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Monday, April 28, 2014


In astrology, they say if a planet is in the same rasi as Sun, the planet is weakened. Mercury often suffers from this ignominy. In the culinary world, Morekhuzhambhu ( refined and energized kadi) is eclipsed in front of sambar, though morekhuazhambhu has unparallel and unsung merits. 

Sambar scores over, often merit-less, because it is a course leader. Marriage contractors, give it a pride of place in their lunches. Hoteliers associate sambar with Idli and Vadai and create hallow around it. But the intrinsic merits of morekhuzhambhu remain unappreciated. Sambar basks in borrowed glory. Morekhuzhambu mesmerizes us with its mellow fruitfulness. 

Have you tasted morekhuhambhu with paruppu usili made up of beans, kotthavarakkai (clustered beans) or vazappu( banana flower) ? It is unparallel and sambar can never rise to that height, as no batsmen, barring a few, ever could rise up to the level of a Sachin Tendulkar. Morekhuzhambhu with Chenai (yam), Cheppankhizhanghu ( arvi) or vazakkai mezhukku varatti ( banana deep fry) would provide you a thrill which any sensual pleasure would never measure upto and sambar would certainly fall in the wayside. And yet, Morekhuzhambhu is not a course leader in marriage lunches and is provided only a spoonful, perhaps as a sort of antidote to sambars excesses. It is like the twelfth man in a cricket team  condemned to toil and yet, not eligible to bat or bowl. Many women find in morekhuzhambu an easy way out from struggling with sambar. It is an incorrect perception and a much less confidence. 

If sambar, like Aiswarya Rai, is terrestrial and appeals only to the lesser mortals, morekhuzhambhu is ethereal and like the Apsaras, make even the Saptharishis to swoon over. 

As sambar is a mass consumption item, it can be easily cloned and no wonder, ready mix sambar powder is available aplenty in the market. Morekhuzhambhu is unique, cannot be cloned easily and even a Google search would not get you an acceptable ready mix. 

Sambar does not have milk or butter-milk base and hence it can be heated and re-heated, and is subject to cyclical births and deaths. It is a sinful mortal. Morekhuzhambu cannot be reheated and has to retain its freshness in the refrigerator, till it is exhausted. The mere thought that it can be reheated makes sambar a little relaxed. Morekhuzhambhu cannot have that luxury. It is virtuous and is eligible for moksha. 

There are a few kinds of morekhuzhambus - the yellow one as it is made at Palakkad which appeals to us immensely. The light red one, as it is prepared in Tranvancore and Tirunelveli delights us. For sheer grace, mango morekhuzhambhu is matchless like Vivian Richard onslaughts in world cup wonders. Sambar cannot boast of anything similar to mango morekhuzhambu, save onion sambar. The two are peerless and the players world over, look upon them as roll-models. 

Kadi, a Gujarati dish, though strikes a chord of similarity, is as different from morekhuzhambhu as is Jilebi from Jhangiri. I quote from my essay  Sankara Iyer “ the esoteric sweet maker - 

Jalebi is gaudi in colour, garish in appearance and in comparison to Jhangiri, unrefined in taste. It is too crispy and cannot even play second fiddle to Jhangiri. Whereas pride of place is given to Jhangiri in the south, Jhalebi is a commoner, as one can smell Jalebi, when being fried in street corners and everybody has access to it even when being dressed up. Jhangiri, like a traditional housewife, retains her grace, never crosses the threshold and street corner is certainly a tabooĆ¢€ . 

In Travancore and some parts of Tirunelveli, morekhuzhambu is mandatory for sevai. In these parts, when sevai is prepared, morekhuzhambu and fried papad has to serve from the sides. However, it is a poor consolation that morekhuzhambu is made mandatory on certain occasions in some parts of South India. 

I would appeal to my fellow morkhuzhambhu admirers totransform their admiration to loyalty and to ensure that morekhuzhzmbhu is provided a pride of place in our kitchens and that our children and grand children are given opportunities to taste morekhuzhambhu in various combinations and to evaluate its performance. Make sambar to compete with morekhuzhambhu and after demonstrating success, seek a secured place. 

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