicious but also nutritious, as it is high in protein and fiber. It is a must-have item in any Puthandu meal and is the first delicacy to disappear off the tables!

Vazhakkai Poriyal

A delicious side dish made with raw bananas (vazhakkai), coconut, and spices. The bananas are peeled, sliced, and then boiled before being sautéed with a mixture of grated coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric. The dish is then seasoned with salt and garnished with coriander leaves. Vazhakkai poriyal is a delicious and healthy way to incorporate plantains or raw bananas into your diet, which is again a seasonal ingredient. It pairs well with steamed rice, sambar, and rasam. The dish is also nutritious, as plantains are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Raw Mango Rice

Picture credit | Instagram - @foodloveisforever


A delightful recipe made with everyone’s favourite early summer ingredient – raw mangoes. To make this dish, raw mangoes are grated and cooked with a mixture of mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, and turmeric. Cooked rice is then added to the mixture and mixed well to create a tangy and flavourful rice dish. Raw mango rice is a delicious and refreshing meal that is perfect for the summer months. It can be served as a main course or as a side dish, but it will surely be the main attraction on your lunch table!

Vepampoo Rasam

This rasam is made with neem flowers and tamarid. The neem flowers, which have a bitter and slightly pungent taste, are known for their medicinal properties and are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments. To make vepampoo rasam, the neem flowers are sautéed in ghee along with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, before being added to a tamarind broth. The rasam is then simmered until the flavors have melded together, and it is typically served with hot steamed rice. Vepampoo rasam is a great way to add the goodness of neem leaves to your grand feat.

Paruppu Payasam

This classic dessert is made with moong dal, jaggery, coconut milk, and cardamom. The moong dal is slow-cooked until it is soft and tender, and then mixed with jaggery syrup, coconut milk, and cardamom powder, creating a creamy and delicious dessert that is perfect for special occasions. Paruppu payasam is typically served hot or cold and can be garnished with nuts or raisins for added flavour and texture.