A friend sent us a food package that gave us enormous joy. The parcel consisted of various kinds of powders in sealed packets for making dosas and idlis, along with smaller packs of podi or ‘gun powder’. Sold by a Bengaluru group, FarmVeda’s mixes are superb. Organic and healthy — yet sublimely tasty — it has powders for millet or mixed grained dosas, semolina and ragi idlis and so on. For several days in a row, we had delicious breakfasts and teatime snacks.
All good things come to an end, and these did, too. But the dosa mixes left this great yearning in me for good southern Indian vegetarian fare. I thought of ordering some food from Naivedyam, which has been selling southern Indian dishes largely from Karnataka. It has several outlets in Delhi-NCR, including in Hauz Khas, Gurugram and Noida.
I placed my order: Udupi masala dosa (₹155), Naivedyam Maharaja Thali (₹345), Naivedyam Tiffin Thali (₹285) and something called chow chow bhath (₹155) because I liked the name.
The food came at the dot of 1 pm — my lunch hour — in clean white cloth bags that somehow promised hygiene. The thalis — disposable trays with slots for the various dishes — were tightly secured with crisscrossing rubber bands, and the dosa and other items came in brown paper packets.
The dosa was whisked away by a dosa lover at home, and my wife and I focused on the Maharaja thali, which was enough to feed two. It consisted of parathas, puris, lemon rice, a dry vegetable preparation, vegetable in gravy, sambar, rasam, papad, pickle and dessert.
I started with the puris and a capsicum-potato vegetable – which was mildly hot, but delicious. The other vegetable preparation was of diced beetroot and dal. I tried that with the paratha, which, unfortunately, was so rubbery that my teeth protested vehemently.
I enjoyed the lemon rice and curd-rice. Over the latter I broke a hot and fried chilly. The somewhat sweet sambar was well flavoured, too. The rasam looked good, but, alas, it disappeared before I could say Haradanahalli.
Of course, what took the cake was the sweet and savoury chow chow bhath — a dollop of sweet kesari, served with upma, chutney on the side. This was delightful, and reminded me of the nagorihalwa that I used to eat in Old Delhi once upon a time when Corona was merely a shoe brand. The nagorihalwa, as you may remember, is a small piece of crisp puri that you eat stuffed with suji halwa.
Teatime was memorable. The tiffin thali consisted of an idli, a vada, a small dosa, one small pakora, some upma, curd rice, lemon rice, kesari bhath, sambar, and chutney. The rice dishes were kept for dinner, and the family of three shared the snacks. The vada was crisp and golden on the outside and smooth and soft within, and the rice idli soft.
This was bliss. Till the friend sends us some more FarmVeda packets, Naivedyam it shall be.
The writer is a seasoned food critic