Do you want delicious homecooked food that is also healthy? Do you also want to support a fellow English Speaking Mum? Or maybe you are looking for authentic Indian cuisine with ingredients brought all the way from the land of Ganesh?
The search is over – it’s time to introduce to you South Indian Flavours!
I was lucky enough to try a meal a wee while ago and in all honesty, it was so good that I just have to blog about it! Sujithra hails from Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu state), has lived in Chile for four years and has two children. She began this venture in order to bring the people of Santiago a taste of real Indian cooking (which we all know has been a bit lacking here!).
Sujithra brings ingredients, such as lentils and spices, to Chile and prepares her food in the exact same way she would at home. She soaks, grinds in a special grinder and ferments her dishes in order to capture the elusivity of Indian cooking that all of us miss when we leave a visit to her country. The process is so elaborate that it takes Sujithra extensive planning – particularly the fermentation – as the temperature of the weather directly affects the result. She is also particularly health conscious and prefers not to use oil or artifical colours in her cooking. The Masala Dosa, for example, is a delicious and filling tortilla-type food that Sujithra prepares by soaking lentils and rice overnight before allowing the paste to ferment naturally for 8 hours. This allows for the resulting batter to be filled with nutrients and the combination of rice with lentils allows for easier digestion in the body (which is a huge component of Ayurvedic thought). In fact, when you eat one of the meals, the order in which you eat it is highly important to ensure the full benefit of the nutrients are absorbed and then digested easily.
I think what I appreciate the most about Sujithra’s venture is that this is food from Southern India. Few people are aware of the difference in cooking across India, given that most of the Indian restaurants outside of India have a Punjabi influence and serve up the same sauce/meat/rice/naan combination. For the newbies, here are a few facts:
- South Indian food generally uses more rice-based items as opposed to wheat because rice flourishes in the tropical and semi-tropical south.
- Due to this rice content, food tends to absorb sauces so dishes have generally less thick sauce
- Dishes made from rice and lentils include idlis, dosas, and uttapams.
- Coconut is often added, for example to make chutney, and is a revered staple.
- Dishes contain more seafood
- Spices are generally roasted and freshly ground before cooking. They tend not to use the masala mix so many of us know, which is often prepared in advance.
- Dishes tend to be more spicy than northern staples!
- South India is a mixture of mountains and hilly slopes, tropical beaches and calm backwaters. This region is well known for growing spices, particularly cloves, black pepper, and cardamom.
- Staples include: Sambhar (lentil-based vegetable stew), lemon rice, gulab jamoon (milk-based dessert), dosa (fermented crepes), idli (steamed black lentil/rice cake)
Questions with Sujithra:
- Favourite Indian restaurant in Santiago: Saffron in Vitacura
- Favourite thing to do in Santiago: Visit the Cajon del Maipo
You can order the weekly menu via the South Indian Flavours Facebook page. The menu changes each week but Sujithra can also made to order. The process starts a few days ahead of the weekend (it’s long!) and orders can be picked up from Sujithra’s place in Las Condes. Individual dishes and combination plates as well as South Indian sweets can be ordered.
To Place Orders:
Contact: +569 75778519
Or order via Facebook page here
Pickup by advance rder only at Alcantara 1128, Las Condes (Metro Colon)