Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thayir Sadam

Note: this post is dedicated to my brother in the dire hope that he is graced with the ability appriciate finer things in life (meaning, he unfortunatly does not like Thayir Sadam, although he lives in Tamil Nadu)

On a hot evening, after a long day’s work, I get back home. First thing I do is scout my refrigerator for ‘something to eat’. And today, there’s nothing but a packet of curd, probably gone sour, some curry leaves on the verge of fossilising and a half cut pomegranate looking more like tiny blood shot eyeballs.Its hot and I’ve had a long day. And I need dinner.

Its one of those unfortunate days when KK’s (my room mate and a brilliant cook) gone outstation, and I haven't eaten while out on an assignment (that's how I manage dinner). Back to reality. I need ‘something to eat’. My first impulse is to walk down to ‘Raghavendra Upahar’, and pack an Idly vada, which costs 20 bucks. But the very idea of facing that mind-numbing traffic, which took me an hour to get out of today is alarming. My second impulse, ‘order a pizza’, then I remember, how much I’ve been eating out lately resulting in a bowel activities incurable by a dozen Triphala tablets.

I take another peek into the fridge, hoping that out of a miracle, my Mom’s Sambar-Sadam and Thayir-Sadam (Sambar rice, curd rice) would materialise. Tough luck! I guess its a sign that I need to fast. My mind, body and senses protest violently. And I resign to my fate. I need to cook something. What! I mean what if get food poisoning, what if I set the house on fire, ....I don't cook, I taste people’s cooking and write what went wrong with it.

I take another peek into my fridge, and empty out the contents, and am hit with a sudden epiphany. Thayir Sadam....there’s curd, I have finally mastered the art of making rice in a cooker without it exploding, and there are these pomegranate seeds. The ingredients are perfect. So the next fifteen minutes I busy myself. The rice is cooked. The tadka is ready, so is the garnish. I mix it all with rice and add the curd finally. And Viola! I am struck by an overwhelming aroma of Thayir Sadam, bringing back all the nostalgic memories of a dish that is more of a Tamil legacy. I don't remember a time when it wasn't a part of my meal. My grand mom would use the leftover rice, and add curd, making a quick snack before the next meal. I grew up in mostly in northern parts of the country, where the concept of curd rice was non-existent, I clung to this part of my Tamil identity. Thayir Sadam with Urga (pickle) or Vathaikozambu beats the world’s most exotic and gastronomic delicacies.

I take another peek into the fridge...and this time its really a miracle. In a beautiful glass dish is the sacred ‘Thayir Sadam’. As I remove it out with utmost care, the soundtrack of ‘Chariots of fire’ plays in my mind. And I know that today will go down the history as the first time I made ‘Thayir-Sadam’. I am so super impressed, maybe I could open a Thyir Sadam exclusive restaurant. We could have flavours of Thayir Sadam, pineapple, strawberry, grapes. Abhishek and Ash would visit the restaurant, and my interview would be flashed on TV as breaking news .....whoa wait!

Right now this moment is what counts. Me, My Thayir Sadam and nothing else.

Thayir Sadam Recipe


Fresh curd


Green chilies

Coriander leaves Salt

Ingredients for seasoning

Mustard seeds Curry leaves
seeded pomegranate/ grapes

Method of Preparing Thayir Sadam
Rice is sieved, washed and boiled. Later it is cooled and mashed. In the mashed rice, milk is added and kept aside. A cooking pan is taken and white oil is heated in it. Then mustard seeds are crackled in it with curry leaves. It is tossed in oil until light golden in color. Then chopped green chilies are added. Then mix rice with curd along with asafetida and add salt to taste. Finally mix the seeded pomegranate/ grapes and garnish with coriander leaves.