My younger one was born in Chennai and proudly calls himself a Tamilian( he is definitely one by deed especially in his palate preferences). It was really convenient for me to make him Idli/dosa in Chennai. Just buy the "Mao"( no Chinese connection here, refers to the Dosa batter) and you are good to go. Now I am sure most of you( and my Mom included) would say that making the batter is no rocket science. Soak uradh dhaal and boiled rice separately, grind them separately and mix them together. After getting used to Thaiyar Mao this seems like too much effort. Also a few half hearted attempts have met with little success( the idli turns out to be hard and the dosa tends to stick to the tawa). I know I should be ashamed of myself as I come from a family where Idli/Sambhar was staple breakfast diet twice a week. Ground at home on a grinding stone my Dad had lugged all the way from Kakinada. In fact our household help had to get specially trained by our sweet Tamilian neighbour in the process of grinding(Thank God for small towns and their community living).
So South Indian breakfast it is for my kids every once in a while(probably our only eating out occasions). For the younger one it is possibly the best treat you can give him. His face lights up at the very mention of Sagar Ratna, the best South Indian joint this side of the toll gate.
This Sunday, the weather was lovely as we drove to Sagar Ratna. An empty restaurant greeted us as always. We had our usual discussion/argument about the popularity of South Indian cuisine among the people of Gurgaon, the number of South Indians in Gurgaon to help explain the poor turnout. I of course stuck to my logic of how any self respecting South Indian would not come to a restaurant to eat Idli/dosa, they would always make it at home. As I was vehemently arguing a South Indian family entered(let me be specific, a Tamilian family entered) and sat on the next table. My husband smirked and said : I rest my case.
We started with our usual Idli Wada rounds. The Idlis were soft, fluffy and nice. Wadas are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way we like it. They are served with Sambhar and three kinds of chutney: an onion chutney, a coconut chutney and a green corriander and coconut chutney. I would recommend the onion chutney. On days that we feel a little more self indulgent we also ask them to get us ghee and malgapodi. The first time we asked for malgapodi the waiters drew a blank. I strated describing it and finally they got it. Oh! you mean gunpowder. Some fiery gunpowder mixed with warm melted ghee tastes yumm! Dip those soft idlis into it and you are sure to attain nirvana.
After the Idli wada we move on to the dosas. Paper masala dosa for me, Regular masala dosa for my husband, Plain dosa for younger son and Ghee roast dosa for the older one. The dosa arrives with more varieties of chutney and bowls of Sambhar. Dosa is crisp and there is sound of silence around the table as we all tuck in greedily. My husband finishes the meal with Filter Kapi(Coffee). I wait to get home to have my Darjeeling.
We head back satiated. What a perfect beginning to the day.
Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!
P.S: This post is for you Papa, who loved his Idlis more than anybody else I know.