A South Indian thali for Pakistani taste buds

Published: November 23, 2011

Even though I was sKeptical about cooking South Indian food, my Thali turned out to be a scrumptious delight. PHOTO: ANAM AMIN

I am a proud Pakistani and I love my cuisine. In general, all Pakistanis believe that their food is miles better than any other desi cuisine, especially Indian cuisine. To me, Indian food was like the bogey man under my bed that my mother scared me with when I wouldn’t go to bed on time.

Thus, it came as a dismal shock to me when chef Poppy Agha declared that we would be studying South Indian cuisine. Due to my patriotism, I crinkled my nose at the prospect of this class and was not looking forward to it in the slightest.

How wrong was I? Thanks to Poppy Agha, I discovered a great delight that I had been missing for two decades of my existence. South Indian food is delicious.

Our class began like always with a little flash back on the heritage and the divisions of South India and North India and their range of sub and main cuisines. I was, admittedly, a little put off by the amount of coconut oil (an essential part of South Indian food) and coconut used. However, this didn’t deter me, and I proceeded to cook a gorgeous looking Thali (platter).

Read on to find out how I did it, and how it tasted.

The Thali comprises of  Chettinad Chicken Khuzambu (wet sauce-Tamil Cuisine), Rasam, Maddur Vada, and Pongol

Before starting, we made our own mixed spice also called Milagai Thool, essentially used in any South Indian house which we Pakistani’s refer to as ‘garam masala’.

Melagai thool:

Ingredients:

4 dried red chilies

2 tsps. coriander seed

1 tsp. black peppercorn

1/2 tsp. methi (fenugreek)

4 curry leaves

1/2 tsp. turmeric

Method:

Roast all the spices except the turmeric as it cooks faster. Once you notice the zeera changing colour, turn the heat off and pop them in the blender with the turmeric. Grind and keep aside.

Chettinad Chicken Khuzambu

Ingredients:

Chicken boneless- Cut into bite size pieces

2 tbsps. Ginger- slice half a ginger and mince finely

5 baby onions all cut in half

2 green chilies slit

2 tsps. dried red chilies

2 tsps. coriander powder

2 tbsps. grated coconut

2 tbsps. cashew nuts- roughly chopped

1 piece cinnamon (daal cheeni)

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1 tbsp. fresh mint

2 curry leaves

4 garlic pods minced finely

Coconut Oil

Milagae Thool

Method:

Add Coconut oil in a deep pan to cover the bottom layer. Add garlic, ginger, two tablespoons of mixed spices, coriander powder, dried chili, grated coconut, fennel seeds and then add the chicken. Mix well till the chicken is coated.

Add half a cup of water, onions, green chili, and the cinnamon stick and mix well. Then add one tablespoon of coconut powder leveled.

Before serving add a little water for it to blend.

My take:

When the coconut oil was cooking, it was a very different aroma to take in for me, but it gradually grows on you and the end result, Chettinad Chicken was delicious! It had a completely different taste from our normal chicken curry.

Rasam:

Ingredients:

2 tbsps. tomato paste

1 tsp. tamarind paste (imli) dissolved in a cup of water

2 pods of garlic minced

1 dried red chili

4 curry leaves

1 tbsp. coriander leaves

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1 tsp. cumin ground

1 tsp. black peppercorn ground

3 tsp. brown sugar (gurr)

Method:

Add two tablespoons of coconut oil, garlic, tomato paste and two cups of water. Add the red chili, one teaspoon of salt and brown sugar and stir slowly. Mix in the two curry leaves, Milagae Thool and one tea poon of brown sugar and allow it to cook.

Ending it with a “tarka” basically means to season by popping spices in a pan and adding them to the dish.

In another pan, thus, put one teaspoon of mustard seeds and cumin seeds and two curry leaves. Just when the spices release a lovely smell, pour them over the Rasam. Don’t stir right then. Stir slightly while serving to maintain the flavors of the tarka.

My take:

It’s like a lovely Indian tomato soup – I absolutely adored it. Apparently what we cooked is just an easier version of Rasam.  Regardless, I’m a fan. This dish is served with any meal, eaten hot or cold as a main dish with rice preferably Pongo, or as an appetizer.

Maddur Vadda:

Vadda is traditionally made with lentils, gram flour, or potato. The Vadda I made is known as Maddur Vadda  and is made with onion.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mixed flour- rice flour, maida, and sooji

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2-3 green chilies- chopped small

3 baby onions- 2 minced finely and 1 sliced (to keep the texture)

2-5 tbsp. of coconut oil

Method:

Add minced and sliced onions to a bowl of flour. Add cumin and two to three tablespoons of water. It’s just like making a kebab, do not put in too much water as this will make the batter too sticky. Add half a teaspoon of salt. Add green chilies and mix.

Take portions of the batter and make flattened Vaddas. They need not be in a perfect shape, just ideally  flatter than kebabs.

Fry them in a mixture of two tablespoons of coconut and four tablespoons of regular oil. We combined the two oils just so the entire Thali doesn’t have the same aroma or similar flavor. Fry them until they are brown on both sides just like in the picture.

My take:

I wasn’t too sure about the Vadda’s before tasting them. I don’t eat Pakora’s or onion rings with pleasure, but on trying my Vaddas, I couldn’t stop myself from devouring the entire plate. I dipped them in Rasam and wiped my plate clean – they were just so scrumptious!

