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Aasha, Dosa, Appadam, Vada

Aasha, Dosa, Appadam, Vada
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The common teaser we usually use refers to the popular breakfast items Dosa and Vada, but Appadam is different. A unique savoury (papad) is...

The common teaser we usually use refers to the popular breakfast items Dosa and Vada, but Appadam is different. A unique savoury (papad) is complementary to the main course. A disc-shaped wafer made with black gram is no doubt a favourite snack for one and all. Either roasted or fried deep in oil, the crispy wafer goes with rice irrespective of time and season. There was a time when making papads was a compulsory ritual in every Telugu home. Making a papad is not a simple task.

A ‘Pahelwan’ like man mixes the dough with his both hands and several people are involved in making the pieces of dough into round shapes. During summers, the rooftops used to be full of papads, which were kept for drying. Children were kept as guardians to protect them from crows and other birds. And that didn’t stop a few naughty kids who would try and taste these papads even before drying. In fact, the raw papad too tastes good! The sundried appadams can be stored for days.

It’s a collective effort mostly by women. No wonder, the popular brand Lijjat papad has been associated with the empowerment of Indian women. Now, there are different kinds of papads that are available in the market like rice papad, black gram papad, sago papad, etc. They are in different colours and different shapes.

Long ago, when muffins, pizzas and burgers were not easily available, we used to carry crushed pieces of appadams in boxes to school as snacks. Today, many restaurants serve these pieces as appetizers and with drinks (alcohol), especially the masala papad.

Yet another form of crisps that are invariably part of a Telugu meal is Vadiyalu. Making these sundried crisps used to be a combined family affair until nuclear families stole the shine from this much engaging ritual.

Different varieties like Neyyi or Pela Vadiyalu, Saggubiyyam (Sago) Vadiyalu, Biyyam Pindi (Rice Flour), Atukula Vadiyalu, Budida Gummidikaya (Ash Gourd), Minapa Vadiyalu (Urad Dal), Gummadi Vadiyalu and even Challa Mirapakayalu (chillies pickled in sour buttermilk).

The last one in the list – the pickled chillies, also known as ‘Oora Mirapakayalu’ or yoghurt-soaked chillies or sundried chillies make for a delicious bite to go along with a few specific dishes. Just the thought of your teeth dipping into these fried crispy chillies along with curd rice or sambar mixed rice, makes the mouth water!

It is not an exaggeration that a regular thali in South Indian meal is incomplete without a papad. Many people prefer some restaurants only because they serve tasty sundried chillies. All these sundried crisps are handy for the cook when there is no time for preparing a curry or to add attraction to the dinner. In some places, vegetables are also sundried for ready use.

Even non-vegetarian items like mutton, chicken and beef are also preserved like this. However, dry fish and dry prawns do not fall under this category. These sundried vegetables are called ‘Vorugulu’ in the local language. Summer is the best season for preparing vorugulu. That reminds me of the vorugulu made using the Indian plum (regi pallu), tasty and different, and a rarity in the cities.

By: Dr G Balakrishna

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