The intention of this blog is only to share the collections. Inadvertently if any file is under copyright, please intimate me so that it can be removed forthwith.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

VETHA KUZHAMBHU AND VENGAYA SAMBAR

This blog posting from "kramans.blogspot.com" was sent by Mr. Anantharaman Tarakkad. I liked it and felt like sharing with you.


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

If Valmiki and Vyasa took Indian Epic writing to its pinnacle of glory, if Shakespeare and Milton lent lustre to English Literature, if Lindwall and Miller tormented the batsmen the world over and always haunted in pair, if Gandhiji and Vinobhaji instilled spirituality in politics, Vetha Kuzhambhu and Vengaya Sambar, demonstrate the Tamil Brahmin's culinary skill at its sharpest best.
Vetha Kuzhambu and Vengaya sambar, like Sehwag and Sachin, would always dominate the scene and that is the reason perhaps they are not served on plantain leaves in marital lunches. Any other sambar, needs the support of a thair pacchadi, avial, olan, parrupu usili and karakari, to survive the lunch. Remove the support of the various vegetables save one and sambar would surrender at once - a roaring lion, only when there is a retinue around. Not Vengaya Sambar. It can stand its ground in testing time. When Vengaya Sambar is around, like one's own wife, who would glance at Avial or pacchadi, mere coquettes, though they may have inviting looks?

"In small things we just beauty see,
In short measure, life may perfect be",


says Shakespeare in one of his sonnets, underlying the fact that it is the small vengayam that we are talking about. In Travancore, small vengayam is called ulli or Eerulli. The larger one doesn't deserve a treatise to write about.

Vetha Kuzhambu and Vengaya Sambar can conquer the world with the help of a single vegetable to play a subordinate role, as Kapil Dev played that world conquering game, with Syed Kirmani at the other end. When Concerns in Mumbai served Vengaya Sambar with Potato karakari on Thursdays, a serpentine queue with saliva oozing out, would wait for hours. If no vegetable is available, Vetha Kuzhambu can still hold its sway with the help of a roasted appalam. Sorry my Palakkad brothers and sisters.  Our pappadam cannot measure upto the expectations of Vetha Kuzhambu. They are not made for each other. It is always ensnared by the amorous advances of  appalam.

I prepared only vetha kuzhambhu and chutta appalam today, a Thanjavur Mami, would murmur in humility, oblivious of the fact that the aroma from her kitchen has already reached eight houses ahead in her Agraharam. Chutta appalam, like chundaikai  or karela, can also immerse in Vetha kuzhambhu, reiterating the fact that it is part of the household and not a mere catalytic agent.

And yet, we deny them their legitimate place in marriage lunches; instead we relegate them to the light dinner on the marriage day when all the ceremonies are over and only a few are around. Why treat your best batsmen as tailenders? Is it because all other vegetables have ganged up to isolate Vetha Kuzhambhu and Vengaya Sambar, so that they too are noticed? Would it be a blasphemy if we serve Vetha Kuzhambhu and Vengaya Sambar in saddhies of Sasta preetis, instead of several vegetables and varieties of payasams? After all payasams were dictated by palate and not prescribed by Shastras.

Idli and Mulagapodi are always made for each other. And yet, Chutney and Vengaya Sambar are not looked upon as the 'the other woman'. What more, Vengaya Sambar can also lend legitimacy to Idli and dosai and take them to dizzy heights.


If Vengaya Sambar and Potato Karakari is unparalleled, Koorkai, Chenai and Banana also go well with it. It does not need  varieties of vegetables or pathnis as it strictly follows Lord Sriram.It chooses one and remains loyal. However, Vetha Kuzhambhu is too strong a personality to entertain Idli and Dosai. It prefers to stand alone or mingle with a few lesser mortals. It is a little complex personality and yet has popular appeal.

One needs the arbitrating skills of a Solomon Pappaya to decide whether Vengaya Sambar emerges out better when prepared with Sambar Powder or ground coconut and other ingredients. To put in Brahminical tamil, whether Podi potta sambar scores over arachuvitta sambar, if Vengayam is the main ingredient?  I am for one, is a protagonist of vengaya sambar, prepared with sambar powder. The vengayam here is endowed with a rare ability, as the overcast sky does to a swing bowler. When ground coconut is used, the sharpness of Vengayam is bludgeoned as the effectiveness of a pace bowler is, in a flat wicket. Fortunately, Vetha Kuzhambhu does not face such a threat from coconut. I may be torn into pieces by some of the well known professional cooks or mamas and mamis from Palakkad for this sacrilegious statement. It is availability that dictates the ingredients and develop the taste.

One major area where Vetha Kuzhambhu differs from its brother Vengaya Sambar is in longevity. As some of its ingredients are basically preservatives, Vetta Kuzhambhu is blessed with a longer shelf life. Vengaya sambar suffers from Balarishtams if not alpa-ayusu.

Vengaya Sambar, as the very name suggests, leans on good quality small onions, for survival. Vetha Kuzhambhu does not need such singular support. It needs varieties of ingredients and deft handling which is available aplenty in Thanjavur and Trichi. (yours truly is a poor soul from Travancore).

