Truth About Sambar,Idly,Dosa

Posted on 01-08-2018 , by: Raghuram Shankar , in , , 0 Comments

Sambar is a popular south-Indian dish.

But is it really south Indian?

If you read into the history of Sambar you will see that Sambar originated in the kitchen of Thanjavur Maratha ruler Shahuji.

Shahuji, trying to make a dish called Amti, experimented with toor dal instead of moong dal and tamarind extract for kokum.

The court named it sambhar after the guest of the day, Sambhaji, second emperor of the Maratha Empire.

Sambaru Padartha in Kannada, the language of Karnataka means ‘Mix of spices & condiments’.

Whether it originated in Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra or Karnataka, all we know today is that Sambar is extremely popular world over.

Though the idli is today recognized as a south-Indian delicacy, it may have originated elsewhere. Many believe that the idli came to India between 800-1200 CE(common era) from Indonesia where it is known as a kedli. Given the many links between south Indian rulers and Indonesian rulers, this is not very hard to believe.

Others believe that Arab traders introduced the Indian coasts to idlis. These Arab traders had strict dietary norms and hence instead of eating the local food which may not have been halaal, they ate flattened rice balls with a coconut paste.

There are a number of stories about the origins of the word ‘idli’ as well. Some historians believe that the word, idli, was derived from Iddalige, a word mentioned in the Vaddaradhane, a Kannada text by Sivakotyacharya in 920AD.

There are many who claim that it was derived from the word, Iddarika, a term mentioned in a 12th century Sanskrit text. There are some people who also claim that it was derived from a dish called Idada that was made by silk weavers from Saurashtra in 10AD. No matter where it came from and the process of making it is one that was perfected only in South-India.

The Story of our Food, Dosa as Dosai was already around in the 1st century AD in ancient Tamil country as per references in Sangam literature. On the other hand, historian P Thankappan Nair, says Dosa originated in the Udupi town of present day Karnataka.

Well, let’s say that according to popular tradition, the origin of Dosa has linked to Udupi most probably because of its association with the chain of Udupi restaurants.

A factor that definitely differentiates the two is that the original Tamil Dosa was softer and thicker. The crisper, thinner version of Dosa, which Indians all over the country and in foreign lands are familiar with was first made in present day Karnataka. A recipe for Dosa known as Dosaka can be found in Manasollasa, a 12th century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present day Karnataka. The very popular Masala Dosa was first served in Woodlands group of hotels Bangalore.

So The Most Popular Foods of Tamilnadu Sambar,Idly and Dosa may not be Tamil foods!

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