Festival Recipes

Maa Vilakku for Purattasi Saturday | Iyengar Festival Recipe

What is Maa Vilakku?

in Tamil, Maa here means Maavu (Flour, specifically homemade rice flour), Vilakku = lamp.

Today’s post is not so much a recipe, as its a recollection of Maa Vilakku Pooja for Purattasi Saturdays. In Srivaishnava community, during the month of Purattasi (Mid August/Mid September) on a Saturday, a lamp made of rice flour with added jaggery, Cashew, Ghee is lit. Normally, this is done on any one of the odd-numbered Saturdays(1st / 3rd / 5th) of Purattasi Tamil month.

Many of the Tamilians [irrespective of the Sect & sub-sects] offer Maavilakku to the GOD of their choice; Amman, Perumal, Murugan ; in temples or at their homes. In Shaivites custom, they offer this on the 1st Aadi and 1st Thai Vellikizhamai [Kataka/Karkatam and Makara months’ first Friday]. I remember my paati (grandmom) making this on a saturday, and its gooey concoction of aroma filled dish used to arouse our palates to no end.

Of course, I cant imagine to use the same amount of ghee that she used to use (or even the same amount of fresh coconut). So mom n me devised this simple to make, yet ethnic Maa Vilakku dish to light the lamp. Also, the smell of the burnt wick (after the lamp dies out in the flour mix) may not be appetising to all.

A traditional lamp lit for Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) - Lord of the Seven Hills This lamp is made with homemade rice flour and lit at home for the prosperity and Blessings from the Lord.Pin

So we made a small roundel which had the lamp, and offered along with the bigger one (which is considered as a symbol of Malaiyappan (Lord of the hills – Srinivasa Perumal or Balaji).

Like I said earlier, this is not really a recipe, but a note for posterity to preserve some of the family tradition. So, let’s get on how to make this.

Other Festival Recipes you may like on the blog:

Instant Pot Akkaravadisal (Creamy Rice – Jaggery Pudding)

Instant Pot Semiya Payasam (Vermicelli Kheer)

10-min Magaz Til Laddu

20-min Fulkopir Barfi (Cauliflower Barfi)

What you need to make Maa Vilakku:

  • 1 cup Rice flour – 1 cup (Homemade – method below)
  • 3/4 cup Jaggery
  • 1/3 cup Grated coconut
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 1/16 tsp Edible Camphor (pachai karpooram)
  • 3 TBSP Ghee (for binding) – Milk is NOT used for binding here.
A traditional lamp lit for Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) - Lord of the Seven Hills This lamp is made with homemade rice flour and lit at home for the prosperity and Blessings from the Lord.Pin

Method to make Maa Vilakku:

  1. Grate Jaggery finely or pound into very small pieces.
  2. Mix homemade rice flour, jaggery and coconut well for about 8 – 10 minutes till they finely incorporate into each other. You may need to extend this for 5 more minutes depending on how coarse the rice flour is. Do remember to sieve the rice flour before use.
  3. Once the jaggery melts with all the kneading, add the ghee, cardamom powder, nutmeg, edible camphor and mix lightly till you get to make a roundel without adding any water. Make a big roundel for distributing as prashad (naivedyam) and a smaller one to light the lamp in 
  4. Make a dent with your thumb on the smaller roundel and place a ghee soaked wick in the  dent. Add a tsp of ghee and light the lamp and complete the pooja. Once the lamp dies down, distribute the roundels as bits of prasadam.

