Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You say falafel. I say பருப்பு வடை

A couple of days ago, I felt the urge to eat பருப்பு வடை (paruppu vadai.)

All I knew was this: it is a lot of work to make that.

While I am not as lazy as the friend from Bangalore who shall not be named (!) I rarely ever get excited to work from step one of the process.

I knew that the primary ingredient is nothing but the good ol' chickpeas. Lots of aliases this legume has, thanks to its global usage.

Falafel is also made from chickpeas.  During the two days in San Jose, Costa Rica, I spotted a Lebanese eatery and, as is typically my Pavlovian response, it was falafel that I had.

How I wish I had taken a photo of that!  At least I took a photo, though not a good one, of the பகோடா (pakoda) that I had at an Indian restaurant a previous night.

So, back to பருப்பு வடை.

If this vadai is made from chickpeas and is deep-fried, and if falafel is made from chickpeas and deep-fried, then, aha, maybe the shortcut that I am looking for in order to satisfy the urge.

Sure, nothing like the real thing.  Nothing like the original. But, hey, our lives are all not about originals, are they?  Are all our thoughts original?  Nope. Are our actions any original?  Nope.

I like to think that life is like jazz--we learn the notes, listen to a few tunes, and then come up with our own variations of those tunes.  We improvise.  The ones who create original music are rare amongst us.  The majority that we are, we improvise, hoping that at least we would enjoy our own music even if nobody else does.  Which is why there is so much of bathroom singing and whistling--we enjoy it enough, but know it is not a good idea to publicize.

But, I publicize. My blog is like my bathroom singing. In the public.  (Phew, I had to make sure that I didn't omit the "l" from "public"--that would have been a bathroom humor of its own!)

So, back to பருப்பு வடை.

If I am going to improvise, then why not make it a masaal vadai at that?  It was going to be the flatter masaala paruppu vadai instead of the roundish falafel.

Which is what I did.

I assembled the ingredients: the falafel mix packet from the store, onions, cilantro, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.

Less than thirty minutes later, I had the wonderful aroma of vadai.

A new philosophical issue arises: if it smells like vadai, tastes like vadai, kind of sort of looks like vadai, it is really vadai?

I suppose the same question can be asked about me too: given that I look like an Indian, talk like an Indian, am I an Indian?

Those were some of the existential questions I pondered over, while I had my version of masaala பருப்பு வடை with freshly brewed coffee.

You, too, would have enjoyed it.


Ramesh said...

Ha Ha. Watching the Heat is better than making masala vadai :)

Oh yes - Falafel is indeed பருப்பு வடை. Its an inviting thought to think of பருப்பு வடை and coffee. There's so much in common between Lebanese food and Indian food - if only they didn't load meat on to everything, including the good falafel fried in lard :(

I can easily answer that question. If it looks like a vadai, smells like a vadai and tastes like a vadai - is it a vadai ???? No way my friend . It has also got to be made by a Rajalakshmi after ganga snanam, with mallipooo in her hair), wearing a madisar ......

Sriram Khé said...

The பருப்பு வடை/falafel I made was all veggie. Even the oil--vegetable oil ...
Yes, it is amazing how much animal products are used in so many cultures, right? A reflection of the traditional cultural habits having been defined by the geographically restricted food supply ... I mean, can you imagine the life of a vegetarian Norwegian a thousand years ago? ;)

Looks like you have a thing going for Rajalakshmi after a shower, wearing malligai, bringing you freshly made பருப்பு வடை and coffee .... the old man and his dreams!!! muahahaha

Sriram Khé said...

I remembered this movie song much later, Ramesh ...
Here is Rajalakshmi with madisaar and malliappoo and the works ;)


Shachi said...

Did not catch the Tamil words but good job on the falafel. Next time I make it (from scratch), I will post a recipe :).

Sriram Khé said...

In the sports language that will make it easy for Ramesh to understand (haha!) I am in playing in the Pop Warner level, not even the minor leagues, while you are the All-Star team, Shachi ... so, of course, I expect you to make it only from scratch. Will watch out for your post on it ...

Ramesh, perhaps you don't follow baseball,do you? Going to a baseball game--not the major league, but one of their affiliate small town franchise games--is classic Americana. The jingoistic patriotism there always throws me off though ;)

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