This morning’s newspaper carried a horrible new item – Iddli and Sambhar are the worst enemies for the heart and also the major cause for diabetes. The medicos claim that Tamil Nadu has the second largest number of diabetics in the country.
Iddli, vadai and sambhar are the most favourite breakfast items for any South Indian, not Tamilians alone. You can get iddlis right from Kanya kumari to Nagpur. This covers all the four Southern states.
An NRI shouts from across the seas that iddlis are available in New York streets as well. Also in England, conveys another Indian from London.
So, if the medicos and diabetes foundations want the South Indians to give up iddlis, they are asking for the Sun to shed its sheen ! The Sangam literature has a reference to iddlis. The southerners started consuming iddlis from around the year 920 CE. How can a food item of some 1100 years’ standing could suddenly vanish from the breakfast table? As of now, it is the main dish for breakfast and dinner in most of the homes. Some wouldn’t mind it for lunch also. In fact, majority of the office and factory workers eat iddlis for lunch as well. Wives would find it easier to pack up four or six iddlis with sambhar in a tiffin box than stuffing it with rice, samhar and a few vegetable side dishes for lunch of their men folk. Iddli is a popular item for the evening snack too. Thus it is a staple food for the entire day. A Southerner could live on iddlis alone!
That being so, is it correct on the part of the medical scientists and Diet researchers asking us to give it up because it has the potential to give you heart attack and diabetes?? This revelation was made at a conference on “Nutrition in Metabolic Disorders” at Women’s Christian college, Chennai a couple of days back. I am sure when these gentlemen went home after the seminar, they would have been served a liberal plate of iddlis and steaming sambhar by their wives. Do you think they would have rejected the snack as being dangerous material? No, brother, they would have walloped the iddlis with great relish
We have devoted much time for iddli and sambhar. Vadai is an essential partner to iddlis. Iddli and vadai constitute a pair and could never be separated.
The NRIs in America and England could have got accustomed to eggs and toast for breakfast. But did they kick out iddli and vadai and sambhar from their menu.? Never. A South Indian may give up smoking and hard liquor but never iddli, vadi and sambhar.
Iddli is always served in pairs and never singly. The presentation part is very important. Each piece should be well shaped without any frills dangling here and there along its perimeter or its contour dented in any way. Your appetite will shoot up when you see a well shaped and fat looking iddli in front of your eyes..
And yet I find some eateries manufacturing them in odd shapes and sizes and serving them with tasteless chutneys or sambhar which is most watery without the flavour of sambhar in it. Wrong. Don’t ruin the sanctity of the fragrance and aroma of sambhar.