Sunday, March 4, 2012

Banana leaf meal

About a traditional Kannada Brahmin special meal
the Outhana

Outhana is pronounced with a flat th.
An Outhana is a special meal served as a send-off to guests who have stayed over a few nights. An outhana is made for a daughter-soninlaw, aunt-uncle, sister-BIL, or visiting parents
Preparation begins early in the morning as there is lots to cook! The meal will include -

  • payasa (kheer made with milk and rice or milk and sevai )
  • kosambari (dal-veggie salad) 2 types ... for making only one is a big no-no
  • palya (spicy shallow fried veggies) 2 types
  • gojju (yummy sweet sour) we wait eagerly to taste this
  • kalasida anna (flavoured rice) 
  • rice - sambar - saaru (white rice served with dal-veg) main course
  • bajjis or bondas or ambode (all fried crisp treats) in a kannada home a vada is never made for special occasions. Vada is associated with sadder events.
  • sweet (a burfi, mysorepak, holige, coconut-mitai, whatever )
  • curd and rice
a good meal always begins with a spoon of payasa at the lower right hand corner of banana leaf / plate

We mix rice with sambar or saaru and scoop it up with our hands right into our mouth. We literally chase the rice round the plate and catch it by surprise!

All this food is served with lots of fun and love. There may have been stressful moments during the stay. But that is momentarily set aside. Guests are coaxed to eat more. It is quite usual to see guests spread their palms wide over their leaf saying No-NO and the host slips in a fried treat from a space on the side!

The meal is followed by a relaxed offer of elle hakkoli ... meaning well (eat leaf!) no not the banana leaf ... they are offered beetel leaf and areca nuts.

Some parting gift usually in the form of clothes has been surreptitiously bought! It is brought out on a tray with haldi-kumkum and fruits. The lady is asked to be seated. She is offered the gifts ceremoniously. This is a serious business.
The gift giving shows mutual respect and affection.
The guest makes appropriate noises....yaake thondre... why all this trouble?
You should not have brought all this
but of course she is pleased.
You see ... its not the gift that matters
it is the honour with which it was given. it is the thought that matters.

most of the time when we are angry it a reaction to hurt ego. Our wise forefathers knew that. The ceremonial outhana soothed jagged nerves. Made everyone feel wanted .. egos got pacified.
think about it
next time someone is cynical or rude ... pamper their ego

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey, thanks for stopping by. Do tell me what you think.