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May 27, 2008

Comfort Food

Nothing spells comfort food to most tamilians like rice and yogurt. After a few days of eating out, I want to run back to the comfort of thayir saadam aka rice and yogurt.

Come summer, my mom would cook rice in the morning and after it cools down, soak the cooked rice in a wee bit of buttermilk, water, salt, hing and curry leaves. We would have this for dinner with a whole bunch of accompaniments. This is traditionally made with rice a day old. But since it was such a big hit in our home, mom had to make it this way.This is called palaya saadam in tamil and the literal translation being old rice. Soaking the rice in a clay pot will keep the rice cool and make it even more refreshing.

In the blistering heat of summer, palaya saadam soothes your throat and your soul. The foodies that we were, we were not happy with just the rice. So lets talk about the accompaniments. We would definitely have ripe mango cubed, appalam, onion vadagam, more mozhada ( chillies soak in buttermilk, dried and deep fried), freshly made mango pickles,thovayal ( a thick chutney). On special occasions, we would take all of this to our terrace and dad would sit in the center and all of us around him with small plates with all the fixings that we wanted. He would give us a handful in our cupped fingers - that was absolute fun. We would eat a lot more than we normally did. I remember trying to swallow the food as fast as possible so that I can stretch my hands for more.

Our lunch today was this simple food and an egg curry as well. Nothing can be more simple than this meal and yet it is the most fulfilling.

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