Sunday, January 29, 2006

IMBB #22: Idiappam and Stew

Every month, the "Is My Blog Burning" (IMBB) event challenges food bloggers with a different theme. This month, Amy of "Cooking With Amy" (the first food blog I ever read!) has challenged us with the theme NOODLES!. Almost every cuisine in the world has its favorite noodles, and my personal favorites are the Italian spaghetti ( I love it in a tomato-cheese sauce, the way my mom made it), Chinese egg noodles (I love making huge messy stir-fries with all kinds of veggies and chunks of tofu or strands of fried eggs), and I confess, I routinely crave these ramen-like instant noodles called Maggi Noodles.

I can't resist sharing a couple of "Maggi" stories here...while I was growing up in a small town in India, there was almost no concept of instant foods. Everything was always cooked from scratch (people even bought whole grains and took them down to the local grain-mill to be ground into flour). One day when I was in primary school, some people showed up and gave away these small yellow packs to all the kids. That was the marketing launch by Nestle of its instant noodles, the first instant food to hit the shelves. Every single Indian my age is a life-long lover of Maggi noodles, so that was one successful marketing strategy. Their "bas do-minut" (only 2-minutes) ad jingle likewise is etched in my memory. Later on, when I was doing my post-grad in Bombay, there was a small "Maggi shack" on campus. It sold tea and coffee and well as Maggi noodles; and get this, "Maggi pakodas", fried snacks using cooked maggi noodles dunked in chickpea batter (instead of the usual veggies)! I know this sounds gross, but we consumed them in vast quantities. The things I ate in college...boy are those days gone forever!

But no, I am not making a batch of Maggi for this IMBB. India is not a big noodle place, I find. The only noodles commonly used are super-thin vermicelli ("seviyan") used to make a dessert or sometimes cooked into a savory dish ("upma"). In the local Indian store, I came upon these noodles in the frozen-foods section, called Idiappam. The name sounded vaguely familiar. I looked it up and found that these are nests of rice noodles made by extruding rice flour dough from a sieve-mold and steaming the resulting noodles. It seems to be a favorite breakfast dish in the coastal Southern Indian state of Kerala and in the neighboring island of Sri Lanka. The cuisines of Kerala and Sri Lanka are quite similar...both are spice and coconut-growing regions. The idiappam ( I bought the frozen ones and simply reheated them in the microwave) are traditionally served with a meat-and-potato stew. I made a stew using "Veat", a fake meat (I use fake-meat products rarely, but wanted to try this brand).
Idiappam
The result was a wonderful lunch...the soft bland noodles are delicious when dipped into the spicy flavorful curry! Thank you, Amy, for hosting this event. I loved trying these noodles for the first time! Recipe for the stew follows.

Stew

(serves 4-5, adapted from this recipe)
Ingredients:
1 packet Veat gourmet bites
1 small onion, chopped
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp clove powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste
2 tbsp minced cilantro
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Method
1. Saute onions in oil till slightly browned.
2. Add ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves and saute for a minute more.
3. Add all the spices and salt and saute for a few seconds.
4. Add the potato, coconut milk, vinegar and veat bites and simmer (without boiling) for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
5. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

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10 comments:

  1. Hi Nupur - the stew sounds wonderful...what did you think of the Veat?

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  2. Nupur..what a coincidence! Idiyappam is what I made for the IMBB event. Great minds think alike?:)

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  3. hi nupur ...
    have been follwing ur blog as frequently as ur posting :)
    am from karnataka and we call this otthushyavige ( vermicelli which is doen using a press ( tool)).. my mother says that making food increases prosperity at home ... and there are two fav ways of eating this. One is with sweet coconut milk( which is coconut+ jaggery+eliachi) another is chicken curry made with coconut milk.. and yes lower half of karnataka is fond of cocunut and spicey food especially in the coorg and south kanara region.
    Keep going ur blog is just to great ,
    Meera

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  4. Looks very appetising! Great entry to IMBB, Nupur.

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  5. Hey, we Tamilians make it too! :)
    I agree, it's a very yummy meal!

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  6. Most people arent aware of noodles in Indian cuisine. This is such a tasty dish

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  7. Nupur,

    I'm so glad that I found your blog. It's fantastic!

    Great post and wonderful dish!

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  8. Hi Cathy, the veat was good, but a bit too "meaty" for my taste :)

    Gini, you actually MADE idiappam ( and so beautifully too! ) while I defrosted it :) you are miles ahead of me!

    Hi Meera, wow, lots of interesting info there...thanks so much for writing the comment. making food certainly increases propserity in my home (saving all that money spent on take-out, cafeteria lunches and junk food!) :)

    Hi Indira, thanks!

    Kay, I did not know it was a popular dish all over south india! Now i have to learn how to really make it from scratch.

    Hi Ashwini, I myself learnt about this dish only very recently!

    Hi Ivonne, thanks, and I'm glad you stopped by!

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  9. Great Post Nupur - Again, this is a popular dish in Tamil Nadu as well where it goes by the name of "Sevai". It is usually served with a spicy gravy side as well as with sweetened coconut milk.

    Look forward to reading more!

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  10. I know this is a old post. Still I just landed in your blog for the first time. I usually make idiappam using murukku press and idli stand. It's very famours in Karaikudi and they serve with kurma. Photos are excellent and I hope the dish too. I am a vegetarian and cannot try. But good info

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