Pongol:

I am a fan of rice; I can even eat yogurt and plain rice! My brothers often tease me by saying that I was adopted from a Bengali family. The rice dish, Pongol, thus, excited me immensely.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup rice soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Coconut oil and cooking oil

Ginger quarter minced

4 garlic pods- minced

1 tsp. of Milagai Thool

Method:

Add two tablespoons of coconut oil and two tablespoons of cooking oil to a pan. Stir in the ginger and garlic. Drain water out and add the rice to the pan. Add Milagai Thool and half a cup water. Mix well.

Let this cook, and as soon as you see the water is reducing, add half a cup more to it. You’ll notice in a minute while stirring that your rice has started to expand. Just as more water is absorbed, add half a cup more and stir. Repeat it if needed one last time, it should be expanded and sticking together in luscious shades of pink and brown.

My take:

You don’t need any curry or anything to have with this – it’s that good. I tried it with the Chettinad Chicken and also with the Rasam. It tasted divine with both. I especially loved it with the Rasam. It’s remarkable how Rasam can be eaten/served in so many ways.

My overall take on the Thali:

How my perspective has changed about Indian cuisine! It was just magnificent. This Thaali  was not only a surprise to my taste buds but also a memorable desi experience. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out other endless range of cuisine our neighboring country has to offer. A huge thanks to Poppy Agha for allowing me this culinary experience.

Anam.Amin

Anam Amin

An A'level graduate who has recently moved to Karachi, Anam aspires to be a pastry chef.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader

    Can you please stop making us more hungry with such mouth-watering details? Stomach rumblesRecommend

  • http://India vasan

    Coconut oil is not used by South Indians for cooking except Keralites. And Keralites do not have the South Indian Thali, South INdian thali should include Rice and Rasam among other things which this author has conveniently omitted. And South Indian Thali available in Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra have their own variations and tastes. Nice try on South INdian Thali but not good enoughRecommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Author,

    Excellent! Openness of mind extends to palate too.

    You have seen nothing yet. Explore Telugu, Kannada and Kerala cuisines too. Your spread is more or less Tamil. Tamil cuisine is the simplest and least sophisticated of all the South Indian food cultures (very sweeping statement but, holds true for the most part).

    My recommendation for you would be the Andhra fish curry. And here’s the secret…..cook it in the morning and set it aside and have it in the evening. If prepared correctly, the sour/acidic tamarind juice changes the texture of the fish to something very special and delicious over a few hours. You should try it once.Recommend

  • MBN

    @vasan:
    Relax. Its not like ANY chinese restaurant outside of china serves chinese food the way chinese do. Same goes for Indian cuisine. So relax.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    A perfectly nice blog except the 1st paragraph which was such a dampner that i didnt want to move ahead but did because i was curious.
    ” because of my patriotism i crinkled my nose at the prospect of having to cook indian food ” or some such thing. Pakistani patriotism = hate india ….. is it ? For me , my love for my country has nothing to do with pakistan.

    ” i love pakistan and that translates to the fact that i grew up hating india ” – Seriously ? You know, i love india but thankfully i realise that loving india does not mean i have to hate pakistan.
    And i don’t hate pakistan. I wish all of you well.
    I wish people on both sides will let go of this senseless hatred.

    Anyways, enjoy the food ! Peace ! :) Recommend

  • THE

    @Nandita.: I agree with you, being a Pakistani who’s lived in different countries all his life, I have the same feelings as you. I didn’t agree on how the writer presented the love for Pakistan as translating to hate for India (maybe that’s how the reader precieves what say was trying to say).. but anyways, this was a good read. Made my mouth water! Recommend

  • Acorn Guts

    Well I wouldn’t be able to differentiate your Indian ‘bogey man’ from a Pakistani ‘bogey man’ as the DNA for both will ultimately meet at the point when the the great chefs of Mughal Empire were coming up with rather tasteful recipes. South Indian ‘bogey man’ is different I agree, but that’s just a small genetic mutation nothing more .. don’t be afraid :)

    Well written, well presented. Thanks!Recommend

  • Sidra

    Nice and informative blog post :) Thanks for sharing! Recommend

  • SM

    @Author: How wrong were you or are you! Indian cuisine is one of the world’s most sophisticated and diverse cuisines and is always voted as one of the top 5 tasty cuisines in the world. The most recent one was conducted by Hotels.com (www.hotels.com). Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. There are 28 states in India and each region of India has its own style of cooking and distinct flavours. Pakistani cuisine is quite similar to the cuisines in North India. There is also the delicious west, east, and north-east Indian cuisine. Indian food is national cuisine of UK. Indian cuisine is the most popular alternative to traditional cooking in Britain, followed by Chinese and Italian. It is also very popular in many parts of the world especially France (preferred Indian cuisine most after Italian) and Australia (preferred Indian and Thai cuisine after Italian). Many of the world’s top chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain have ranked Indian cuisine as one of the best in the world.Recommend

  • Amar

    @author – “am a proud Pakistani and I love my cuisine. This naturally translates in to the fact that I grew up detesting anything Indian”

    Sweeping statement, but one question – so you hate your grand parents? They were Indians after all before Pakistan came into being!!!

