And continuing our Palghat sojourn… it looks like a speckled dosa, it feels like a really hard biscuit… you chew and chew and your jaws get tired-er and tired-er… but you are hooked on to it! It’s called a verum arisi adai (an adai with only rice). Adais are normally a mixed-dal kind of pancake with a bit of rice to make them crunchy but this one is like… well, chewy and hard and totally addictive for some reason! Maybe humans, like dogs, have an innate need to gnaw and the verumarisi adai is the perfect answer to this need!
Andhras tend to rely more on upmas of various kinds for morning breakfast or afternoon “tiffin” and the dosa and idli are basically Sunday items… at least that was how it was in my mom’s place when I was growing up. Dosas had to be accompanied by at least two kinds of chutney, potato curry and sambar – a serious amount of work for the cook!
Now, at my in-laws’ place, dosa and idli and adai were everyday dishes – one after the other – for breakfast or dinner! I found out that it was possible to eat these accompanied by nothing more than molaga podi or any of the leftovers from lunch – and found just how convenient they were! That, of course, came after getting used to not having our Hyderabadi brekkers of eggs and parathas or a full meal! The very idea of eggs with paratha was met with something akin to horror by hubby who thinks that eggs belong with toast and butter and marmalade – only on the breakfast table!
On one occasion in Bangalore, my brother-in-law who had come to visit me at the hostel and I decided to pick up a couple of old friends and go out to dinner. Unfortunately we got lost and finally reached their house only by about 9.30 in the evening – to find they had already had dinner and cleared up! The two of us must have been looking pretty ravenous – as we were – considering we’d spent close to two hours searching for their house! So his mom-in-law takes pity on two hungry young people and rustles up some absolutely delicious omelettes for us – with toast!
I am happy – FOOD!
B-i-l less so. Eggs for dinner?? Kaliyuga has arrived – says his look! If you haven’t figured out already, let me explain here that he shares his brother’s aversion to eggs outside of the breakfast table… or breakfast time!
The good lady leaves the dining room (which is not the breakfast room now though that’s what it seems like to my b-i-l whose world has turned topsy-turvy! Quick as a flash, his omelette lands on my plate and he makes do with toast. I am delighted – with my extra omelette!
I was still a student and in hostel and hadn’t encountered the ‘verumarisi’ yet so these very strong antipathies were something of a puzzle. Being brought up by parents who were very strict about eating whatever was put on our plates, this catering to many likes and dislikes of the palate struck me as rather….weird (told y’all earlier I was polite!)
Hubby, after thirty years of commando-style training 🙂 – has learnt to eat new foods and not just the half a dozen dishes that he thinks are food! But it’s always easy to please him with these…chewy,,,,gnaw-y….but rather yummy….
VERUM ARISI ADAI WITH MURUNGELAI (RICE ADAIS WITH DRUMSTICK LEAVES):
- Parboiled rice – 2 cups
- Methi/fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
- Grated fresh coconut – 1/4 cup (optional)
- Tender drumstick leaves – see pic – 1/2 cup
Soak the rice and methi together for at east 3-4 hours. Grind with salt and coconut (if using) to a smooth batter. Set aside to ferment for 5-6 hours.
Add the drumstick leaves – whole and mix well. The batter for this is pretty thick.
Add a little water to the batter and pour a ladleful on a heated dosa pan. It takes some skill to spread this.
Small holes will form as you are spreading. Make another larger hole in the centre. Pour a tsp of oil (preferably sesame) around the adai and in the centre. Cook for a few minutes on a low heat and turn over and cook again – both sides should have golden brown spots.
This adai is high in iron – the drumstick leaves are “iron bombs”!
Serve with butter, any pickle, jaggery or my own personal favourite – sugar (white, refined, unhealthy and evil… but oh, so delicious!)
And as you chew, watch that double chin melt away as your jaws get more exercise than they’ve had since you had a pacifier in your mouth!