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CHENNAI: Cocadas, tamales, arroz con leche, jamoncillos… what do these dishes from the Mexican delicacies have in widespread?” asks Priya Kumaresh Pandiyan, over a telephone name, from her residence within the US. Earlier than we decipher the names of the dishes, she enthusiastically declares, “Namma Tamizh affect dhan!” Cocadas – Thengai barfi, arroz – paal payasam, jamoncillos – therattipal/pal kova.
“Two historically and traditionally very wealthy communities have strikingly comparable meals and the Mexican delicacies has very robust Tamizh influences,” she shares, drawing extra parallels between the favored corn tortillas and sola roti, Mexican rice and thakkali soru, totopos and appalam. “The traditional Tamils have been worldwide merchants and wherever they went, they left an inimitable hint of their presence.
Linguistic evidences declare how the Mayans have been Tamils from Ceylon and there was a robust Tamil presence in Mesoamerica too. That’s why we discover such influences and similarities within the delicacies, amongst different points,” she explains, giving us a peek into the origins of one other standard dish from the Mexican delicacies – Tamale. “The dish is much like our Ilai adai/kozhukattai.
Whereas Tamale is broadly understood as a phrase for wrapped meals, the etymology of the phrase Tamal, in historical Tamil merely means husk or leaf. The leaves of the Tamalam tree are known as Tamala Pathram in Tamil. There are mentions of the Tamale in historical Tamil poems together with one written by poet Kabilar in his Kurinji songs from the Tamil Sangam period,” she particulars, diving right into a maze of historic references.
A reaching via recipes
Priya, via her Instagram web page, has been serving historical past of the Tamizh land’s meals tradition to fellow fanatics and ‘Tamilanders’. Began in 2018 as a easy web page to share her culinary prowess and historical Tamil meals recipes, the web page took a flip when Priya’s enthusiastic hunt on the Gram for the same web page led her to a useless finish. “I discovered pages that mentioned the historical past of a number of different international cuisines however there have been near none for the Tamil delicacies.
A minimum of those that talked about its historical past. I used to be impressed by Karim Moyer-Nocchi, a professor, who runs a historic Italian meals Instag ram pa g e and I made a decision to dive into creating one for Tamizh meals,” says the blogger, with a level in mechanical engineering and industrial engineering. We’re engrossed as we scroll down her web page. The grids are dotted with the vernacular names of greens – Vidhaiavarai (beans), Pachai poo kosu (broccoli), Senkizhangu or Akkaraikizhangu (beetroot); with mouthwatering conventional recipes, and laced with pearls of Tamil knowledge.
We’re made conscious that the broadly commercialised Mulligatawny soup is nothing however milagu thanneer (Pepper water), an historical title given to rasam, a dish infused with black pepper and tamarind extract. “Throughout historical occasions, this was not served with rice. It was served in a mann paanai to drink on the finish of the meal because it helped in digestion. The Britishers determined to thicken it with tomatoes, greens and generally even meat to make it consumable with a spoon.
Now, our milagu thaneer is standard throughout the globe. Common manufacturers have processed it into ready-tomake soups too with out crediting its origins. How many people realise this?” ‘Kezhvaragu’s (finger millet) historical past within the Tamil context might be traced again to about 4,000 years’, ‘The title idli is derived from Ittu, Avi (Pour and steam)’, ‘Thosai (Dosa) from Thoithu sei (Ferment and use)’, ‘There are mentions about Thosai even in Sangam literature…’ In our 30-odd-minute dialog, Priya peppers nearly each minute with an fascinating tidbit in regards to the Tamizhland.
Analysis, serve, repeat
Priya spends not less than 5 hours day by day to learn and acquire details about totally different dishes which have now both been anglicised or are misplaced in time. “There are books, scholarly researches and a number of channels that give insights into our meals historical past. Researcher Orissa Balu’s talks have been a information too. We simply must spend time to look, be taught and share,” gives Priya, whose web page following is slowly inching in the direction of the three,000 mark.
“I obtain a variety of help from Tamils from throughout the globe. It’s fascinating how those that will not be residing of their motherland now, are essentially the most involved and about their historical past. When one thing is so accessible to you, you don’t worth it and fail to protect and admire it. Plenty of help has come from second-generation Tamils from the Eelam too,” beams Priya, who additionally conducts Instagram stay cooking courses.
“The concept is to deliver international consideration to what we have already got and hopefully revive what we’ve misplaced,” she shares. Priya additionally conducts cooking courses on request. “One among my longest cooking class was with an American on making ready a Banana Leaf virundhu. It went on for 4 hours, however we had essentially the most enjoyable!” she laughs.
Whereas it takes a variety of effort to place collectively content material that’s genuine to Tamizh historical past, it’s usually met with cynicism from totally different pockets, informs Priya. However her husband has been a wall of help and a sounding board in her journey. “I’ve a behavior of connecting up to date occasions with historic references. Not lots of people have the endurance to take heed to them. However he does! He’s maybe the one one (in addition to my followers) who listens to all of it,” shares the inventive.
Presently, she is working in collaboration with @WhatthePottu exploring and documenting the meals and lives of early people from the 5 Tamizh thinnais (Tamil poetical- geographical landscapes). “I need to use the goodness of know-how and additional doc this historical past via YouTube movies and podcasts,” she provides.
Go to Priya’s Instagram web page: @Tamilfoodhistory