Monday, February 16, 2009

The Curious Case of the Melting Ghee

The traffic overwhelms...
The signals perpetuate...
The mind wanders...

Thoughts, in thousands, surge across as the multiple gruelling waits for the GREEN leave me rattled. With nothing to do but wait, I find myself cogitating on the worthless but interesting topics :-)

This was conceived at the Airport-Victoria Rd signal today, a lengthy one at that.

The curious case of the Ghee being served melted
Yesterday at a typical South Indian restaurant, where I was having lunch, ghee was offered for the paruppu saadham. I took it. It was the melted, flowing version of the ghee.

"This is not ghee", I thought to myself. The viscosity was simply not there. It flowed like water or oil. I have been a NeiPriyan throughout, not so much for the sweets, but with food - YES, especially rice! Ghee is one of the most inviting savouries that has been discovered that can add intense flavour to the charismatic white rice.

Ghee is to be preserved in its semi-solid state for serving with rice. The definition of semi-solid needs clarification. Typically, it's the state between the fridge-frozen to the free flowing summer version. At room temperature, during summer, the consistency is ideal. While the frigid version is good to heat on a cheenchatti/vaanali to make a pongal or a payasam, it's no good to be served with steaming rice. The point being, it kills the mood to have to wait for it to melt and mix with the rice. Analogous to this is the case of trying to splosh frigid butter on the mildly toasted bread slice. On a hurried morning trying to gobble whatever you get at hand, when the butter refuses to co-operate, the frustration only compounds. There is no time to heat. Bad still, you don't like the taste of it when heated because it cooks into a ghee-ish taste. Alas! Only if I had decided early morning that bread-butter-jam was going to stave off my fast that morning and having finalised it, I had kept the butter out for it to cool down outside the fridge(oxymoronic?)

But things don't work out the way especially during its-getting-late mornings. Coming out of the analogy, the most relishing way to begin the lunch course, is

Plain steamed rice + Ghee (semi-solid, ablity to melt on rice) + boiled paruppu.

It should be mentioned that the viscosity of nei matters much here because, after this serving what follows is the ritual of cupping the palm and receiving the ghee and lickin' away. And that's not possible with the free flowing version.

The ideally ghee suited, to be mixed with items are
1. Sambhar - For arachu vutta sambhar, it adds to the already smoking hot manam & gunam. For podi potta sambhar, its ability to elevate the taste reaches the pinnacle. But for the ghee with it, I would have disliked podi pota sambhar to the core.
2. Rasam - The combination is good not great.
3. Morkootan and Vethakozhambu - Average to medium

For some reason though, ghee doesn't go well with Molagootal that makes me wonder why so....

Wooh! Too much for this signal now. I continued towards Richmond with another interesting topic in the pipeline.......