In 2007, the concept of “Foodpairing” was launched by the Chef Heston Blumenthal.
It is a scientific process for identifying which foods go well together. The method is based on the principle that foods combine well with one another when they share key flavor components.
Flavor impression of a food is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. While the taste of food is limited to sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory – the basic tastes – the smells of a food are potentially limitless. A food’s flavor, therefore, can be easily altered by changing its smell while keeping its taste similar.
Foodpairing seems to be a relatively new method and is quite often confused with “wine and food pairing”, which is the practice of matching wine with food. Such a practice is often done by experience and has little scientific background.
The essence of foodpairing is the practice of combining different foods that share the same major flavor components. Comparing the flavors of individual ingredients can result in new and unexpected combinations, such as strawberries paired with peas.
I am not a “food connoisseur”, but a simple food fan of South Indian vegetarian food. Here I present some time-old “great foodpairs” of South India.
May be they can be sent to Chef Heston for evaluation.
1. Milagu Kuzhambu (Black Peppercorns and Tamarind Gravy, Paruppu thogayal (Lentils Paste) with sutta appalam.
If you are busy person and returning home after a hectic travel schedule, ask your mother or spouse to prepare this great but simple food. As you taste this heavenly combination, your weariness, queasy feeling in stomach will all vanish and you will be back in action.
2. Thair sadam (curd rice) with vadu managai
Thair sadam is the ultimate comfort food. There are no 5 star restaurants which do not serve this Indian delicacy. Vadu Mangai or Mavadu is a popular pickle of Tamil Nadu. Baby (tiny and tender) raw mango is known as Mavadu in Tamil. Mavadu is soaked in specially made red chilli sauce with very less oil. The preparation is very simple with few ingredients.
3. Ven pongal with Gotsu
Consuming Hot Ven pongal on a cold December morning is the ultimate joy for people like me. If Kathirikai (eggplant) gotsu accompanies VP, the joy is double.
4. Adai with Jaggery
Adai is made of lentils and rice. It is filling and healthier than dosa. For some strange reason it goes well with jaggery.
5. Kancheepuram Idly- Milagai podi
Kancheepuram, also called temple city of Tamil nadu is famous for its temples, silk sarees and Kancheepuram idlis.
This idli is different from the normal ones with added spices and flavours. This steam cooked delicacy is served as parasadam at the Varadharaja Perumal temple at Kancheepuram.
K idly goes very well with dry Milagai podi
Milagai Podi is a coarse mixture of ground dry spices that typically contains dried chillies, lentils, and sesame seeds.
Let me end with an Ode to the great food pairs of South India.
“Sappadu, Nalla Sappadu!
Hot pepper kuzambu and paruppu thogayal !
While we’re in the mood – Adai and Jaggery!
Curd rice with vadu mangai! What next is the question?
Simple gentlemen, have it boys – no indigestion!
Food, glorious food!
What wouldn’t we give for
That extra bit more –
That’s all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On food, Magical food,
(With due apology to Lionel Bart)