Before I came to India, this is what I saw in my mind when I thought about rice:
That’s right. Good ‘ole semi-sticky white grains in desperate need of gravy. Fascinating stuff, right?
After I lived in Tamil Nadu, India, my rice-related mental vocabulary… expanded.
Reader, meet Idli and Dosai. Idli and Dosai, meet Reader. Good. Now that you’re all acquainted, let me tell you what you’ve been missing.
These are made from a batter of fermented rice and lentils that is either steamed or fried.
They are gloriously good. Tongue-gasmiscally good. They are hold-on-a-second-while-I-look-at-flight-tickets-to-Chennai good.
They are accompanied by a chutney, usually made from either tomato or coconut, as well as a lentil-and-vegetable stew called sambar.
All three accompaniments singe your tongue with the addictive goodness of chili and curry leaves and smoky mustard seeds and fenugreek. They explode their tangy-salty-pungent flavors in your mouth until you beg for more.
Also, dear Reader, please meet Tomato Rice, Curd Rice, and Lemon Rice. Yup, shake hands again. Good.
Remember that first image of white rice? Well, Mr. Bland Grain has just undergone a badass metamorphosis into the Holy Trinity of Goodness.
The sourness of lime-laced lemon rice, the cool creaminess of curd rice, that tangy-spicy-saltiness of tomato rice…
*Must not book ticket to Chennai. Must not book ticket to Chennai. Must stay at home with family and work*
What was the question about?
Ah yes, how can Asians eat rice three times a day.
I think we’ve pretty much covered that….