November 23, 2008

Idiappams and puttu from our nooks . . .

Last week, the chappati was food for this column.
This week we have idiappams or string hoppers as they are called in Sri Lanka.

The pitter-patter of the rain continued through last Saturday night.
I was in Egmore catching up with schoolmates.
When I waved down an autorickshaw close to the midnight hour the drizzle grew in intensity.
At a road junction two men waved us down. 'Indira Nagar, said one unconcerned that a passenger was in the rear seat.
We couldn't leave the duo in the rain so we asked them to hop in. But we also had to accommodate a 'koodai', which we did.
And the 'koodai' set off the conversation.

The two had just wound up serving idiappams at the grand wedding at the grand hall we had left behind in Egmore.
This was their business. They specialised in making puttu and idiappams at weddings and social functions.
One rupee for an idiappam is what they got paid.

And when the wedding contractors did not engage them, they would send their men 'on the line'.
'On the line' meant selling the foodstuff door to door in the neighbourhood - in Thiruvanmiyur and Indira Nagar, in Gandhi Nagar and Padmanabha Nagar.
On some days, 100 pieces would be sold, on some 200. And by noon, the job would be done.
And all this came out of a 100 sq. ft nook somewhere in Indira Nagar.

Would you like to have Kushboo idlis?
There was another cook who specialised in making them.
And what did they serve with the string hoppers?
Just sugar, the man said. If you want 'kadala' curry then there was another person who would supply us.

From the nooks of our neighbourhoods, such wonderful enterprises.
Would you like to have their contacts?
Tarry a bit - let me sample the food next weekend and then share my recommendation too!

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