    Chill, I was joking and yes South Indian food awesome. :-)Recommend

  • Ajay

    @ACORN GUTS — whattay name ! on a serious note, mughal empire chefs ? haha. Do u know that there were people residing in india before the mughals came along. And they had a cusine u know. Recommend

  • JatPunjabi

    I am a proud Pakistani and I love my cuisine. This naturally (??) translates in to the fact that I grew up detesting anything Indian. WHY?Recommend

  • MD

    Dear Author,
    I usually don’t comment on issues like this, cuisine. However, I want to congratulate you on this honest write up. Yes, south Indians dishes are unique and exemplary in not only taste but culture wise as well. But, let me tell you that south India is a very very big place with very different culinary habits. The dishes you mentioned are just confined to one or two states of south India.
    I am from western India(Mharashtra), but, I love south Indian dishes such as Idli, Massala Dosa, Vada, Rasam, Sambar, Upma, Uttappam and innumerable others. Every morning on my way to office I enjoy above delicacies at one or other south Indian restaurant. However, on one of my visits to the south, to my pleasant surprise, I found innumerable delicious other south Indian dishes which I never tasted before and I regret that, they are not available to me in my state, at least, not at the place I live.
    Lady, if you really want enjoy the south Indian dishes, then, there is no other way than to visit south India. South India is one of the safest places in the world for a tourist.Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    Just one info…

    Maddur Vada is a specialty from a place (town) called Maddur.

    Maddur is a town between Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Mysore, in the state of Karnataka.

    And yes, like someone said, you have only tried the tip of a huge iceberg. Karnataka alone offers thousands of dishes.

    By the way, Coconut oil is used in Coastal Karnataka and Kerala. Recommend

  • Vegetarian

    Who said coconut is an essential part of all South Indian cuisine ? South Indian cuisine has many variants – very widely varying from one another. Kerala has coconut oil – try aviyal for example. Andhra has its exceptionally spicy routine -see Vizag veppudu. And of course, the Tamil brahmins have their vegetarian meal of curd rice, idlis and dosas – try onion rava masala dosa. Karnataka has its famous rice mixtures called baths – try bisibelabath. Have fun trying out cuisine from the four southern states of India. Recommend

  • http://zealforwriting.blogspot.com Sarah B. Haider

    Great post! Thank you for sharing :) We would like to have some more from your side.Recommend

  • shubhanshu

    Stop Politics, Start Eating !!!Recommend

  • yamiji ramiji

    Every cuisine is delicious until you get bored with it! It all depends on how you prepare it!Recommend

  • rk singh

    @ author

    Indian food is less violent (i mean more vegetarian).Recommend

  • Vandana

    Welcome to the world of South Indian cuisine.As a north Indian(Pakistani roots) married to a south Indian I can personally vouch for the exquisite beauty of this cuisine….especially the south Indian breakfast.You must try those someday.Recommend

  • TKMR

    Reders and auther please log on to New Kerala.com and click o recipes and you will find recipes from all the southern statesRecommend

  • ashok sai

    Is it a custom to open any Indian related articles by taking a oath, “I am a proud Pakistani….”, it shows your insecurity. By the way, ‘Pongal’ is an breakfast item and can’t be considered to be part of thali, any way good attempt.Recommend

  • hassan

    I think the author is one of the fast increasing breeds of ‘closet indians’. These type of people are now everywhere; they like everything Indian, and detest everything Pakistani.

    They say Indian serials are good, Indian advertising/commercials are superb, Indian history books are more objective, Indian education system is good, Indian cricketers are better than ours and Indian society is more tolerant and diverse etc etc. They find merit in everything Indian and everything bad in Pakistan.

    Now we have started praising South Indian cuisine, which are meant basically for cows. We are allowing this cultural and gastronomic imperialism to overwhelm us. Slowly and surely, soon a time will come when all of us will long for things Indian.

    And along with that will come the end of our country, and the dream of our founding father will come crashing down. Stop looking across the border for everything, and start exploring within the country. We have so much better to offer than anyone else !!! Recommend

  • Homa

    Ok, for all the ignorami out there, i have to but in:

    Indian cuisine is the best in the world. The rest of the world is gradually realizing this. It is the most varied, most diverse/plural, most exciting, most flavorful, most wholesome, most natural, most tasty, and most balancing because of the tremendous and incredible range of healing spices, ingredients, methods, and food combinations that we use. Combine all the variety of foods available in india, and what you get is more vast and more rich than all the other nations of the world combined.
    Ever new, ever modern and contemporary, ever fresh in its pleasures, the cuisine of india is ancient beyond time. Indian cuisine has its origin in the knowledge of the secrets of nature as divined by the ancient rishis and is thus a revealed art and science. While each and every state has its own amazing, tremendous and unique classical and folk culinary traditions and recipes influenced by the local climate, geography, agriculture and creative genuis, there is a very strong underlying commonality which is based on the certain essential principles and certain core ingredients.
    Most of the states of india, both north and south, have their own thali, though most restaurants thesedays offer three basic types — southindian, northindian and gujarati. i applaud the writer of this article for being open to the magnificent cuisines of india. Eating a thali meal at home or outside is one of the biggest pleasures one can enjoy in life.
    Sambar varieties are common to all the four southern states, though samabr is believed to be of tamil origin, just like idli and dosa. While historically associated with the south, even orissa and konkan have over time developed their versions of dosas. Dosa is probably today indias favorite national dish.
    All the southern states have their own distinct cuisines, quite different from each other. Many states have more than one culinary tradition within the same state. AP for example has andhra and hyderabadi traditions.
    Coconut oil is the major oil for kerala. Tamil nadu prefers sesame/gingilly, AP, Maharashtra, Gujarat prefer peanut oil. Bengal, UP, Punjab etc use a lot of mustard oil. Desi ghee is all-india. Coconut oil, by the way, kills all viruses, including the hiv virus. In urban areas people are switching to sunflower, safflower or corn oil everywhere it seems.

