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Goodbye and thanks for all the sambar*

(click on pic for recipe)

There are those whose memories are linked to sight and smell. Not me. My remembrance is curiously connected to my taste buds. A familiar taste often triggers a total recall. Like it happened the other day. I had made 'vengaya sambar' like I usually do and one sip was all it took to send me reeling back to my childhood. Back then, vengaya sambar was a rarity. A dish reserved for occasional Sundays or when we had guests over for dinner. We'd clamour for the tiny onions that swam in a sea of delicious lentil broth. It was strictly rationed and I'd tuck my share of onion away in one corner of my mouth and savour it at leisure.

I still remember the one time when I was 19, I was to come home after a 6-month long exchange program when mother asked me what I'd like for my welcome-home lunch. I replied without hesitation, "vengaya sambar". I only have to close my eyes and I can recall instantly the taste of tangy sambar as it slid down my parched throat reviving every taste bud in its path.

I'm not due back home for another 8 months. But I already know what I'm going to have for lunch that day.

*This is my tribute to one of Tamil cinema's best-loved heroes, Gemini Ganesan, who passed away yesterday. He used to be referred to as 'Sambar', much to his chagrin.


Dosai said…
Ahh its heaven being in chennai and tasting iyengar style vengaaya sambar + Nei + Rice. Caman the enjaiment i must say.

No idea why Gemini thatha was called Sambhar but IMHO he owned all the classic love story bases movies. I still go still sit in front of the box if they telecast Vanji Kotai Valiban, Man what a box oppice smasher. Hope i dont leave chennai cause too many memories here.

mischief editor said…
dosai - you may be right.......but not absolutely...

vengaaya sambar + nallennai + rice is ultimate maan...
Maran said…
Hmm there should be something like the 'I love NY' t-shirt for sambar. I love Sambar
tilotamma said…
I really liked this one! I have no idea why it is was such a special item - maybe peeling the chinna vengayam is labor-intensive
Anjali said…
sambar idli combo amazing

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