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From mami's kitchen

Avarakkai usili vies with mula keerai poricha kootu at the Madisar Magic food fest at Radisson GRT



Cooking up a traditional fare... at the Madisar Magic festival. — Pics. by N. Sridharan

THERE WERE three mamis, two elderly and the third younger, making bajjis, vadais and murukkus. Instead of being in a kitchen in one of the narrow Mada Streets of Mylapore or the bylanes of T. Nagar, they were at thatched stalls put up near the swimming pool at Radisson GRT Hotel.

While the women worked here in silence, one could easily picture them at home discussing anything from George Bush to next-door Alamelu's `pudhu selai' with the same ease with which they made kaimurukku.

However, the Madisar Magic Festival, on till September 5, at the Garden Café (ph: 22310101) has its own charm. Fine touches like kolams at the corners of the tables and antique measures filled with lentils and rice give guests a glimpse of Tamilian cuisine. The bone china crockery has been replaced with stainless steel.

In South Indian vegetarian cuisine, thayir sadam has an important place. And this was evident at the festival.

As for the rest of the menu, it was traditional — avarakkai usili, vendakkai morkuzhambu, avial, thengai sevai, senai masiyal and more. But it was the fillers such as vepillai katti, kathrikkai thuvaiyal and the podis — garlic, coconut, lentil and curry leaves — that lent a special flavour to the meal.

Then there was morkali. Though it looked like soft upma, without shape, it was yummy. With mula keerai poricha kootu and urulai kodamilagai kara curry it was an unbeatable combo. The other irresistible was the murunga elai adai. Thick concentric circles outside and thin crisp centre, it was good. Avial, jaggery and butter made it better.

Delicious desserts

On the dessert table. The stars were akkara vadisal and aval payasam. The jaggery and rice reigned supreme though the sweetened milk and beaten rice were also delicious. Ending with a `degree' coffee I wanted to do an Usilaimani, stand up and rub my tummy with a wide, satisfied smile and say "Besh, besh, romba pramadam!" The buffet is priced at Rs. 325 plus taxes.

MARIEN MATHEW

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