Diary of Hobbitt

Monday, January 28, 2008

Idli - Disaster to Delight !

At the cost of being labelled a pompous ass I would nevertheless like to say that the idlis I make have often been appreciated not only by my North Indian friends but also by my South Indian friends (by no standards a mean achievement !).

The road to achieving soft, white and fluffy idlis has been a lonely one. During my cuisine, journey over the years , I have encountered taunts and contemptuous remarks - but never one to give up (especially when my culinary skills are questioned ) I trudged on tirelessly ,thanks to the support of my better half who (poor guy) sportingly ate whatever I dished out in the name of food! In those years when I was a young newly married bride ,trying to adjust to my new surroundings in a strange city (the same Mumbai that has been my home these 20 something years !) , living with my husband who till some months back (then ) I had not even met, I was perpetually miserable being "maternal homesick" (for which I was often gently reminded that Mumbai was my home and not Delhi anymore -so, how could I possibly be home sick ? ). My cooking skills were virtually nil! Having only theoretical knowledge , I perfected my skill over the years with the help of cookery books ,and experiences of "trial and error " method !

Once during the early years when I was still a novice in the art of cooking , my husband came up with the idea of putting the weight on the cooker when the steam came out , so that the idlis would get cooked faster . "You need not keep waiting near the cooker after all " he added. I was full of admiration for this wonderful idea and of course for my brilliant husband ! Alas words spoken too soon - on opening the cooker the sight that met my eyes -the sight was one of concentrated glue poured into the idli moulds ! "Never mind, ' if we can't eat it . It'll come in handy when we need gum to seal the envelopes !" quipped my better half ! Yet another time , being in a hurry one day to go out, I simply stirred the batter and left it to ferment without adding salt . Next morning the idlis turned out not only tastless but also stone hard ! I tried to salvage the situation by making idli upma, but neither my daughter nor my husband nor me could eat it. With good intentions of feeding a stray dog I gave the upma to the dog which sniffed at it , ignored it, and gave me a disdainfdul stare ! Once I was subjected to acid dripping comments by my mother-in-law for not mixing the batter in the way it was supposed to be mixed.

The idli journey has been a valuable one for me - some lessons-1) husband is not always right ! 2) never think that stray dogs will eat anything you give. 3)daughter-in-law's miserable culinary skills will give the upper hand to some mothers-in-law who will go on and on about their daughters' fine culinary skills ( conveniently forgetting "saas be kabhi bahu thi !" 4) most husbands will put up with the deplorable culinary skills of their wives during the first year of married life . Last but not least, I have learnt the proper way to make the perfect idli !

Today's South Indian youngsters of course would have continental breakfast of toast, omlette and cereal rather than idli-chutney. They in fact hate it . A niece of mine is of the opinion that since idlis are much ado about nothing affair its better to swallow the batter and be done with, than undergo the torture of eating it (according to her whether steamed or raw idlis taste the same.)! My jigar ka tukda (or tukdi ?) of course goes a step further and says "The guy who invented idlis should have been shot " !


At 12:03 PM , Blogger Asha said...

HeHe!! My tukdi says the same about Idlis!! She doesn't like the fermented smell!
Great posts H, will read the others too. Enjoy the weekend!:))

At 10:20 PM , Blogger Srivalli said...

what an observation..are you a south indian ???..bcos much depends on that...:D..its fun to read your post!


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