Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Thought For Food Series 1: Idli
Breakfasts in South India are a yummy affair. You can choose from a variety of offerings, which are delicious and healthy at the same time. Idly is one of them, a popular breakfast snack not only in south India but all across India, it is one of my favorite breakfasts. For the uninitiated, it is a savory cake two to three inches in diameter made from fermented batter of rice and lentils. The batter after being fermented is put into specially molded trays that are in turn placed inside a pressure cooker. The batter gets cooked by the steam and out come the steaming hot idlis, supple but shapely.
Traditional South Indian meals are served on banana leaves which is a pragmatic and charming practice; there is a certain subtle taste that the banana leaves lend to the meal. Idly usually is served with accompaniments like chutney and sambar. Chutney is a blend of various spices and condiments where as sambar (not seen in the picture) is a vegetable stew with a hint of tamarind.
Now comes the best part, savoring the delicacy. Here it is the case of to each his own. I have seen people eat idly in a lot of different ways. Some like it mishmashed with the sambar and chutney the idly lost and assimilated in the hodgepodge best eaten with bare hands. Some prefer forks and spoons making little pieces of idly and dipping it in sambar and chutney in turns. I like to eat idli with my hands, dipping the idli in the sambar and letting it soak the essence, and then brushing it past the spicy chutney; it tastes yummylicious.
Happy Eating Folks!
P.S. – Now that I am roaming around a lot I get to try a lot of authentic traditional food, so will be posting about more dishes with yummy pictures. This particular picture was taken in Parambikulam before a trek. The plate is not mine, but my friend Nishka's. I had ordered dosas, which were delicious too! More about dosas some other time though.