Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sambar - the lost love

The name may have ignited few questions about me writing a recipe in my blog. The time hasn’t come yet but would one day definitely write about those too (My Lab called “The Kitchen”…hope this ignites few passionate lab rats like me, to at least pen down their unique tasting day to day preparations for people to savour!)
Coming back to the subject, “Sambar” at hand.
Since my childhood, I had been fond of this South Indian delicacy with few more. I loved Dosa, Idly, Upama and the one and only Sambar. It was a feast day gulping down those bowls and bowls of Sambar as if there was no tomorrow.
Sambar could be credited to a certain extent for the amazing belly build that I had, which my sister always said as “baby fat”…which still continues.
I was in blind love with Sambar, so much so that my mother used to always say, “We ll get you married to a south Indian girl!” And that used to fill my thoughts with bowls and bigger bowls of sambar coming my way. This was one of my gastro love stories.
Like our films, there came a villain in our fairly long relation. Me being shifted to Bangalore, the silicon city [Don’t know where those gardens from the geography books pictures of green Bangalore went to?]
I stayed for 6 months at a pg near the “Hoody Village”, which served us soda mixed rice, some kind of slimy liquid called “Sambar” (No my love cant be so ugly), hot water with haldi and karhi patta called “Rasam”. And there it all happened! I started hating her. For her ugliness and the way she treated her love – my stomach! In that area where ever you looked it was either a Shanti Sagar or a Cart selling rice and sambar. Even the office caterers use to serve the same ugly looking Sambar. It was Sambar ..sambar everywhere, but not a drop of my previous love for me!
I shifted my base from Hoody to Thayagaraja Nagar. The same smell followed me there too. But, since I had cooking arrangements I cooked meals for myself. Though cherished those magical moments with Sambar.
My nephew too is in love with her…. And my sister still calls me up to let me know that they are going on a dinner/lunch date with my ex!
I shifted again, towards HAL where there is less predominance of my ex. I had by this time been a part time cook feeding my room-mates. And as they used to call it, being lucky guinea pigs for my lab- my kitchen.
But loves doesn’t die, it just needs a rekindle! And God does find his own unique way to bring back the love lost.
Through my friend Chandan, I met Varun in Kolkata, during my latest visit to my hometown. Since he too is in Bangalore, we decided to meet up every possible weekend. Last weekend we went for a movie and I stayed back at his place.
And as if God had written it, everything was falling into place…breakfast with Rawa Idly (Breakfast in a bachelor’s life staying alone is a dream come true), which Varun would better tell you how I looked, like a man just been starving for years. I had plans to leave before lunch, as breakfast does make my stomach cry which it eventually did. But could not say “No” to aunty.. and who doesn’t want a home cooked delicious food filled with lots of love and served with even more! And there it was Rice, sambar, rasam with few others side role actors. I first was skeptical about having to meet my old love. But once the ice was broken, my love was back in full swing.
I beg to state that who ever didn’t have the pleasure of having sambar prepared by Aunty (even after being friendly with Varun) must have good reasons like “Staying in shape”(cause u cant stop eat till you die). Since shape is just a farce for me, when it comes to choosing between good food and shape. I chose the former. Aunty by now must have realized, what goes in to keep my gigantic figure in shape and my belly happy!
Once again my love story sees a new beginning, and dating place would definitely be Varun’s dining room.

Luv 'n' Luk
Arnab Chakraverty


Moumita said...

I still remember how u used to hog sambar-idli-dosa-chutney!!!! I later saw u getting so averse to even hearing about it!!! Wot a transition.....all thanx to aunty.
I am still trying to acheive perfection with these dishes...esply sambar and rasam. In the process i keep sampling the various brands of masalas from South India....its become a habit now for my hubby. Whenever he is in South, he makes sure he gets the local brand from there. So now i have soooo many samples stackes in my kitchen that i can feed a whole barat!!! Raja, bol to terey shaadi ke liye rakh dun!!!!!!
Yes, regarding the food my darling bro cooks.....BEWARE is all i can say. I have not been fortunate enough(in true sense...thank God!!)
to try his recipes.....dont know about u guys who have actally tasted those stuffs!!! There have been many instances where i have cooked biryani etc over the fone....dont know end mein kaisa hua tha!! thats probably can explain a part of the staggering fone bills that my bro has to pay....khana thoda mehenga padh jaataa hai!!!
Anyway, keep the spirit up.....can see u fall in love again....all the very best!!! Aunty u indeed are a superb matchmaker!!!

Anwin said...


I am following up on the Bangalore Indiblogger meet this Saturday at Microsoft campus It is at tomorrow 3:30 PM. Just a gentle reminder. Looking forward to meeting with you there.

anwin at indiblogger dot in

Preeti Shenoy said...