    Pakistani cuisine did not come from mars or venus. It is basically an extension of the indian family, even despite its excessive obsession over red meat.
    Recommend

  • Homa

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: Tamil cuisine is the big daddy, or the grande dame (amma) if you will, of all the south indian cuisines. Please do not call it the least “sophisticated”, whatever you mean by that. — your friendly neighborhood punjabi. Recommend

  • Rabia

    Could you please tell me how to enrolll for poppy aghas class at rabia.afaq@gmail.com? Thanks :)Recommend

  • Raghav

    I am a South Indian , brought up and living in North India. I am a foodie and like all Indian cuisines, it’s a such rich variety!!! Gujrati Food – Surati,Kathiawdi,Kuchhi, Rajastani Food, Andhra Food-Telengana, Andhra& Coastal-three varieties, Tamil- Brahmin Vegetarian dishes, and Non-veg Chettinad dishes, Kerala’s distinct cuisine, and my homestate Karnataka’s rich variety of Coastal, Udupi, Mangalorean,and North Karnataka cusine. all of them uniquely distinct.

    I have heard that Pakistan too has very rich and tasty cuisine mainly Non-vegetarian of course spicy & oily.I have tasted Pakistani dishes abroad, and all Pakistanis & Bangladeshi restaurants too refer themselves as Indian Food.Recommend

  • Homa

    @hassan: One more for your funny list: ” indian pehelwans are stronger than…”
    @anam: please share your rasam and vadas with hassan. He needs to try some yummy food.Recommend

  • Amar

    @Hassan – I was going through the comments until I came across yours and I fell of my seat laughing. On a serious note, this is just insecurity. Remember we were one country a few decades back and have cultural similarities. Recommend

  • Iceman

    @Anam Amin:
    Good first attempt. Congratulations!

    @All my fellow Indians here:
    Stop the ‘holier than thou’ attitude and bashing Anam. Common urban educated Indians/Pakistanis have a similar feeling towards each other. So what if she begins her article with “as a proud Pakistani….”? I believe she only meant to add a little masala to the article. No need to get agitated.Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    @hassan: If i like something about Pakistan that does not mean i am not a patriotic Indian”Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hain”. Love your country but be open about the rest of the world. Recommend

  • sara

    south indian cuisine is good? i was born in pakistan to south indian parents, so that means ive pretty much been treated to the entire range, and seriously, ill have pakistani food any day. . HOW does one survive on rabbit food – or, i like hassans phrase “food meant for cows” is completely beyond me. NO MEAT? no chicken? no prawn? beef? mutton? whats there to eat? “ghaas phoos?” seriously?

    and @homa, some dishes of ours r turkish in origin, such as the ubiquitous kofte (the meat variety) or some variants of naan which is persian in origin. biryani again originated in persia which later came to india.Recommend

  • sajid

    Hassan whats wrong dude If I like chinese food does that mean I become chineese?
    If I like pizza do I become italian?
    Whats wrong with liking another country’s food? Seriously leave my tastebuds alone
    Less hate and more love.Recommend

  • Homa

    @hassan: looks like another daughter of the soil (bhumiputri) has returned to her original roots through her sense of taste. i’m happy for her. Recommend

  • Homa

    @sara:
    //and @homa, some dishes of ours r turkish in origin, such as the ubiquitous kofte (the meat variety) or some variants of naan which is persian in origin. biryani again originated in persia which later came to india.//

    so i guess there is nothing original about your cuisine then, right? it’s all a kicchri — 95 % indian inspired, 5 % turkish and persian? No influence of your “ancestors”, the arabs? Recommend

  • arjun

    @sara:
    Did you read the blog ? did you read the author writing about chettinad chicken ? is that a veg dish ? And contrary to your opinion, veg food is extrememly tasty and healthy. Recommend

  • Hassan

    Good, I’ll give the recipe a try ! fingers crossedRecommend

  • arjun

    @vasan – don’t waste your time. Sara is not south indian or anything. She is just saying that to prove she has some authority to say that south indian food is bad.Recommend

  • Homa

    @vasan: dont waste your time and energy, friend. She is not of indian ancestry at all. She is from the land of camels. They are illogical and angry by nature.Recommend

  • Shafi Ahmed

    nice article,but dont know how this “ghaas” can be termed as “delicious”,im a Hyderabadi(Deccan),i go angry when i c this “ghaas”,how could this “ghaas” compete with Hyderabadi Biryani,kofte,paaye,Haleem etc.,etc.,????? in my opinion Hyderabadi cuisine is the best in d world n especially in d sub-continent. Recommend

  • Hu Jintao

    indian food got be terrible. it sucksRecommend

  • Saigeetha

    Hi,

    Nice blog…

    As a south Indian, I can vouch for the varied delicacies of this ancient and longest surviving civilization.Recommend

  • Homa

    @Shafi Ahmed: sounds like a lot of weird dead body parts Inside your guts. Gross.Recommend

  • Homa

    Hu jintao is an alias of ali tanoli and hassan and shafi are the same.Recommend

  • Jack

    @Hassan
    Thank you for the compliments – I couldnt have expressed my appreciation for all things Indian in a better manner. And if true – is an encouraging sign of openness in Pakistan that is not easily visible on the surface. (But the premise of equating a discerning palate with treason indicates that you have some serious insecurity issues that need to be addressed). I love Pak cuisine btw.Recommend

  • sara

    @vasan, sorry mate…south indian food will never have the rich tastes of nihari/biryani/korma/paye = even if they are non-veg. it cant be tasty if its not meat. theres simply no juice in it. and yes, even indian cloth is bad, at least the silk is. i havent seen much else, and judging by what i have seen of the silk, id much rather not. i dont have to say much about indian people, i think shahid afridi said enough ;)

    @arjun. i guess you didnt read what i said correctly. i am pakistani, parents were from south india. they tried to bring me up on south indian food, and eventually had to give up. mum eventually stopped trying b/c no one bothered to eat it.

