This plate features rice and dal, with a dollop of ghee. To go with this, there is sauteed spinach, vazhaikkai, some dry mango pickle, mor molagai, and fryums.


Everything on this plate is actually easy to prepare. Dal is such a plain dish, but if you have got the right accompaniments to the meal, it is a killer dish. Rice and dal with a bit of ghee is divine food. Of course, one does not want to write about the supremacy of ghee. Google it.

Spinach, or cheera as we call it, is left to cook in water in the same pan after one has sauteed onions in some oil. To this, some salt, and some red chillies are added depending on taste. This is primarily a very bland dish with no heat and no spice.

Vazhaikkai is raw banana. The skin is peeled off and it is sliced in 1/4 inch thickness and then quartered. These pieces are then semi-cooked with turmeric and then cooked completely with salt, pepper and grated coconut. If a dash of coconut oil is added, the taste is enhanced even more. Again a fairly bland dish, if one is not over enthusiastic with the pepper. (This is a good dish to have when one has a cold, if one adds more pepper!) Besides, the matriarch always insists on vazhaikkai in some form at least once a week since it is good for the gut.

Sun dried mango pickle and the mor molagai are for the hint of heat and spice. Mor molagai are nothing but green chillies which are marinated in curd and salt. Then sun-dried. End of day they are once again coated with the curd mix, and the next day they are sun-dried again. This goes on for a few days. When they are completely dry, you are ready. Take a few fry them up in oil, and have with rice or dosa. Making a batch means you are set for months. Of course, these are also readily available in stores.

I guess this is plenty evidence of a balanced meal, or so I’d like to think.

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