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2010-12-30

>(Tamil Nadu) idli vs. (Czech) knedlík

(Moved from Feb 24, 2009)

Last weekend, I was invited to Fremont, California, to a cozy home of relatively recent Indian immigrants. Realizing that it was one of those little apartments so immaculate you would be truly ashamed of not taking your shoes off, I fretted having chosen to wear ensemble high heels. If I knew I would be treading in bare feet, I'd have worn something else... (yes, it's silly, but just try being me. I know, you wouldn't want to.)

On their buffet table were too-pretty-to-eat little jewels of Indian snacks, samosas and chaats.


The hosts later brought out something somewhat unexpected at a Hindi-speaking home. Idlis. Oooh. I had forgotten about idlis.

My first experience of Indian food was Tamil, since Singaporean Indians are mostly from Tamil Nadu, South India.
Ellapugazhum Iraivanukee (as the Oscar winner Allah Rakha Rahman exclaimed at the Awards), Tamil sambar/sambhar and rasam are delicious.
An idli or idly is a Tamil staple. At first glance, they resemble perfectly round sugar cookies. Then you realize these are not desserts. Soft spongy bland cakes made of lentil and rice flour, you place a couple of these in a bowl and add gravy and chutneys of your own choosing.
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Jump to another continent, to another country I love, Czech Republic.

Tamil spongy bread's texture is strangely reminiscent of Czech dumplings. Not as pretty, perhaps, and bigger than idlis, I never got tired of dousing gravy on my doughy (potato) dumplings in Prague. Gloppy mess or not, knedlíki, too, were delicious.

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There are other steamed cakes, of course. What are your favorites?

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous2.4.10

    amazing arrangement!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very nice comparison... hope u know idli's big brother Dosa ..

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love dosa, of course. Don't you think it resembles the crepe?

    ReplyDelete