Idli is the traditional break fast of southIindian house holds.The process of steaming as one of the ways for cooking is known to Indians by as early as seventh century AD.It is seemed to have started as a dish made only of black gram without mixing rice.
You may think whats particular with Ramassery idli?The fabulous idlies catapulted the tiny rustic space Ramssery into fame !What strikes you first is its shape!I s it a minidosa or aappam of southern kerala? One may doubt.The spongy and fluffy Ramassery idli is slightlydifferent in shape than the ordinary idlis.It is a little flat and around.They melt in mouth and leave a craving for more.They can be presrerved for two or three days in moderate climate.
Ramassery idly preperation is confined to four Muthaliyar families in Ramassery.People from Ramassery came to Palakkad town with head load of idlies during seventees and eighties. Ramassery idlies are sold through the outlets of Saraswathy teastall and Sankar vilas tea stall. There was an open narrow veranda and white washed walls .A tamil film poster was pasted on an improvised board., Sky blue enamelled small plain dining tables and benches were arranged neatlyin the hall.
.the Muthaliyar family is supposedto have migrated from Tamilnadu state .It was the Muthaliyar family living near mamath Bhagavathy temple.The recipe of Ramassery idli dates back about a century.The Muthaliar family might fhave migrated two centuries before.The new generation says that the secret of the taste was handed down to them a grand old woman called Chinoori ammal.
The recipe goes like this.”soak one kg of good pot boiled rice and hundred gram of black gram with black husk in separate pots to several hours.grind it along with a pich of fenugreek.wash and grind ther rice seperately.mix them thoroughly.add salt and stirr well. The batter is ready.let it ferment over night.when the tamarind woodburning stove is hot, place earthern pot(nowadays aluminium)and pour water to make steam.Take the clay steamers (almost eight inches in diameter) and tie the mouth tightly with a cotton cloth. Then pour a ladle full of batter on the net like clothes.stalk them one over the other. Cover them with a blackened pot.
The idli makers choose the variety of rice which is used for the idli making with utmost care. Kazhama,Thavalakkannan,Ponni,matta are usually chosen. .The paddy is boiled as per the special instructions given by the idli makers.”Drying and dehusking is done ina peculiar way.No one handpoundrice nowadays, ”Bhagyalachmi exclaimed!”earlier we hand ground rice and black gram together to make batter.How can one realise the old taste of Ramassery idli with the rice hulled in rice mill and batter prepared in electric grinder ?! ”
The sleepy hamlet Ramassery,punctuated by the rumbling of the enigmatic palmyaras , is situated near Mannath Bhaghavathy temple Palakkad.Kuppandi mudaliar sat on the wooden stool casting his eyes upon infinity. spreading of plantain leaves, sliding the idlis, serving the podi and chutney everything is done as if in a ritual!.He appeared as if he were older than the teashop.He keeps the organic myths weaving around the taste calmly .He places them in opposition to the commercial ,profit oriented world which is now making inroads into the hamlet through the shop. The irony of the inter face is calmly dissolved in his gaze…the ancient gaze., not a flash pride of tradition but the the calmness of harmony!,The taste enchants us in away but the characters linger and live within us more than the taste.