Friday, March 26, 2010

Nostalgic...

I woke up to the waft of 'Maracheeni puzhukku' early this morning. 'Maracheeni' is Tapioca and 'puzhukku' is a gooey chewy paste. We make papads out of tapioca and this is the process: make the paste first and then spread it out on mats made of palm leaves or on jack fruit leaves. The more modern we got, we used plastic sheets for convenience. This is dried in the sun till it becomes brittle and stored for future. MIL made the papads today and they are drying in the sun as I type this. 

This sent us all on a nostalgic journey back to the 80s when vadams were an integral part of summer vacations. The best thing about the vadams is that it offers a range of gastronomic experience at various stages of its making.First the puzhukku, which is as popular as the pappadam - its is a completely different kind of sensation on the taste buds.Then when the papads are half dry and rubbery - quite challenging but that's the fun! Then the fried and roasted papads...hmmm... The joke is that the women start by planning for a certain number of papads and after losing a few in each of these stages, only half of it will actually make it to the frying pan!

My grandmom used to make 'javvarisi vadam'(sabudana papad) and 'arisi vadam'(rice papad). In Tamilnadu, the 'puzhukku' is called the 'koozhu'. It doesn't matter what they call it, it is just as chewy, gooey and yummy!

At my grandmom's place in Kerala, the coconuts would also be dried in the sun for making coconut oil. Chewing the coconuts through different stages of drying was equally interesting. As kids, we used to be employed as scarecrows - extra coconut/ puzhukku for shooing the crows away, for bringing the papds in, for spreading them out again the next day... it required labour you see. Well, some of it ended in our gut instead of the crow's beak and some of the men would also sneak up for a steal and wink at us kids which meant, 'Sshhh.. no reporting to the women!'. As though the women didn't know - while counting, they would murmur amongst themselves, 'oh, we can't keep the human crows away, can we!' :D


And here's a pic of the papads that are drying on the terrace... on Jack fruit leaves 
(...and while the pics are loading, I'm licking the remains of the puzhukku :)   )

  
Up Close - fresh from the kadai


8 comments:

asha said...

Wow, traditional method of making food adds it's own taste.( Is that jack fruit leaf)

Same here, during my summer hols in mylapore, paati used to make vadam maavu ( arisi and sago) and tell mami to extrude on the terrace. I used to go with mami for help , but my patti used to warn mami (Ashavy koopdadeh, padhi maavu dhan minjum). I used to lap the vadam koozhu before it reaches the terrace.
Lovely post.

rrmom said...

I too remember my summer hols when my mom used to make vadam and my brother and I were put in charge of guarding the vadam. The best vadam were the thali vadam which are cooked in steam and then dried in sun. My mom made extra batches of the steamed vadam as evening snacks as everyone at home loved these vadams.

Momo's Ma said...

uh- huh.. this is sheer nostalgia. my mouth is watering thinkign of the yummy mavu, as we called it. i would eat them up as soon as they were made n then sneak up in the terrace/ courtyard wherever it was drying for some more. now pls dont go and do a post on vadu mangai or soem such thing and make me cry cos i miss all those days.... :)

Anonymous said...

that is mouth watering..Marachini Puzhukku is my fav...With Marachini pappadam. Now when my Mom came from kerela she got few kappas and chema chakka for me....and we made it recently...
you have instigated my nostaligic thoughts yaar...
Aryan's mom

Hema said...

Hey...Congrats to you and Pattu and the Loofah Princess!

Uma said...

All - I seem to have spread the nostalgia quite far :D

Hema - Thanks :) feeling wonderful!

apu said...

ooooh yumm yumm....I used to be among the 'scarecrows' employed by my granny and by our neighbour to shoo away the crows...and of course get paid for the job by eating maavu :)

Uma said...

Apu - I think the maavu is really the best part of it...wonder what the current generation's equivalent would be...