March 24, 2004

Sundal Gumbal

This blog is dedicated to Marien Mathew.
[ Marien Mathew is the columnist in HINDU who gets to eat in restaurants/eat-outs all round in Chennai for her assignment. If someone gets paid for eating and writing columns, isn't that amazing? And what more, she writes good reviews with descriptive pieces about mouth-watering items from the respective eat-outs. She does not mince her words, nor naam-kay-vaasthey review. ]

Let me write such blogs on and off about good eat-outs in and around Chennai.
To start with Sundal.
'Thenga maanga pattani sundal' is the typical one that one gets in evenings at Marina beach. I am not even coming to that side. These sundals taste different. Neither is this sundal blog about the 'Maargazhi maasa' sundals.

Now is Sri Rama Navami time, and we have this Hanumar Koil in Triplicane. This temple is more than 200 years old, and they have been celebrating Rama Navami as a 10-day festival for past 60 years. On all these ten days, there will be evening some kutchery, followed by Religious discourse. There is a small tea break after the discourse.

And then, around 9 pm, bhajanai will start. Some five retired office cases will be singing lots of Bhajan songs for an hour. Basically the time, when others at home will not let them watch any TV News (Ever wondered why all these retired padu kizhams want to watch News on TV right from 7:30pm DD news to 11pm Star Vijay news, and then read newspaper also in the morning?). Until their dinner gets digested, they will sing bhajan songs. There will be an audience of 4-10 people.

They end the bhajan, and start ringing the bell for Harathi. No one knows where all these people were, when Bhajans were being sung. This bell will be like a signal bell. And suddenly, you will see some 30 people gathered with newspaper bits in hand. One retired maama will come with sundal and start distributing the sundal. All of these people shamelessly eat the first round there itself (hee..hee..needless to say, me too), and get another round.

Everyday, a new variety of sundal will be there - adequately laden with 'Thenga, maanga, kadugu, paruppu, kaaram' and all. Sometime, the sundal is overly cooked - esp paruppu, payiru types, and we get the sundals in a paste forms...Sundal kodukkum maamavai kindal adichittu saapduvom!

The Rama Navami Sundal started this sunday.
The menu so far:
Sunday - Pattaani
Monday - Paasipayaru
Tuesday - Kadalai
Wednesday - Most likely kaaramani...

Wednesday - Kaaramani
Thursday - Kondai kadalai

slurp...slurp slurp...

Some facts:
* Maarghazhi maasa sundals are not distributed at night normally.
* Beach sundals are not freshly made everyday...mostly they are slightly 'needle-gone' (athaanga, oosi pochi...) , but are cleverly disguised with generous dosage of Mango slices
* Sundals eaten by Diabetics do not count on these lines of sundal. They are mostly not-fried, and some varieties are totally banned.

I like Raama Navami.
Jai Sri Ram! Jai Hanuman!

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