Kattu Saada Koodai (Packed Rice Basket)

Today, I want to eat a South Indian wedding meal. The craving was triggered by a lovely aroma that wafted from my neighbour’s home earlier today.

Many types of dishes are served in a typical South Indian wedding. The wedding festivities are spread over 2 to 3 days, and each meal offers something special. The most important meal is the one that is served immediately after the wedding. This is the grandest meal of them all.

However, I want to eat the meal that is served on the third day, when people are preparing to go home after the wedding.

Many, many decades ago, when there was no motorized transport available, guests and family members had to walk many kilometers (sometimes even for a few days) to attend weddings. Sometimes they arrived in bullock carts!

So, on the day after the wedding, when these people had to go back home, the bride’s family usually packed baskets filled with food packets; food that would ‘keep’ till they reached home. This food was also light on the stomach, to neutralize the effect of all the rich wedding food that people had consumed!

Each group of people who left after the wedding carried this basket with them. It was called the ‘kattu saada koodai‘, which translates to basket with food packets!

Though people do not have to travel for many days or walk to get home after weddings these days, the kattu saada koodai is still in vogue, but has taken on a new avatar.

Rather than packing the food in baskets, all items that were traditionally packed in a kattu saada koodai are now served as a meal on the day people are going back home.

These meals are my favourite. Served on fresh banana leaves, the kattu saada koodai menu has rice mixed in a special, spicy gravy with a tamarind base containing many small berries, which are known for their digestive properties. Papadams are included. There is curd rice with a small serving of pickle too!

Picture courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

A simple meal, light on the stomach, but totally yummy!

There’s no wedding in the family anytime soon, so maybe I should just prepare the meal myself. Hmmmm!


The Big Fattening Indian Wedding

If you have attended an Indian wedding,  these are only some of the things you would have experienced – vibrant colours, lots of jewelry, lots of people, foot tapping music, dance, love, emotions, flowers and FOOD. Lots and lots of food.

While the bride and groom are busy with all the rituals that will solemnize their wedding, extended family and guests have fun, enjoying the delicious food and snacks that are served throughout the day. All calories that were burnt before the wedding, to enable one to look good in the wedding pictures, get added right back on the wedding day, in the form of sugary sweets, deep fried & mouth watering snacks, ice creams and all other calorie-loaders. Sigh.

Also, weddings across the country are fixed according to Indian calendars, where certain days in certain months are considered very auspicious.

Needless to say, wedding halls do brisk business during these periods, and one has to book months in advance.

Some wedding hall complexes have three or four wedding halls on the same premises, and on auspicious days, all such halls host weddings.

Another important fact that you must know about Indian wedding hospitality is that there is a ‘no-guest-can-leave-without-eating-a-heavy-meal’ committee, (The Committee) that waylays you even before you meet the newlyweds, and sends you to fill your stomach.

Having explained all this, I will now narrate an incident, from when I had just started working. One of my colleagues had invited a few of us from work, to her wedding.

So, all of us met and went to the venue. Just as we entered the hall, The Committee, shepherded us straight to the breakfast hall. Some of our weddings happen quite early in the morning, like 5 am or 6 am. So naturally, we did not object to this gesture. We had so much fun, eating the huge spread. When we could eat no more, we went into the main hall.

Imagine what a shock we got, when we realized that we were at the wrong wedding. Someone quickly told us that there were two other halls in the same complex.

We were quite embarrassed and slipped out quietly. We found the other hall, just 30 metres away. There again, The Committee was waiting for us. We evaded them and went to greet the newlyweds.

We had to eat another meal in a span of two hours, a quiet heavy one at that.