I have never been a fan of idli. I used to resent whenever my mom made idli, no matter what chutney was there to pair it with. My childhood brain thought no side dish can redeem a steamed blob of bland dough. If young Oliver Twist had been given idli, he might have said, “Give me less” instead.
Despite my mom’s protests, my dietary history was woven by a web of two minute noodles. Dosa was the other favorite. My father was the in-house brand ambassador for idli. He seized every opportunity to praise it, as if it’s the food of the gods.
When I went for counseling to AIIMS ,Delhi with him, he refused to eat local food! We roamed around to find the perfect idli. Truth be told, I had less trouble getting a rank in the entrance than getting the right flavour of idli sambar. We zeroed in on a Karnataka hotel .I got confused by a sambar that tasted suspiciously like our payasam😀
Later I finished residency and eventually became a consultant.
Today as I am sitting in the buffet of a resort in Goa, there are more dishes than I can count with my fingers and toes.Some of them I can’t even pronounce properly. Indian, Chinese and even Portuguese cuisine were lined up neatly.
I picked up idli instead, almost involuntarily. With age, I m becoming like my dad. I don’t know if some genes switch on at a time. Perhaps it’s midlife culinary crisis.
The idli was ok. The sambar flavor wasn’t quite “right”. Yet it gives me immense pleasure.
My tryst with idli has come a full circle.