August 30, 2011
How to eat a Mallu Wedding-Sadhya: a step-by-step guide
*Image courtesy Google Images
Before I start the class, it is important that I ask a very pertinent question:-
Are you a speed-eater?
If your answer is (a), you don’t need my help. Go ahead my friend! Pig out!
If your answer is no, read on. Take accurate notes.
Step 1:- Take a good long look at the plantain leaf in front of you. Chances are, you won’t recognize half the things on it. Take a chance and start tasting them anyways.
Step 2:- Start eating and finish off half the things on the leaf before they come with the rice. Because once they bring out the big basket of rice, it’s a race against time. (That could make a good action-film title, no? “Sadhya- the race against time…”)
Step 3:- Have you finished eating half the things? Good.
Now once you see the servers approaching with the basket of rice, get into position. Position is- right hand to the side of the leaf, with the palm closed together to form a cone. This way, you can save the bother of getting your hands into position later.
Step 4:- Once they serve the rice.. Oops, pardon me. Once they dump the rice onto your leaf, get to work immediately. The first thing to do is make a hole in the centre of the mound of rice, like a well. Then break the pappadam into small pieces and keep it ready.
Step 5:- When the servers bring the dal and ghee, they will know where to pour it once they see your leaf. If you’ve already dug the well, good for you. If not, good luck washing your expensive silk saree/mundu.
Step 6:- Now is when the actual challenge begins. Here on, you need complete concentration. Do not look left or right, do not wonder at the colour of the dal or size of the rice, do not admire neighbour-aunty’s saree and do not indulge in idle chit-chat. Remember, if anyone’s trying to make small-talk, they’re only doing it to distract you.
Start mixing the rice and dal and ghee together. If you want, you can add one of the other assortments also. Don’t bother about chewing and all. Remember to eat the other side-items at regular intervals.
Step 7:- Before you can finish your dal and rice, they will bring more rice and sambar. Do not fret. Just move the dal-rice to one side of your leaf and make space for the fresh batch of rice and for sambar. In between, take half a second to make a well in the rice.
Step 8: For the time-being, forget about the dal-rice that lost the race to time. Concentrate on your sambar-rice. Break pappadam -> Mix in sambar-rice -> Eat it ->a bite of side-item. This is the order to follow. By now, you should have finished most of the things on the leaf. If not, buck up!
Step 9:- Before you can finish the sambar-rice, they will bring out the payasam. Move the sambar-rice to one corner and make space for payasam. Eat the payasam fast, because there’s not one more, but two, possibly three, more following. Finish the first round of payasam. If you haven’t, it’s ok. They all taste pretty much the same anyways. So even if the second payasam is poured on top of the first, it won’t make THAT much of a difference. This same law can be applied to all the following rounds of payasams. They will bring boli in between, to eat with the paal-payasam. If you’re the adventurous will-try-anything-once type, go for it. For added kicks, mix a banana also into it.
Step 10:- Once all the rounds of payasam are over, your banana leaf will resemble a rangoli that has been messed up by the neighbour’s bratty kids. Many colours, but you can’t figure out which belongs to what. After all this, they will bring rasam, puliserry and moru (buttermilk). If you still have the energy, have those as well.
Step 11:- Ah wait! You thought it’s over? Not so fast! Do you remember the dal-rice and sambar-rice that you abandoned for tastier treats? Who’ll finish them? The uncle sitting in front of you? Chalo, now move those two mounds to the centre of the leaf. Mix them both together. Then put whatever else is remaining on your leaf into this mixture. Mix very well. Then take a deep breath and eat this concoction. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to you. Your stomach has been subjected to enough already. This won’t make a difference.
Step 12:- Fold the leaf neatly, to signal the end of your roller-coaster ride. Have some of the piping-hot water that’s sure to burn your tongue. And yes, because you can’t afford to spare 3 bucks for a lemon in the market, pocket the lemon that came along with the meal. Nothing to be ashamed of.
There.. you’re ready now. Go out there and face the world! Err… I mean, the sadhya.
And don’t forget to let out a loud burp at the end of it all!
(After-effects of having gone for a wedding and eaten a sadhya. *BURP!!*)
Posted by Spaceman Spiff