Irulas Food And Nutrition

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The staple diet of Irulas is rice. They also consume fruits, honey, tubers, vegetables and other cereals such as paddy, maize etc most of which they cultivate. One of their unique tubers is Irular Kizhangu which is consumed exclusively by them. They eat mushrooms during the season. They also consume non-vegetarian food like fish and meat. Their fish comes from ponds close by and when it comes to meat, they prefer mutton and chicken. However, their diet is not restricted to these alone; they eat all kinds of animals depending on availability.
In the mornings, they eat Dosai, Upuma made of coarsely powdered wheat and tubers like Sakaravali (Sweet potato), Alvali (Tapioca) and Panagkilangu. In the evenings they eat traditional South Indian snacks like Pori and Aval. Roasted Groundnuts are one of their favorite snacks. During their festivals like Shankranthi, they prepare traditional South Indian delicacies like Kesari, Sweet Pongal, Boli and so on.


Pulianthope Irulas drink water from this stream
Children suffer from malnutrition during the lean seasons when the Irulas cannot afford to procure food. They give Dal, Rice and Ragi as weaning foods to their children and do not give water to babies until they reach the sixth month.
Ragi that is given to babies below seven months is first soaked and then dried. It is then mixed in a little milk and fed to them.

A favorite snack of Irulas – Fried peanuts

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