    @homa, 95% indian? my my typical indian arrogance isnt it believing everything in pakistan originated from india. 95% indian? is sajji an indian dish? or kunna? or chapli kabab? or kaleji? or murg cholay? thats traditional pakistani food, from the parts of the subcontinent that fell to pakistan and not brought in by the migrants from india, which incidentally consist of only 8-9% of the total pakistani population. Recommend

  • Parvez

    No meal is complete without the right drink to accompany it. So what does one drink with a good South Indian meal ?? Water and Lassi don’t count.Recommend

  • arjun

    @sara – your parents did not migrate from south india. You just made that up ! And u speak with such contempt abt the migrants … Would a “muhajir” speak like that about his own people ? Just claiming to be of south indian origin does not give you the credibility of speaking on south indian food. Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    @Sara

    Well, ask your doctor and he will tell you to go veg for a healthy life.

    Non vegetarian food is not good for anyone. Not good for the animal, not good for the environment and not good for your health. Perhaps, if you start eating veg, you will become smart enough to understand this or you can choose to live and die ignorant. Your choice. But, right now, you are way too ignorant to reason with.Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    @Parvez…

    Who told you that “no meal is complete without the right drink”?

    Looks like you some how want to prove that South Indian meal is not good.

    Anyways, try our Buttermilk…very popular in South India. Added with ginger and green chillies and coriander leafs. Amazing drink.

    You said water doesn’t count. Why not water? Water is an amazing drink with every meal.Recommend

  • Ali

    I have travelled to South India for work and to Sri Lnaka also… food in both countries is amazing and very different from ours as is the climate. Sri Lankan food has the most mirchis ever. Another beautiful thing about South India is Bharat Natyam it is very different from Khattak and the beat is also slightly different. I enjoyed my stay in South India a lot and learnt a lot about it. It is very different from Pak and North India, also a lot more educated and civilised and safer and women are a lot more freer there. Not just the food but lots to learn from the culture and people as well!

    Good beginning and keep it up and learn more about our neighbouring country – especially the South and East which is more exotic and interesting to us as compared to North! Recommend

  • lodhi

    Someone claimed that Indian cuisines are the best in the world.I have travelled all over the world.In fact the Indian dishes of meat and Halva poori and sweats are excellent like Pakistani food.However certain Indian foods have a smell of Heeng and some spices which are horrible too.This is not my observation. I have heard certain foreigners in New Jersey, Sandie-go, Massachusetts saying so.Indians over project themselves in all fields.But they are very good in certain aspects and are lacking in some others.Kunna,Tikka,Pulao,fried fish are the best in Pakistan.Recommend

  • lodhi

    Naryana!
    If the nature wanted us to be vegetarian our teeth would have been designed so. The lion would have been a vegetarian too.Recommend

  • Mahesh Patil

    @Nandita.:
    The fanaticism of hating Pakistan is more in North India than South.Of course they have suffered the pangs of partition and one generation is grown hating Pakistan.In south you do not find people are much bothered about Pakistan.We love peace and good food. Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    @Lodhi…

    What has you becoming a vegetarian got to do with a lion being a vegetarian?

    A Lion kills a dear (and shared by many lions) for about ten days. They don’t breed like humans, multiplying in a decade.

    And the nature wants us to be vegetarians. Learn something about the Global Warning and decide.

    And if the nature wanted you to be a non-vegetarian, it wouldn’t have given you diseases like heart attacks, BP (all your red meat adding to your cholesterol), mercury poisoning (fish is the main culprit here) or bird flu (poultry is the cause here).

    If the nature wanted you to be a non-vegetarian, then you wouldn’t get all those deadly diseases that are caused by a small amount of animal feces in the meat and you would be capable of digesting raw meat (that’s natural), like a lion.Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    By the way, the most delicious fish recipes are from the south.

    Coastal Karnataka (and perhaps, Kerala too) offers some of the best fish dishes. Meenu saaru is so amazing, just the thought of it, makes my mouth water. Unfortunately, I don’t get fresh fish here in Bengaluru.Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    @Lodhi

    You are right that the claim that Indian food is the best is meaningless.

    Food should suit our taste. We like some food and we don’t some other. I don’t like all South Indian delicacies. I like Chinese and Thai. I hate Sushi. I hate Mexican. I like Italian and hate Greek.

    So…there you go.Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    @Sara

    You need vegetarian sources of proteins…lentils (dal), beans and legumes, coconut, Soya, Oatmeal, milk and mil products and all cereals do have some amount of proteins.

    So, god has given us fangs to eat meat? Then why has god also given us diseases that are caused by eating meat? Why has god made us incapable of digesting raw meat, as he wants animals to do? Are your fangs strong enough to tear through the skin and meat of an animal? Isn’t that how god created us?

    If you say, we humans have evolved…ahem ahem…that evolution has taught us that meat is not good for the environment and for our body.

    And you are wrong about eggs and milks.

    First of all, let me ask you this…do you even know what is the protein requirement of your body? I’m sure you don’t.

