Cookery, Kolam Contests to mark Auckland Tamil Association Pongal

Competition and Festival on February 2 and February 9

Venkat Raman

Auckland, February 1, 2019

Cuisine and art will be the attraction for the Tamil-speaking communities as the Auckland Tamil Association celebrates Pongal over two weekends.

Association President Vai Ravindran said that Kolam (Rangoli) and Cookery Contests will be held tomorrow (Saturday, February 2, 2019) at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall, located at 13 May Road, Mt Roskill and ‘Pongal Vizha’ at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 489, Dominion Road, Mt Eden on Saturday, February 9, 2019.

“Winners in the two Contests will receive Gold Earrings as the First Prize, Silver Traditional Lamp as the Second Prize and Saree as the Third Prize on February 9,” he said.

Chandra Shankaran, Joyti Muddam, Malini Balaraman, Malliga Raman, Nirmala Murthy,

Sasikala Indiran and Usha Shyam are the judges for the two contests.

Pongal Games have also been planned as a part of the ‘Contests Day’ on February 2. The events will commence at 9 am and conclude at 3 pm.

Tamil Cuisine benefits

Vice-President Velmurugan said that the Cookery Contest has been designed to promote awareness of the health benefits of traditional Tamil food items.

“Contestants must present the ingredients, recipe and health benefits of the dishes in a printout or handwritten form to the judges. The Cookery Contest will be divided into four categories namely Soups, Snacks (Savouries) Main Dish and Sweets. They should prepare one item under each category,” he said.

Four Categories

The Choice of items under Soups would be Kambu (Millet) Vegetable Soup, Kollu (Horse-gram) Rasam and Keppai Koozh  (Ragi Porridge).

Siruthaniyam (Millets, that are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses) will be the core of the Snacks segment, including Vadai, Thattai and Kaara Kuzhukkattai (Spicy Dumpling).

The Main Dish will pose a challenge to the contestants. They will be required to prepare Kelvaragu Kaali (Ragi cooked in thick paste form) with Keerai Kuzhambu (Spinach in gravy); Kambu Kuzhi Paniyaaram (Pearl Millet Steam Dumplings) with Karuvepillai (Curry Leaves) or Kothamalli Coriander) Thuvaiyal (Chutney); Siruthaniyam (Millets) Pongal.

Sweets are to be cooked with Karupatti or Jaggery.

The items would be Mysore Pagu, Verkadalai Mittai and Athirasam.

Colourful and Artistic Kolam

Kolam in Tamilnadu can be simple or intricate, and acts like a welcome symbol in front of homes. However, the Competition would have Pongal, Jallikattu (a traditional spectacle of Bullfight) and Farming as symbolic themes of the Festival.

“We will provide 300 gms of colour and white power but contestants can bring extra colours or flowers to decorate their Kolam. We will allocate 1.5 m X 1.5 m space per contestant, who can seek the assistance of one person and complete their Kolam within 75 minutes. There will also be games for children in the morning,” Mr Velmurugan said.

Literary Competition

Treasurer Arvind Kumar said that the post-lunch session will feature Tamil Mozhi Thiran Arithal Potti (Knowledge of Tamil Language Contest) for children.

“This will include Tamil Poetry, Tamil storytelling, Thirukkural Opithal (Thirukkural Oration) and other items. This Competition has been designed to promote the richness and beauty of Tamil literature to the younger generation,” he said.

“There will also be Musical Chairs for men, women and children,” he added.

Further information can be obtained from Vai Ravindran on 027-2758266, Velmurugan on 022-4291730 or Arvind Kumar on 0274-791340.

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