There isn’t a palette more diverse than an Indian one.
One of the earnest ideas behind The Permit Room is to introduce people to the sheer variety of traditional South Indian cuisine, but with a modern-day take on it.
Essentially it's recipes from your ajji's (Kannada for grandma) kitchen, but served in a rather modern, and also cocktail-friendly form. Your ajji may or may not approve.
Thindi Tales is an attempt to take you one step deeper, the equivalent of getting you to eat meals with your fingers, and hopefully help you appreciate South-Indian cuisine in all its gastronomic glory.
This time, our Iyengar Bakery Puffs.
A Little Side Story
If you’ve grown up in southern India, you’ll be familiar with the egg puff. Or as they’re lovingly and colloquially called, egg pups. (No puppies are used to make them. But you can cuddle one while making if you want.)
Many bold vegetarian fellows have taken their first steps into the dark side, thanks mainly to the lure of this fabled dish. It all starts with the egg puff.
It’s been a source of sustenance since time immemorial, typically during boring lectures and as after-college chai and sutta supplement. But it truly reached legendary status as the between-class-five-minute-break-snack for every broke college kid.
It’s not just college or school kids who have been exposed to this first class food item though.
If you’ve lived in namma ooru (the one and only Bengaluru) long enough, there is no way you’ve missed having this at an Iyengar Bakery in your area. (If you’re new here and don’t know what that is, we suggest you put one pilgrimage fully fast.)
And sure, the honey cakes are the bomb, but eggs puffs are right up there on that list too.
And here’s why.
The standard egg puff is usually a flaky, crunchy pastry, stuffed with unmentionable looking vegetarian things (no one really knows what exactly) and half a boiled egg. Luxuries like a full egg and all have not been experienced till date.
It’s also usually quite oily, but the rest of it more than makes up for it.
And when we said flaky pastry, we weren’t kidding—abandon all attempts at eating it neatly, because no matter how careful you are, it’ll end up on your face, hair, clothes, everything.
Also, the degree to how much of it gets on your face directly corresponds to how close by your college/tuition/building/office crush is to you. If they come up and talk to you and all means gone. Puff suddenly becomes face wash.
And beard bearing boys, just forget it. Once you accept that this is the law of the egg puff Universe, your life will be better and tastier for it.
At The Permit Room
The eggs puffs at ours are an homage to the legendary egg puffs served at all the local bakeries in Bangalore.
Of course, our version has all the makings of the classic minus the grease and unmentionable stuffings.
For the base layer, which is basically the puff daddy (sorry), we use a layer of pastry, baked in-house and fresh, every morning. Just for you.
To this, we add the yolk spread, which is a seasoned mixture of egg yolks and mayonnaise, with a tomato and onion thokku. This mixture adds the necessary spice and masala quotient to this dish.
On top, half a plain boiled egg white (we told you no? Full egg is against puff culture.)
The cavity of the egg is filled with the aforementioned thokku.
The sauce part of our version is a departure from the original egg puff. We do a curry hollandaise, which adds creamy goodness to the overall dish, while also creating textural balance between the creamy sauce and flaky puff pastry.
I mean, if that isn’t a wholesome, very best egg puff, we don’t know what is!
Iyengar Bakery fellows will also be proud, we hope.
Our Chef Says
“This dish is particularly close to my heart, probably my favourite from the appetisers. It’s nostalgic, it’s nice, there’s a whole bunch of great flavours and textures—just such a feel good snack.
But it’s also a messy one. Due to the severe nature of flakiness associated with the puff and the dripping sauce, I'd classify it as finger(s) food. And although I think the messiness adds to the charm, it’s definitely not something I’d recommend on a first date. Maybe fifth.”