Though the main breakfast was traditional, the accompaniments were not. Coconut chutney was rarely served with anything - rava upma was accompanied by some slices of lime or mango pickle, semiya upma with fresh ginger chutney, idli with various spice powders or other chutneys (one's here), dosa with lime pickle - so for me it's really no fun to go in for South Indian food and find myself stuck with coconut chutney and sambar. When we had chapatis for breakfast, thick, well browned, square and well fried, they were accompanied by a sweet and sour onion gravy made with jaggery and tamarind. I don't think we were familiar with the word kurma. My grandfather would eat his chapati with a fried egg, sunny side up, dipping pieces of the chapati in the runny yolk - not something I've done or see myself doing. And pesarattu was never accompanied by upma, its traditional mate.
Though my aunt says they were familiar with it, we were never served poori with sugar. Nor upma, nor idli. Nothing was served with sugar, in fact, and I didn't see this in anybody else's house, either, until I went to college and joined the hostel, in a different State. I was both repelled and fascinated when I saw all conceivable manner of tiffins being downed with sugar, chapatis with jam (which I took to; only, the hostel chapatis were so bad, even jam couldn't redeem them) and bread with pickle (good, a favourite midnight snack). I even spread green chilli pickle on Marie biscuits and made a snack/meal of them at times - they are a great combination but I'm not sure that green chilli pickle is available any more. I guess the only sugary breakfast we had at home was what we called toast - of the French variety. Of course, I thought that was Indian too. No wonder very few of my friends and classmates knew about it.
What unusual combinations are you fond of?
It's funny how what we take for granted at home is completely alien to others. Peanut chutney was never, ever made at home; it's so common in others'. Eggplant is combined with milk and curds in some homes, not so in mine. And I did not notice the amaranth-curds combination till recently in a relative's home, which I took to instantly. I am used to a lot of curd-based dishes with different vegetables, but none with greens. I don't often remember to make this but when I do, I always ask myself why I forget - it's so good. I was flipping through the pages of Cooking At Home With Pedatha recently and was reminded of it. This version is less elaborate than hers and doesn't contain the coconut or the daal that she included in the recipe.
Here's the recipe:
Curds/yoghurt: 3 cups, well churned
Amaranth/thotakoora: Chopped, 2 cups
Tamarind pulp: 1 tbsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Green chilli: 1, slit
Curry leaves: A few
Dry ginger powder: 1-2 tsp
Oil: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Grind to a fine paste
Coriander: 1/4 cup
Green chillies: 2
Mustard seeds: 1 tbsp
Red chillies: 4, stems removed, broken into two
In a pan, heat the oil and pop the mustard. Lower the flame and add the red chillies.
As they turn colour, add the amaranth. Cover and simmer till well done, stirring now and then.
Add the turmeric, curry leaves, chilli powder and tamarind pulp. Cook for a few more minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the curds.
Chill, and enjoy!
This is going off to Siri for her Frozen Yoghurt event.
Frozen Yoghurt Curds/Yoghurt Amaranth/Thotakoora Greens Event Vegetarian