Dosa and dal makhni. Pongal with meen khozhambu. Rasam with coconut chutney. Medhu vada with chicken khozhambu. These combinations may catch one by surprise, but some Chennaiites find these unconventional pairings the tastiest.
It all started when foodventurist and creator of popular Facebook page Chennai Food Guide, Mohamed Ali, asked foodies to share their favourite unusual gravy combinations.
"I am doing some research work on different types of veg and non-veg curry/ gravies and their application. Our typical curries (kuzhambu) is usually eaten with steamed rice, idli, dosa, appam and a few other such combinations. What is the most unusual gravy combination that you find the tastiest and why do you find them so?" Mohamed had shared in a Facebook post.
He also added that his favourite combination involved upma and mutton curry. "With all due respect to the quintessential upma — I don’t like it as it is, but when paired with mutton curry — I think it’s phenomenal!" Mohamed wrote and opened the floodgates for food lovers across the city to come up with their own unusual gravy combinations.
Preethi Rajamurugan shared, "My brother-in-law makes pongal with onion tomato gravy. The onion and tomato are used as chunks and not pureed as a chutney. It is an awesome combination and I love it."
Jemima Ponmalar said, "I pair up tangy fish kozhambu with pongal, chapati, poori, upma etc. Poori with sambar also steals the show for me."
Another Chennaiite shared a combination that is a favourite of her daughter. "Sprinkle idli podi and a few drops of ghee on upma, roll it into small urundais (balls) and pop it into your mouth. Whenever I give this to my daughter on a plate, it gets polished clean in no time," shared Suhanya Kumar.
For U Saraswathi Harinarayanan, it's the combination of sweet and spicy that tickles her tastebuds. "Bread or bun with meen kozhambu is my favourite. The sweetness in the bread and the spicy curry is an irresistible combination for me," she wrote.
For a few others, however, their picks for such combinations ran into lists. Varalekshmy Raghavan, for example, listed eight of her favourites:
1. Upma with rasam residue
2. Podi rice with vatha kozhambu
3. Sevai, mor kozhambu, pappadam
4. Pal payasam, parappu boli (Trivandrum special combo)
5. Jaggery payasam and pappadam
6. Paruppu rasam and aviyal
7. Manjal pongal/plain rice with thalagam kozhambu
8. Jaggery and grated coconut with pongal
While the comment section of the post ran into hundreds, not only did it offer possibilities of unconventional food combinations to fellow food lovers, but also reinforced how food can help connect people even amid a pandemic.