There isn't a palette more diverse than an Indian one. And you'd be hard pressed to find that kind of variety from just a single section of the country anywhere else.
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.
Saapad Stories 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.
First up, Mosaranna or Thayir Saadam or as we like to call it—Half A Dozen Curd Rice Memories.
If you've grown up in South India, there's a good chance you've encountered this versatile dish at some point.
In its most basic form, curd rice is simply boiled white rice to which unsweetened yogurt and salt are added.
Of course, additional ingredients can also be added. And most often, they are.
Based on personal preferences and geographical location, you get anything from a seasoning or 'tadka' of fried chilli, curry leaves, ginger, cumin seeds and mustard seeds, to more colourful additions of raw mango pieces, raw onion, cucumber, pomegranate, cashew nuts, raisins, and for the more adventurous ones, a mix of all of the above.
A Little History
The dish itself might be one of the oldest ones we have, with mentions of a similar type of dish being found in the Rig Veda.
Just for context, the Rig Vedas are believed to have been composed mostly likely between 1500- 1200 BC. Yup! That's some serious historical and traditional legacy.
And as with anything of old, theories and Old Wives' Tales are bound to catch up. Of the more popular ones, curd rice is believed to cool the body down and is highly recommended by south-indian grandmas as the ideal second course to finish a meal with.
The other popular one being it's good for the brains, so copious amounts will be served to south indian kids especially during exams.
But folklore and fancies aside, the dish's ability to be relatively neutral in flavouring has made it an ideal pairing with a wide variety of sides. They range from simple ones like tangy pickles and crunchy raw onions, to crispy fried vegetables and heavily spiced pieces of meat. Literally, anything goes!
At The Permit Room
Our take of this supremely versatile and ancient dish combines all the classic elements that have come to be associated with it, but presented in a totally new way.
Our Chef Says
"You'll see that our curd rice is not in the usual broth-like form—you'll find that we serve it as smooth, creamy spheres, with a sprinkling of potato crisps, and just a hint of pomegranate. (Because nothing says 'Karnataka' like pomegranate in curd rice!)
The idea here was to take something very simple, and very familiar to the South Indian palette, and reintroduce it in a way that no one had seen before."
Go ahead, consume a spoonful, savour it for a bit, and you'll know just why we call it Half A Dozen Curd Rice Memories.
Fun Fact: The term 'thayir sadam' is also widely used as colloquial slang for super nerdy south-indian boys, with exceptional skills in Math, who would typically be found wearing thick 'soda' glasses and shying away from girls.