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Badam Semiya Payasam is a sweet kheer or pudding made with roasted vermicelli, made with Durum Wheat and simmered in a thick flavoured almond rich milk, topped with nuts.Pin
A traditional lamp lit for Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) - Lord of the Seven Hills This lamp is made with homemade rice flour and lit at home for the prosperity and Blessings from the Lord.Pin

Notes to make Homemade made Rice flour:

  1. Wash and soak 3/4 cup raw rice (pacharisi / short grained rice) for 2 hours with 2 cups of water
  2. Drain the water completely.
  3. Spread the wet, soaked rice on a thin cotton towel under the fan / mild evening or morning sun for an hour.
  4. When the rice is still slightly damp (not too much), grind to fine powder.
  5. Sieve and use in the above recipe

Maa Vilakku for Purattasi Sani

A traditional lamp lit for Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) – Lord of the Seven Hills This lamp is made with homemade rice flour and lit at home for the prosperity and Blessings from the Lord.
Course Festival Recipes
Cuisine South Indian
Keyword DIY, Festival Recipes, Rice flour
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 0 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 2 lamps
Author Kalyani

Equipment

  • Spice Blender
  • Sieve
  • Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Rice flour – 1 cup Homemade – method below
  • 3/4 cup Jaggery
  • 1/3 cup Grated coconut
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg grated
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 1/16 tsp Edible Camphor pachai karpooram
  • 3 TBSP Ghee for binding – Milk is NOT used for binding here

Instructions

  • Grate Jaggery finely or pound into very small pieces.
  • Mix homemade rice flour, jaggery and coconut well for about 8 – 10 minutes till they finely incorporate into each other. You may need to extend this for 5 more minutes depending on how coarse the rice flour is. Do remember to sieve the rice flour before use.
  • Once the jaggery melts with all the kneading, add the ghee, cardamom powder, nutmeg, edible camphor and mix lightly till you get to make a roundel without adding any water. Make a big roundel for distributing as prashad (naivedyam) and a smaller one to light the lamp in
  • Make a dent with your thumb on the smaller roundel and place a ghee soaked wick in the  dent. Add a tsp of ghee and light the lamp and complete the pooja. Once the lamp dies down, distribute the roundels as bits of prasadam.

Notes

How to make Homemade made Rice flour:

  1. Wash and soak 3/4 cup raw rice (pacharisi / short grained rice) for 2 hours with 2 cups of water
  2. Drain the water completely.
  3. Spread the wet, soaked rice on a thin cotton towel under the fan / mild evening or morning sun for an hour.
  4. When the rice is still slightly damp (not too much), grind to fine powder.
  5. Sieve and use in the above recipe

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16 Comments

  1. MyKitchen Flavors-BonAppetit!.

    Yumm and really delicious Maavilaku Recipe,so deliciously done click.

  2. Aruna Manikandan

    wonderful post…
    maavilaku looks perfect dear 🙂

  3. Priya Suresh

    I'll wait everytime my mom prepare this maavilaku during purattasi month,just to make sweet adai once we finish our pooja,makes me nostalgic..

  4. Wonderful post Kalyani.. always loved the authentic traditional customes practised in our place.. The clicks are really beautiful..:)
    Reva

  5. Wonderful post Kalyani. Just now finished pooja. It is a custom in my home to make this on 3rd saturday of purattassi month.

  6. This is new to me. Love it. Is this purattasi month after duserra or before in the navratri?

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  7. nice post

  8. KrithisKitchen

    Grandma puts maavilakku fo puratasi saturday… Me only thaligai 🙂
    Krithi's Kitchen
    Event: Serve It – Festival Potluck

  9. Priya dharshini

    just now i had this maa vilaku ,a gulp of it made me truly divine..

  10. Maa Vilakku is truly delicious and this is going help people who are away from home. We do this on 4th week saturday.. Thanks for it.

    Cheers,
    uma

  11. Great post !! perfectly done !!

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  12. Nicely done Kalyani.

    Vardhini
    Event: Halloween Fiesta

  13. @ Archana – this is mostly around Navratri – the dates are based on the hindu calendar.

  14. Sensible Vegetarian

    I love mavilakku mavu but we do it only during Aadi & Thai. Yours look so divine and beautiful.

  15. wow, the pictures are so great !!!

  16. WOW…!! Wonderful post and Super pictures…!!
    South Indian food in Chennai

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