I read recently that Sruthi Haasan is moving to Bombay and when asked what she would miss most about the city she grew up in, she replied “it is Madras Sambar”. I realized how true the statement was during my recent visit to Bangalore to attend a family function.
Breakfast comprised steaming hot idlis and freshly fried crisp vadas but the accompaniment was a foil ! Sambar was far from authentic (I feel Bangalore cooks should take a lesson or two from cooks in Madras who are experts in its preparation). Rasam goes with a prefix “Mysore” and at lunch I naturally expected to relish that distinct taste and flavour but to my disappointment it turned out to be a sweetened concoction of sorts. Again as the name signifies “Bisi bela huli anna” (in kannada, it means hot dhal sambar rice), apparently has its origins in Karnataka and its authenticity remains only when it is devoid of embellishments like vegetables, garam masala and jagrey added to the dish. Unfortunately this too had acquired altogether a different taste with the adding of unwanted ingredients making their presence felt!
How can one leave Bangalore I thought without visiting the famous MTR restaurant known for using “asli ghee” in all its preparations , but time didn’t permit to indulge myself in the “luxury”. Even when I was mentioning this to a friend who returned from Bangalore recently, she said, “Thank your stars, you would have been thoroughly disillusioned as food here has deteriorated beyond imagination”.
I am glad that some chains like The Woodlands and Saravana Bhavan have been maintaining their standards in preparation of Sambar, which still retains its authentic taste and flavour.
n.meera raghavendra rao