    It’s 1 gram of protein for every kg of our body weight. In other words, I need 67 grams of proteins. How do I get them? 1 cup of lentils – 30 grams. Half a litre of milk products – 17 grams, an egg – 7 grams. About 150 grams of rice – 12 grams. Additional 5-10 grams from various vegetables, coconuts, beans and other sources.

    If you choose to ear 100 grams of Soya, you get 50 grams of proteins.

    B12 is available in various vegetarian sources.

    Fat is obtainable from milk to coconut.Recommend

  • Shafi Ahmed

    @Anam Amin To the author n all “patriotic” pakistani’s,with due respect to u r cuisine,i as a Hyderabadi(Deccan) vouch for the fact that my Hyderabadi cuisine will stand far ahead of the pakistani cuisine.if u have doubts about this ask any food enthusiast..Hyderabadi Biryani,khorma,Tahari,paaye,Haleem,Deserts etc.,etc., will make u r food stand no where infront of Hyderabadi cuisine.. Hyderabadi cuisine is d best in d world Recommend

  • arjun

    @sara – you eat meat right ? So you are supposed to have a sharp brain right ? But that doesn’t seem the case ! Don’t try to force your thoughts on others. What you classify as boring n bland is considered to be one of the most delicious cuisines by world class chefs.

    BTW,
    Protein rich foods –
    •Milk
    •Soy Milk
    •Eggs
    •Cheese
    •Yogurt
    •Peanut Butter
    •Lean Meats, Fish, and Poultry
    •Beans, Tofu, Lentils, and other Legumes
    •Grains, including bread and pasta
    •Nuts and Seeds

    If you cuts out the meat and fish , you will see that protein can be taken in many forms. Recommend

  • Shafi Ahmed

    @Anam Amin To the author n all “patriotic” pakistani’s with due respect to u r cuisine,i as a Hyderabadi(Deccan) vouch for a fact that my cuisine will stand far ahead of the pakistani cuisine on any given day.if u have any doubts about my claim.plz u can verify with the food enthusiasts.Hyderabadi Biryani,Tahari,khorma,paaye,Haleem,various Deserts etc.,etc., will make u r cuisine stand no where infront of Hyderabadi cuisine.Hyderabadi cuisine is the best in the world Recommend

  • ukmuslim

    me too… me too..

    british traditional food is best for me…. lots of fresh salad, fish-n-chips, christmas meal with yorkshire pudding-roast turkey-root vegetables, full english breakfast, apple pies, fish pies

    and of course scotch…Recommend

  • Shafi Ahmed(Deccan)

    @Anam Amin To the author n all “patriotic” pakistani’s,with due respect to u r cuisine,i as a Hderabadi(Deccan) vouch for a fact that my cuisine will stand far ahead of the pakistani cuisine. if anyone has doubts about my claims..ask any food enthusiast.Hyderabadi Biryani,Khorma,Tahari,Paaye,Haleem,various Deserts etc., will make u r food stand no where infront of Hyderabadi cuisine.Hyderabadi cuisine is d best in d world.Recommend

  • sara

    @arjun, why dont you check what proportion of proportion of protein you get from meat versus all of the rest? and bread and pasta are primarily CARBOHYDRATES and not protein oriented food, so thats at least one mistake i caught in your list. dairy and eggs are weak sources of proteins which means you need to consume more of them to meet your requirement of protein. 100 ml of milk is only about 4 grams of protein, eggs are 6 grams each approx. nuts and seeds are consumed primarily for fat content rather than for protein. vegetables only give you up to 5-6 grams maximum of your protein, thats 1/16 of your protein requirements, which is no where enough to make your muscles strong. if you want to throw theories of nutrition at me, let me also very kindly inform you that you can never eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can meat because fruits and vegetables are also high on fibre, which make you fill up faster. also too much fibre (i.e. fruits and vegetables) actually ends up giving you diarrhoea and dehydration.

    and besides, are you trying to tell me you cant catch diseases with milk or vegetables or fruit? meat only makes you sick if its not cooked properly or if its gone off. try a glass of bad milk or stuff yrself full with vegetables and see where it lands you. and perhaps you never heard the term “lactose intolerant” if you are trying to tell me that its only meat that cant be processed by the body. if you were meant NOT to eat meat, you’d never have the canines at the front of your mouth, and if you cant differentiate b/w the nature and shape of a canine and a fang i cant help you. Recommend

  • Shafi Ahmed(Deccan)

    @Author To the author and all “patriotic” pakistani’s,with due respect to u r cuisine,i as a Hyderabadi(Deccan) vouch for a fact that my cuisine will stand far ahead of the pakistani cuisine.if anyone has any doubts about my claim then ask any food enthusiasts.Hyderabadi Biryani,Qorma,Tahari,Paaya,Haleem,various Deserts etc.,will make u r cuisine stand nowhere infront of Hyderabadi cuisine.Hyderabadi cuisine is d best in d world.. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Well, I like that you tried something different. Be proud.

    But, even food in India is so complex! Just in my state Karnataka, there is so much variety. Just today we had gone out to have North Karnataka food, which contains Rotti(Not to be mistaken with Roti) and few really really spicy gravy. And, I have at home a typical Brahmin, starch filled food engineered to give a body a healthy and a peaceful mind.

    And, there is Mangalore(West Karnataka) food, which I dont think much of but my friends cant get enough of it. So, in a state the size of Pakistani Punjab, there is so much variation, imagine how it is like in each and every state in India!

    24 recognized languages, 27 states, 100s of dialects, variety of looks, 1000s of cultures, dozens and dozens of Cuisines. That’s India for you.

