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Showing posts from February, 2010

Culinary Makeover 101

I've been going over this point ( almost ad nauseum) about how South Indian cuisine lags so far behing when it comes to plating & have also given some possible reasons as to why this is so. Without belaboring on this much further, let me get to the point. A before and after makeover for that much loved comfort food that most Tam Brahms go crazy for... Idli & Chutney. Mind you, the end result as far as the taste is concerned is identical and would pass muster with the most orthodox in-house senior resident.
 Recipes for Idli and chutneys are available for download by the dozen but here is the basic list of ingredients:
3 measures parboiled rice (or Idli Rice)
1 measure whole Urad dal (both available in ethnic Indian grocery stores)
 Wash & soak the rice & lentils separately for about 5-6 hrs. Grind the rice till the consistency resembles that of pourable concrete!. Do the same for the lentil except that the lentil batter ideally should be that of thick whipped eggs. …
okay, one of my biggest questions regarding Tam Bram cuisine has been that why has it never been presented well.. I mean, take a look at any Indian cook book, recipes from the southern part of India can be literally counted on ones fingers. Yes, Tam Brams and South Indians in general, are a bit short on advertising themselves compared to their northern counterparts, and when they do, they may come across as snobbish & oh so aware of their cerebral aspects.. ( May I suggest reading Chetan Bhagats latest novel '2 states'. You'll get an idea of what I mean), hence any pride about Tam Bram cuisine is relegated to some cliched, 'politically incorrect' comments about how your run of the mill 'dilliwala' tends to order a 'bucket' of Sambhar ( or 'Sambhur' -- rhymes with Ben-Hur) with an order of idlis on the side.

Anyone watch the Food networks Iron Chef.. Its an intense challenging show where 2 well known chefs have to create 5 dishes in an ho…

Homage to the mother goddess!

Any new endeavor is usually undertaken with a prayer on ones lips & this blog is no different, I hence dedicate this posting to the First lady of South Indian cuisine.

The first Lady of South Indian Food with out any shred of doubt in my mind ( & in my humble (not!) opinion, shouldn't be in any one elses) is MEENAKSHI AMMAL! She is & will be forever reigning Goddess of comfort food for all nerdy Southie Geeks that keep Silicon Valley going. I'm not going to go into the details about her in this blog, Instead I'll link the web page for her trademark publication, Samaithu Paar, a kind of veritable bible for most South Indians emigrating from India to the farthest corners of the world.
She was to to traditional Tamil Brahmin (which I may or may not choose to refer to as TamBram in future postings) cuisine what Julia Child was to French cuisine. & yes, she did all this with less than 1% of the opportunities & advantages that Julia was privileged to have!

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about me..

I'm a die hard South Indian Foodie, who believes that appreciating food is akin to appreciating a valuable work of art or music ( except that the sensory tool used is the tongue rather than the eye or ear). I owe a lot to my late father who taught me to appreciate food & not get intimidated into being referred to derogatorily as a 'theetripatteri' ( a scornful term in the Tamil language loosely translated as a 'gourmand').
about the title of my blog: I belong to the Iyer community, a Tamil Brahmin vegetarian sect originally from the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. A housewife on a sabbatical from the 9 to 5 career arena. I admit, I spend a lot of time watching the food network and at the same time an active member of Weight Watchers, keeping track of my caloric points. It has been great creating food (palatable works of art as opposed to Salads & bean curd which passes off as vegetarian food in the minds of a LOT of people). I doubt I will ever reach th…