What is life without kichadi and idli sambar, sang my friend as we breezed into Hotel Saravana Bhavan in crowded Usman Road, T Nagar, the other day for sipping just the magical brew - coffee. My friend, a foodie, picked up the mini tiffin which ensnared her as the attendant was serving a person in the adjacent table. She quickly ordered for two plates despite my protests as I am dead against kichadi which is one among the many items served in mini tiffin.
We waited for some time and glanced at the delicacies served there.
What a platter pleasure one would derive by eating all this, commented my friend.
The mini tiffin arrived in a square plate with a number of items scattered orderly on the plate.
A veggie diet with abundant calories needs to be burnt, I mused, as I sat gulping the hot rava kesari which was dripping with ghee, and bonda with chutney and sambar. It tasted out of the world and I was reminded of the sojji and bhajji served during the ‘penn parkkum padalams’ at home. The poor grooms and girl will not relish the heavenly dishes as they will be engrossed in looking at each other and nervously glancing at their relatives. But now such a ceremony is passé.
On to my next item – the mini idli was swimming in the delicious sambar with white circles reiterating the fact that they are idlis. It was steaming hot and I burnt my tongue. I would pay any amount for this dish, commented my friend as she made the attendant run up and down to serve sambar for her. I really pitied him.
The baby uthappam with milagai podi smeared on it looked like the moon with red dots on it.
Pudhina chutney and onion chutney were awesome and this hotel is famous for chutneys, remarked the chef.
With authentic Indian stuff around, noodles was like a fly in the ointment.
We fought hand to mouth and tried to push it inside our mouths. Some times I had to bend my face to the plate to the amusement of others to take it in the spoon. I refused to take chopsticks. I simply ate with my hand, the God given treasure. It tasted bland and compensated for the chillie-hot podi dosai.
Kichadi, not always my favourite, smiled at me in yellow. I some how decided to eat as it was garnished with cashews. It tasted very good, contrary to my expectations. We signalled the attendant to serve filter coffee with a liberal dose of sugar. I want it to taste like panagam - jaggery water - not bitter like bittergourd. This coffee acts as a digestive drink, declared my friend who asked for another cup, surprising the attendant. The poor fellow must have ruminated about our tricky tongue and binging habits.
Mini tiffin is a wholesome tiffin which fills the stomach and is a good compensation for lunch and dinner.