    I always say this. You stand in any part of India and move 100 kilometres in any direction. Suddenly weather changes, people seem to have a different complexion, the outfit changes, food changes, languages change. The beauty of India is that you are always a minority, who ever you are.Recommend

  • http://investorpedia.blogspot.com Investorpedia

    South Indian Thali is incomplete without the tasty Rasam.Recommend

  • Dee Cee

    I am Indian and I like North West Frontier cuisine. And Malabari too (no ghas foos for me). And Lakhnavi biryani, not the Hyderabadi one. And beef kebab in Calcutta. And like all Indians, my fellow countrymen have conveniently forgotten the gastronomic treasure trove in the north-east (yummy pork preparations). I can have rasam on a sick day, but give me Pakistani stuff any time (haven’t tasted it, but I’m sure they know how to cook meat). Fish and deserts from Bengal, steaks and sea food from Mumbai, and chicken from Coorg. Rajasthani camel meat, tribal-cooking in MP, and rabri from Banaras. However, only a fraction of it is world class in presentation (like sushi). Taste–to each their own! Peace! :) Recommend

  • Homa

    @Anoop: Very well put Anoop. We celebrate diversity and difference. Life is beautiful, full of richness and culture, if you have a sense of belonging in the midst of all the diversity in this creation.

    I love all the cuisines of india, they are all mine. I recently learnt how to make sagu, a dish from karnataka, from a friend. I consider myself a foodie and an expert chef when it comes to all the different indian as well as international cuisines but i did not even know about something as wonderful as sagu until so recently, proving there is so much incredible variety in india. Sagu is eaten with whole wheat puris and is a classic combination. Its an amazing thick gravy based dish, bursting with the amazing flavors of karnataka.

    The delightful dishes that the writer of this blog has discovered is indeed the proverbial tip of the iceberg as somebody said. Im excited for her that she has decided to embark on a quest to familiarize herself with what she herself calls the “endless range” of indian cuisine. She is going to discover a huge never ending universe of terrific food. I congratulate her again for coming out of her self-limiting shell and her misconceptions.

    By the way everybody, today is Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate food, friendship, sharing, and the abundance of nature. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!Recommend

  • Homa

    @lodhi: Lions do not cook their meat before eating it. Eat raw uncooked meat first and then talk about lions.Recommend

  • Eruve

    @Sara

    Maybe it is just that your mother is a bad cook. Just saying:-) Recommend

  • Homa

    @Eruve: I think your guess is correct. Who after all puts chanas in a chicken dish? The saying must be true, “there aint no cure for dumb.”Recommend

  • Homa

    @Sarah B. Haider: I like Poppy Agha too. She’s really sweet. She must be a great teacher as well, im sure.Recommend

  • anam amin

    @The Reader:
    Hey guys, I really appreciate all your comments and since it’s my first post here also, possibly my last..I’d like to take the effort to respond to every single one of you. before I go on, I’d like those of you who’ve been disappointed by the statement ” i grew up detesting indians” to please check out my “ORIGINAL” post that’s supposedly been rephrased into that by the editor without my knowledge. I understand my writing’s not well refined but it’ll take a few minutes, please check the link out.

    http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com/2011/05/south-indian-thali.html :)Recommend

  • anam amin

    @Nandita.:
    Hey nandita, Thankyou for you response. What was written is extremely unacceptable. This is a ET’s editors version which was supposedly rephrashed without my knowledge.

    I understand my writing is quite refined but please take a few minutes out and check

    http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com/2011/05/south-indian-thali.html

    I have so many wonderful Indian friends, I’d never getaway with that statement and actually having it published, Appreciate your politeness though:)

    ThanksRecommend

  • Raj

    @ Sara

    ‘Pakistani cultural identity’ comes from the Arabian desert. At the same time, the Afghans and the Iranians know their roots- a fact that confuses a typical Pakistani. Pakistan is what India is not. But Indians are Indians period. The cable operators in Punjab and Sind protested when Indian channels were banned in Pakistan. The cable operators of Khyber Pakhtunwa protested when Afghan channels were banned. Try reading Ayesha Jalal to learn more about your country. You and Shahid Afridi are the ‘Pakistani Studies’ generation and nothing more is expected from you. And FYI South Indian cuisine is not limited to veg. There is the Kerala beef fry, Aleppey fish curry, Malabar lamb masala and ‘panni ulathiyathu’ and ‘karimeen pollichathu’. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners visit Kerala to try these dishes every year. Millions visit India to learn about our culture. Everybody knows the fate of foreigners visiting Pakistan including the ill fated American hip hop band Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    @SM: I really was!! I can’t wait to find out more!! I have India on my places to visit…though I’m quite sure, the extravagant culture and variety India posses…it’ll take me along long time to even get close to mastering the art of Indian cuisine however whatever I’ve learnt so far has been an absolute delight:DRecommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    Sounds wonderful!! thankyou so much.. I’ll definately give it a shot :) @Yuri Kondratyuk: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: opps I meant definitely *Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    @vasan: Thanks Vasan, I’m alien to the world of south Indian cuisine..let alone Indian. I’ll work on it;)Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    Thanks for the comment acorn guts, I believe your remark was a result of this articles opening post. Please read http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com/2011/05/south-indian-thali.html … I don’t discriminate…I was very simply expressing my discovery. This post is edited version of my actual post. Anyhow, glad you liked it regardless of that statement @Acorn Guts: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    I do not detest Indians!! I have wonderful Indian friends!! this is the edited version of my actual post… http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com/2011/05/south-indian-thali.html takke a look! @JatPunjabi: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    Thankyouu!! check out my blog :) http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com @Sarah B. Haider: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    I’ve seen pictures from my friend’s who come from there and It looks heavenly!! it’s topping my to travel places :) Thank you for your comment!! @MD: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    Thanks. Is that so? I do believe you’re an individual with your own opinon cause based on my research Pongol is made in several different ways savory or sweet can be served anytime of the day.. depends what you’re having it with. it’s quite fascinating how many recipes you can find on pongol…I doubt they’re all breakfast material but on your note i’ll take another look. thanks anyway =] @ashok sai: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    Hahah absolutely not… before I go on.. please check out my blog whenever you get time…http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com I haven’t posted anything pakistani YET…if your read the description you’ll notice that the blog is about me exploring out of my comfort zone. I’m going to sardar and finding out the crazy tasting biryani recipe tweeking it and going to post it someday…that should make up for something? I’m dying to explore the Pakistani heritage from the real sources. believe it or not it’s an on going project

