Timeless Tastes of Tamil Nadu -Sevai: A simple dish with a rich history.
The Southern states of the Indian Subcontinent are lands of rich and diverse history and culture. Emperors across the land sought after war and peaceful treaties to expand their empire in South India, and they brought along with them their traditions and their heritage to enrich the commoners.
Many young bloods, around the world, still carry these values and knowledge that’s been passed down generations after generations. In parts of the rich history that these empires contributed to, one can also find the origins of some of the famous and delicious recipes today. We recently went down the rabbit hole of traditional dishes and found a treasure chest, to bring you the recipes that stood the test of time, and a history lesson that’s short and sweet.
Sevai, today, is a common and simple dish among many households in Southern India. It is believed to have been made first in the households of Tamil Nadu during Chola dynasty. It’s referred to as string hoppers in modern parlance, and also as rice noodles. In fact, it is a type of vermicelli that is made with either rice or wheat or ragi.
This is basically a breakfast dish but with one’s creativity and with the variety of flavors you add, it can also extend on your dinner table as a total meal. To make Sevai at home, one requires a special equipment called sevai nazhi or sevai extruder which is available in all steel stores in Tamilnadu. With all its simplicity, Sevai has endless possibilities.
Sevai can be a part of your breakfast or dinner; something simple, moderately spicy and tangy. The varieties include the flavor of Tamarind, Lemon and Coconut. Or, you may have a sweet tooth and prefer a dessert, add Sevai to your Kheer or Paal Payasam and enjoy a sweet treat. Or, you may wish to tame the wild growls of your stomach craving some meat, feast yourself with a plate of Sevai and mutton kuzhambu (lamb curry).
A quick peek at how Rice Sevai is made:
Soaked parboiled rice is ground into a paste without adding much water. It is made looser than the chappati dough. Transferring to a thick bottomed dish, it is gently cooked adding gingelly oil until the raw smell of the rice disappears. After a while, a handful of dough is taken and shaped into small dumplings and steamed in an idly cooker. After steaming, the dumplings are placed in the hollow of the sevai extruder and the lid is screwed over the hollow till the extrusions fall on the plate kept below.Now, you have the freshly made sevai ready! You can dress this sevai depending on your favorite taste and spice or sweeten them accordingly.