It is not Sandhya Vandhanam or various other rituals that  bench mark brahminical eminence. Ability to prepare, enjoy and evaluate quality Vetha Kuzhambhu and Vengaya Sambar that marks brahminical endowments.

Let young mothers and fathers dissuade their children from Pav Bhaji and Pani poori and instead eulogise them, if they show proclivity towards Vengaya Sambar and Vetha Kuzhambhu.

And finally, let me make a Marxian appeal. Brahminical youth, unite! You have nothing to lose except polluted and contaminated pav bhajis and pani poories and a world with Vetha Kuzhambhu and Vengaya Sambar to gain.


Blogger Saras said...
When I read the post I could smell the inevitable aroma of Vengaya sambar and vetha kuzhambu floating in the Air. Tanks Mr.Vaidya for sharing it.
February 13, 2011 5:44 PM
Delete
Blogger Hemalatha said...
Dear Sir, How True ! Very often it is the Tailenders who save the Match. Similarly,serving Vetha Kuzhambu on the last day of marriage is done so that everyone will remember it and the taste will linger for long. When we return after a long and tired journey it is the Vetha Kuzhambu which we all look forward to and relish. It is so light in the tummy that we look forward to it so often. Regards
February 13, 2011 6:14 PM
Blogger BHASKARAN19 said...
வத்த குழம்பு படத்தை பார்த்தவுடன் நாக்கில் தண்ணி ஊருகிறது , அதோடு இந்த வடையும் சேர்த்தல் இன்னும் சூப்பராக இருக்கும் http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQiy8OyrwGQ
Blogger PriyaV said...
Aaha...yenna arumai! Now I am hungry....
February 14, 2011 10:35 PM
Blogger cvsmuthy said...
When I read this lovely, if I may be permitted to say so, Ode on Vengaya sambar and Vetha kuzambu I recollect the definition give by my erstwhile teachers of fifties on Idly. It goes like this 'Idly is a ship sailing on river sambar on the banks of chutney".
February 21, 2011 8:24 PM
Blogger Mahadevan said...
The article "Vetta Khuzhambu and Vengaya Sambar was written by me and sent to iyer 123.com on 31st January and they carried it the following day. Many readers of iyer123.com copied and few have displayed it in their post. Only the original article was written by me and recipe, pictures of Vetta Khuzhambhu are not mine. They are the additions of the bloggers. The original article under my signature V.Mahadevan is available in the Messages Section of iyer.123 in Yahoo groups.
March 18, 2011 1:41 PM

Blogger Sruti said...

I have been reading articles in your blog at random.. especially the ones around Carnatic music. Good ones. In this particular post, the lines that have been quoted ("In small things we just beauty see,In short measure, life may perfect be") as from Shakespeare, I think actually are from Ben Jonson in his sonnet "Nature".

Regards
Sruti
November 20, 2011 1:57 PM

7 comments:

Saras said...

When I read the post I could smell the inevitable aroma of Vengaya sambar and vetha kuzhambu floating in the Air. Tanks Mr.Vaidya for sharing it.

Hemalatha said...

Dear Sir,
How True ! Very often it is the Tailenders who save the Match. Similarly,serving Vetha Kuzhambu on the last day of marriage is done so that everyone will remember it and the taste will linger for long. When we return after a long and tired journey it is the Vetha Kuzhambu which we all look forward to and relish. It is so light in the tummy that we look forward to it so often. Regards

BHASKARAN19 said...

வத்த குழம்பு படத்தை பார்த்தவுடன் நாக்கில் தண்ணி ஊருகிறது , அதோடு இந்த வடையும் சேர்த்தல் இன்னும் சூப்பராக இருக்கும்




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQiy8OyrwGQ

__._,_.__http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwuahn9OFxw&feature=related_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwuahn9OFxw&feature=related

PriyaV said...

Aaha...yenna arumai! Now I am hungry....

cvsmuthy said...

When I read this lovely, if I may be permitted to say so, Ode on Vengaya sambar and Vetha kuzambu I recollect the definition give by my erstwhile teachers of fifties on Idly. It goes like this 'Idly is a ship sailing on river sambar on the banks of chutney".

Mahadevan said...

The article "Vetta Khuzhambu and Vengaya Sambar was written by me and sent to iyer 123.com on 31st January and they carried it the following day. Many readers of iyer123.com copied and few have displayed it in their post. Only the original article was written by me and recipe, pictures of Vetta Khuzhambhu are not mine. They are the additions of the bloggers.

The original article under my signature V.Mahadevan is available in the Messages Section of iyer.123 in Yahoo groups.

Sruti said...

I have been reading articles in your blog at random.. especially the ones around Carnatic music. Good ones. In this particular post, the lines that have been quoted ("In small things we just beauty see,In short measure, life may perfect be") as from Shakespeare, I think actually are from Ben Jonson in his sonnet "Nature".

Regards
Sruti