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Authentic wayside flavours

Anna Mess Food Festival brings the true Dindigul flavours to the city


COOKING DAL is a repetitious daily affair in most homes. We assume Dal has a poverty of flavour and nothing can be done to improve it. We shrug off Dal as boring. So the poor Dal gets the mean step motherly treatment even as we constantly hunt for exotic recipes to cook the Chicken or the Mushroom. However, in wayside restaurants of Dindigul they know how to cook a good Dalcha. Mutton Bone is the ingredient they use to stir palatal excitement into the otherwise insipid Dal. While making the Dal they throw in bones and the flavour of the marrow oozes into the Dal. The bones are removed when the dish is served. When you eat it you cannot put your finger on the secret ingredient. It will baffle your discerning senses. And it tastes great with the famous Dindigul Thalappa Kettu Biriyani. To relish the Biriyani and the Dalcha you need not travel to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Casino Hotel is holding a very authentic Dindigul festival called the Anna Mess at their Tharavad restaurant.

Mr.Premnath General Manager of Casino Hotel explains, "This festival celebrates street cooking. In the Dindigul area you find numerous small but popular eating joints called Amma Mess. But we have chosen to call it Anna Mess to make it a little different."

Mutton dosa

What is highly recommended at the festival is the Dindigul Mutton Dosa. It is a cooking feat any householder will envy. A layer of the softest batter is topped with a thinner layer of beaten egg and after it has cooked ever so gently, shredded peppery mutton and chopped green coriander leaves are liberally sprinkled on top. Served with two chutneys and sambar, the dosa just melts in the mouth. Says Cook Kesavan from Dindigul, "We use fresh dosa batter to make the dosas soft. And fenugreek the natural softening agent is amply added."

Restaurant Manager Karan Bakshi says, "The Dindigul cooks insisted that only small country chickens just around 800-900 gms should be made available to make their Nattukoli Chops." Their stubborn insistence is very well for it gives rise to a good country style chicken with nostalgic flavours of granny's days that have long gone missing from our broiler chicken diet. Though the Dindigul cooks have no dessert to offer. There will be Tamil Nadu sweets for the sweet tongued who cannot do without the sweet effect after a good dinner. The Anna Mess Festival is on till April 3.

M.I

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