I make really good Sambar :)
In fact I pride myself on this :)
This post made me smile--as I too have lived in Bangalore and tasted some of the atrocities they pass off in the name of sambar! :)
Thanks for stopping by
Preeti Shenoy

Vyazz said...

Wuz browsing by when I came to ur blog. Being a south indian (Tamil), I used to absolutely look horrified at the garish oily red colored water people in maharashtra called sambar. Not to mention those rock hard white idlis. I hence made it a point never to have sambar outside my home ever.
I loved ur culinary description of ur one true love.
I on the other hand have two sweethearts without whom I cannot possibly live.
They are called Pav Bhaji and Pizza. Love the soft mozzarella that melts in ur mouth and the crisp succulent buns swirling in the most amazingly concocted bhaji.
To each of his own I suppose.

Arnab said...

Hi all,

Thanks for the visit and actually taking the pain to leave a comment.

@Moumita(My elder sis)
Its the cook that defines the taste of the food..not the recipe.
Those days were indeed memorable when the whole family used to sit together and feast on food.

@Preeti Shenoy
Hope one day will able to taste sambar made by u too [;)] Talking like a guy who likes to hog good food(aint i?) Its quite true the dish that they sell outside in the name of sambar is quite ruining the name of the institution called sambar!!

Being a bong, one thing it has given me is an appetite for good food. And sambar is just one of them. Wait the turn when I write about Pav bhaji and pizza

Arnab Majumdar said...

Who would have thought such a wonderful story can be written about that simple everyday foodstuff like Sambar? Very well written, will surely come back to read more...

Arnab said...

@ Arnab

Hey what a co incidence, we share the same name.

Thanks for the appreciation mate. Would love to hear from you more on the other posts too.

Varun said...

Lovely way of narration. I asked my mom to the read this post the very next day you wrote it. She loved everything you've written about her. I am glad I met you in Calcutta and I am glad I got to play cupid :)

The dating place is always open for you but your date will need at least a half day's notice to get ready :)

@Moumita Di,
Please ask your hubby to drop in at my place when he in Bangalore next. I am sure that my mom's brand is the best one you'll find. You can easily pack that stack you have and donate it to some restaurant in Bangalore. isi bahane quality thoda to improve ho jayega :)

Arnab said...


Yup thanks man for playing the cupid, the pleasure was all mine. Hope Aunty liked what she read..and didn get too bogged down with my appetite....
Definitely I ll give u a ring to let you know when I want the dating place again.

sarthak said...

my gosh, that reminds me of similar feelings, i went through for pasta, i was like this die hard pasta fan, and couldn't gwet enough of it, then one day i decide to go to kota, and then there i get to eat RAJASTHANI pasta(can u imagine my horror ??)
now that i'm back, i can't imagine to tery it out again, perhaps after reading ur peice, i'd rather do it !!
keep blogging, nice work !!


Arnab said...

@ Sarthak

Thanks for the visit..

yes go and try ur pasta .. hope u ll enjoy it all over again!

choco said...

I had to comment here. You see a couple of days have passed since I read this post and I am still craving for south indian food. This from a person who is not crazy about south indian food!

Chandan said...

Excellent write-up. I can vouch for aunty's dishes. I had only had rawa idly in the office canteen and it was only after I ate the ones Varun's mom had prepared that I realized why Varun used to curse the canteen idli. I hope I get another chance to relish them soon.

Arnab said...


Thanks mate. But I can vouch for any dish which tastes good, irrespective of the region I belong too and more importantly the region the food belongs too..... I am a foodie by choice, birth and much more....

@ Chandan

Dude, come sooner stocks last for limited period!!

Smi said...

oh man .whaaat a lov story.Why it took me soooo late to raed this post.

me too a die hard fan of your sambhar and I like the variations its has in every place,chennai, andrha,banglore and again diffrent in Manglore.
now does that make me a lesby ha ha ha

When choco commented on my dosa post,I was wondering who wrote about food and I didnt smell of it...I caught you today

Arnab said...


Hope your orientation is straight in life ;-)

But thanks for the generous comments. And tell you in times to come, you ll smell a good amount of food in here!

naaz said...

Hi, that was a very very beautiful and an extremely emotional story about the south indian dish which happens to be the favourite of my family too....i dont think anybody else wud get such wonderful thoughts to pen down...i liked it a lot lot lot....this blog shows how true your love is...EXCELLENT!, SUBERB! MINDBLOWING! HISTORY!!!.....hey u know though m a muslim, m very good at preparing sambar, donno they say so:)....


meenakshi said...


Work from home

Arnab said...


Hopefully I ll get to taste it too!


Yah I now know its yummy-er

lafemmereva said...

u know what!! Im in the US now..seeing this post I got off the couch made sambhar and relished it!!!!!

Arnab said...


Thanks for stopping by.

It feels nice that my post can make some hungry...right now me too feeling hungry!!!!!

commited to life said...

hey wont u be updating?