    You drill into it a bit too much…I’m in this field and it’s only fair that I learn different cultures and I stand by you when you said we have so much to offer. anyhow, thanks for your comment :) @hassan: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    absolutely!! Pakistani cuisine is indescribable! http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com this is my blog and I’ll be updating pakistani recipes from the best!! this is until you visit pakistan ofcourse or even Dubai!! some places great places I’d happily guide you to :) Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    thankyouu!! :)@Iceman: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    I wouldn’t disagree on that! but my post is just an innocent discovery =] nothing else. http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com/2011/05/south-indian-thali.html I’ve been exploring Hyderabadi sweet and will soon upload recipes on them. =] @Shafi Ahmed: Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    Alright, I managed to reply vaguely to whoever possible. I didn’t see this coming lol Anyhow, to end this I just want to clarify that this was just a harmless attempt to try something different with all good intentions. I’m not sure if you’ll be seeing more of me here (the very beginning of this post didn’t feel like myself) If this is how editing works…I’ll stick to my naive personal space but if you’d like too see more of me…just visit my blog :)

    Thanks everyone for all the comments!! Recommend

  • Sid

    @Anam Amin : It is a very delightful topic. I firmly believe if we focus on what is common in us, the cultural background, traditions, food habits……Indians and Pakistanis will make best of friends. It is unfortunate that quite many of us live in past and focus on our little unimportant differences. Anyways, great article, I myself am fond of occasional cooking and love our Indian Pakistani cuisine. Your recipe was to the spot, keep up the good work. Recommend

  • malik

    Allah created vegetation so that vegetarian animals can eat them.

    Then Allah created other carnivore animals so that they can eat the vegetarian animals.

    Allah created animals so that we can eat them. If we don’t eat them, then it is equal to showing disrespect to Allah.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    @Homa:

    I can claim that the best Sagu is prepared by my Grandmother. After eating Sagu made by her for so many years, I have begin to dislike any other kind. Eating any Puri with Sagu which doesn’t match up to her dish doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe the missing ingredient in other Sagu is the love.

    I miss you, Ajji. Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @Anam – Thanks for your comment. That’s one member less in the ” Hate club ” :) I don’t know how editing works either but keep writing. Not let one bad experience pull you down.
    @Anoop – Any good places in bangalore where i could get good tamilian style rassam ?Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Anam Amin :
    Your question on Pongal;
    There are 3 varieties. What is called “Venn pongal” is a breakfast item cooked with rice and dhall as the main content, Added ingradients are Pepper (broken), Cashew etc. Eaten with Coconut chutney and/or Tamarind paste , it is one of the common breakfast item in Tamilnadu available in all hotels.

    Sweet Pongal and Milk pongal are lunch items and made mainly once in a year during the Pongal festival (Jan 14th) which is a farmers festival, The newly harvested rice is used for this POngal and is a very sumptuos lunch . The Milk pongal has its own side dish and the Sweet pongal is taken as a desert (There are sub varieties too, one made with sugar another made with jaggery)
    Apart from these varieties there are other varieties of pongal also,. But my knowledge is nothing on that as mum and wife cook only the above three.Recommend

  • http://anamsfoodlog.blogspot.com anam amin

    @Sid: Thankyou :)

    All those inquiring about Poppy Agha’s classes.. Please visit

    http://www.facebook.com/PoppysCulinaryInstituteRecommend

  • Amar

    @anam amin:
    This chat is making my tummy rumble. One more suggestion – try Lucknavi and Awadhi cousine. I am sure you will not be disappointed – my favorite is kakori kebab, Galawati Kebab and Lucknavi Biryani (which is very different from Pakistani and Hyderabadi versions. Veg Tahiri is also a favorite.
    Cheers,Recommend

  • Milestogo

    I like Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian…

    All food is tastey when you are hungry.

    I would love to try Pakistani but for some reason never felt like going to a Pakistani restaurant…Recommend

  • Saigeetha

    @Anoop
    ’24 recognized languages, 27 states, 100s of dialects, variety of looks, 1000s of cultures, dozens and dozens of Cuisines. That’s India for you.

    I always say this. You stand in any part of India and move 100 kilometres in any direction. Suddenly weather changes, people seem to have a different complexion, the outfit changes, food changes, languages change. The beauty of India is that you are always a minority, who ever you are’

    Very well said!!. Thats why India is called the ‘Sub-Continent’.Recommend

  • sajid

    If God didn’t want us to eat animals why did he make them so tasty?Recommend