Friday, October 25, 2013

South Indian Food Delights

Appam, egg curry, and potato stew
Making the Appam, dressed in a sari, of course!
I could wax eloquent on the many merits of the almighty appam of South India, which is a bit like a crepe, except it's not…. It's made from rice flour, freshly ground, coconut, yeast, sugar, and I think one more thing I can't remember.  It is cooked like a crepe, except not really, because they purposely leave a  little more in the middle than the sides so you can have a center of goodness after eating the crunchy outside bits.  Appan is used as a food-carrying device much like chapati are used in the north; tear off a section, capture some side dish with the appam, and deliver it to your mouth.  Repeat until appam and/or side dishes are gone.  It's not as good as a great fresh corn tortilla, but I believe it is in second place for my "world's best bread substitutes".  Yep, it's a strong second.  My friend and colleague invited me and a guest from Delhi over for a typical South Indian breakfast, which always involves appam and dosas, and sambar.  They are all worthy of each other's company.  It's rather remarkable how different the northern cuisine is from the southern, and the northerners who are brave enough admit that the south has the best breakfast in the country.
Earlier this week I found some passion fruit at the market, and had no idea what ripe ones felt like so bought an assortment, because although this is a favorite flavor of mine, after the queen mango, I've never had any fresh passion fruit.  It was great fun cutting the outer layer in half to see the very interesting, very gelatinous interior that covered the seeds.  That gooey substance and the seeds is the edible part, and although S tried to rain a bit on my parade by likening their appearance to frogs' eggs, they were fantastic. They do resemble frogs' eggs a bit...
Finally, we visited a CHIPS shop on the way to the beach this afternoon.  Chips here are serious business, and of the banana variety, but taste nothing like the hard, waxy banana chips we get/produce in the U.S.  These are of many varieties, and my current favorite are the long, thin masala banana chips that are sprinkled with lots of spices after they come out of the coconut oil.  I had to buy a minimum of 100 kg and found it was not a problem to consume them all, quite the contrary. There were other "chaat" at the chips store, which is a dry snack in Indian culinary terms, which you see in the pictures below, and halwa of many flavors, which tastes a bit like a caramel/butter base with some fruit essence for the flavor.  Very rich, and a little goes a long way.
 Enjoy the photos of our culinary day in the south.

Halwa flavors at Chip Shop

Masala Long Chips

Pryamid of Goodness 

Taking Large Boat out to Sea Against the Tide
Pushing it past the tide and lighthouse

Free at Sea!

Steve and Driver Outside Chip Shop

South Indian Breakfast

Beignets?  Can't Tell, No English spoken at Chips Shop!

Passion Fruit shell and interior

Fish Eggs?  No, Passion Fruit

1 comment:

  1. All the dishes look delicious! I especially like the chips.