Digs at South Indian eating habits have long since stopped being funny and many a Tamilian is known to have taken umbrage at being referred to as a rice-sambhar specimen.
Rice, of course is the staple food of the south Indian, its presence is felt in some form or the other in every meal. In south India, after the rice is cooked the water or conjee is drained. Packed with nourishment, the working class downs it with a pinch of salt-a real filler to stave off those premature hunger pangs. Warmed and poured over the legs, rice conjee is supposed to alleviate pain in the legs. Steamed and mixed with sugar and a little ghee, it makes rice puttu for tiffin. A small amount added to gram flour paste, it helps make crisp bajjis or pakoras. Ground rice flour paste can be utilized to create varieties of dosas and of course with the fright proportions of ground lentils, it lends itself to the making of the standard idli and dosas after fermentation. Rice is used also forpayasam, a thick sweet soup specially concocted during festivals.
During festivals and marriage feasts look forward to eating on banana leaves. Hot food served on the leaves had a special flavour of its own. The sweet is served first on the leaf for all festive occasions, as you are expected to sweeten your tongue before you proceed with the rest of the meal. There is, of course a glob of the ubiquitous pickle. After the preliminaries, the main course of rice either a pre-mixed rice, or rice with gravy, rice with rasam and a large helping of curds. No meal is ever complete in a south India home without curd-rice and pickle.
it is a fallacy that most south Indians are born vegetarians. The Chettinad food today is increasingly popular and bears a striking similarity to Mudaliar food. Their non-vegetarian food is non-greasy lightly spiced and a gourmet’s delight. Pepper chops, chicken curry, keema vadas, meatball curries are some of the exotic fare of the Tamils. In the old days, ragi was popular and...