It was a normal sizzling summer months afternoon in Pondicherry as I rolled up my sleeves in anticipation of a special culinary practical experience. What followed took me absolutely by surprise. I was at Chez Pushpa, a ‘Table d’hote’ knowledge in Ariyankuppam in Pondicherry. This historic aspect of Pondicherry is near to the Arikamedu archaeological internet site. This was believed to be a big port focused to bead building and investing with Roman traders. Desk d’hote’ interprets to ‘the host’s table’, a term that was initially utilised in French inns where residents of the guesthouse would sit at the similar desk as their host. Chez Pushpa is 1 of Pondicherry’s most partaking eating experiences. It was listed here that I attempted mutton sambar for the initially time. It set me on a intriguing journey to unravel one of South India’s most interesting micro-cuisines.

(Also Browse: 7 Astounding Places to eat To Check out When You Stop by Pondicherry)


Photo Credit: Chez Pushpa

Motchamary Pushpa moved to Pondicherry from Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu soon after her relationship. She swiftly found out a entire new culinary practical experience: what she likes to call Franco Pondicherry delicacies. She learnt the intricacies of this cuisine from her mom-in-legislation who experienced used about 3 many years in Vietnam in Cambodia. It was pretty typical for Tamils from Pondicherry to serve in French colonies during the French profession of Pondicherry.

Pushpa is just one of the handful of remaining flagbearers of a cuisine that is slowly and gradually disappearing from several Pondicherry residences. It truly is not the only micro-delicacies that is facing an existential threat. A couple of several years in the past I had spoken to Bridget White-Kumar who champions Anglo Indian delicacies, she blamed large scale migration of the Anglo Indian group to countries like Australia for the decline in Anglo Indian cuisine. It is identical story in Pondicherry that has been witnessing gentrification of kinds in excess of the last couple of decades. Many of the town’s unique inhabitants have moved to France, that is viewing an erosion of a lot of features of the initial tradition.

Madhulika Rajan’s household originally hails from Pondicherry, her father was my German trainer in university. She reminisces about summer holidays and Christmas breaks at her grandmother’s residence in Pondicherry. Even though the French cultural affect is quite robust, she also tells me about the Portuguese culinary affect. The Portuguese set up a factory in this article in 1523, much in advance of the French arrived in Pondicherry. Just one of the traditional dishes in this article is Pork ‘Vindhai’ which is nearly similar to the Vindaloo, a Portuguese dish that is flavoured with vinegar. Dodol, a well-liked sweet in Goa is however created in some Pondicherry properties to this day.


Photo Credit score: Chez Pushpa

Pushpa serves signature Franco Tamil cuisine on a banana leaf as section of her Desk d’hote’ encounter. Pondicherry’s Tamil Catholic local community have preserved this cuisine it really is in essence Tamil cuisine with influences from French colonisation. A single of the regulars – I’ve expert this superb banana leaf two times, is a Créole salade. It is really not just the distinctive twist in the recipes, it truly is also the nomenclature. Madhulika’s grandmother made use of the phrase cotelette to explain chops (ordinarily created with mutton) that is served with Thenga paal rasam and rice. This standard Franco Tamil rasam is made with coconut milk and is ‘tempered’ with a gentle spice mix.

One particular of the many exclusive culinary techniques in Franco Tamil delicacies is the use of ‘vadavoum’. These flavour pellets had been a product or service of French colonisation. Vadavoum is a mixture of shallots , garlic, sesame oil and spices that is sunlight dried for at minimum 20 times and then preserved. The vadavoums are utilized in a number of dishes as a closing touch and incorporate a unique flavour profile to the dish. Pushpa painstakingly would make these vadavoums each summertime and retailers them for use all around the year. Madhulika tells me you will find a uncomplicated Vadavoum curry that is built around Easter.

Pushpa calls it the Margandam Mutton Sambhar, a well-known dish amongst diners who have dined at her household. The French utilised to refer to the lamb utilized in Pondicherian “mouton” (mutton). In accordance to Pushpa, Margandam sambar is derived from Dalcha that can be traced to the Wadiyar dynasty who moved to Pondicherry from Mysore escaping Hyder Ali’s oppression. This sambar combines greens with mutton ribs and is tempered with Vadavoum at the stop. You can also attempt building it with out the vadavoum.

(Also Study: Indian Cooking Strategies: How To Make Preservative-Free of charge Sambar Powder At Property)

Margandam Mutton Sambhar

Recipe courtesy: Motchamary Pushpa

Substances for dal:

  • 100 grams toor dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or any oil you would like
  • Increase 1 cup of drinking water, the toor dal, turmeric, asafoetida and oil in a tension cooker. Cook dinner it for 10 minutes. Hold the cooked dal separately
  • Substances to put together mutton ribs
  • 1/2 kilo of mutton ribs
  • 1 soup spoon sambar powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 compact garlic peeled
  • Include mutton ribs, sambar powder, salt, garlic and 1 cup of water in a pressure cooker. Prepare dinner it for 10 minutes
  • Elements to cook dinner vegetables
  • 100 grams clean tomatoes slice in pieces
  • 100 grams onion sambar (do not reduce)
  • 1 drumstick to be slice in couple items
  • 3 eggplants (slash into parts)
  • 2 soup spoon sambar powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 soup spoon of tamarind juice
  • Incorporate tomatoes, onions, drumstick, eggplant and fill water in a huge casserole till you address all the ingredients. Increase salt and sambar powder and tamarind juice. Cook it for 10 minutes.

Ingredients for tempering

  • 2 soup spoon of coconut oil or any other oil
  • 1 soup spoon of vadavoum
  • 1 strip of curry leaves
  • Just take a little pan, include oil. After the oil is incredibly hot, insert the vadavum and the curry leaves. Preserve it on gradual fire for a minute.
  • Complete:
  • Include the cooked mutton and the dal to the large casserole where by all the vegetables have been cooked for 10 minutes, now. Prepare dinner for 10 minutes.
  • Then add the vadavoum which has been tempered in the casserole.
  • Just cook dinner it for 1 or 2 minutes. Provide with white rice. 

About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a articles architect, author, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. College lunch bins are generally the commencing of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity has not waned. It is only acquired more robust as I have explored culinary cultures, street foodstuff and fantastic dining dining establishments throughout the earth. I have found cultures and places by way of culinary motifs. I am similarly passionate about crafting on client tech and travel.