Thursday, April 10, 2008

The King Kizhangu

This typically happens every Sunday. The question "What is for lunch?" looms large in the mind. When people are the mood for giving themselves a much needed break - it all boils down to the food. Food defines the Sunday afternoon like anything else. A good person has been known to have coffee at around 7:30 AM. Order Idli/Vadai + Sambar from Saravana Bhavan at around 8:00 AM and wait for food to be cooked. Traditionally the accompanying vegetable of a good meal has always been the Potato. One can easily conclude that Urulai-Kizhangu or the Potato has dominated the imagination of the general public like no one else. The dimension shift that this Kizhangu provides to food cannot be described by words. But is it the King of all Kizhangus? Is there a better kizhangu than Urulai? Or have the fanatical rascals, who had ulterior motives behind the success of the potato, promoted this vegetable unfairly? Let us explore the dark secrets behind the Kizhangu world.

A Sunday afternoon lunch without the Potato was punishable by law in the 8th century. A renowned Chozha king call Urulai Chozhan killed people who dared to prepare a Sunday feast without potato. Urulai Chozhan was a vulgar king known to eat three vegetables a day - (a) the mashed potato - that is typically found in the deep dark underbelly of the Masala Dosai, (b) the kutti-kuttiya-narukina potato that has been chopped to 1x1 cm small cubes, and (c) the roasted potato which are 4x3 cm cuboidal forms that have been roasted to the point of being crispy. With such loyalty to the vegetable one could safely assume Urulai Chozhan had a bias towards this gas-inducer and did not take anti-potato people lightly. Several women, who defied his dictat and made Goes-kootu (Cabbage) on a Sunday have been made to stand in the Royal courtyard where people stood around her and threw tons and tons of potatoes on her. Once a woman had undergone the humiliation of being beaten by another man's potato, she could never cook for her husband. It was terrible. All the women cowered at the sight of Urualai Chozhan's tyranny and cooked potato without fail on Sunday.

This forced conversion of people into Potato lovers changed the way the people lived forever. History was forgotten and several prominent vegetables lost their place in the society. This wasn't the case before the tyrannical days of Urulai Chozhan. Another vegetable dominated the minds of the people. The vegetable was un-compromising in its taste, unpretentious like the evil potato, had more gas and packed more power. This vegetable was ruthlessly wiped out of the public memory by Urulai Chozhan and his successors Sena Chozhan and Sarkaraivalli Chozhan. After the passing away of the Chozha dynasty this great, yet unsung, vegetable slowly began to make its way into mainstream society. What is this unsung heroic Kizhangu that seems to be rising like the phoenix? What is this Kizhangu that is sending shivers down the Koyambedu market and Ranganathan street? What is causing all the vegetable vendors to shake in their Bata boots and move the Potato to a corner of their stall and make space for the real King. (silence)

Seiypan Kizhangu.

Also called Seepa Kizhangu (and pronounced say-pun-kizhangu). The return of Seiypan Kizhangu to our conciousness will be so great that many years from now J.R. Seiypan will write a book trilogy with a 3rd book called 'The Return of The Kizhangu' . This was real Kizhangu. Much before the evil days of Urulai Chozhan this Kazhangu ruled the world justly and fairly. Maybe more gas but it did not hurt our eyes with the bright glaze of Ramarajan yellow. It was a sober fair King. Loved by everybody and enslaved only their taste buds. So much so that Vaasuki cooked Seiypan Kizhangu everyday for her superstar-of-succintness poet husband Valluvar. He kept calling her every day exactly when she was drawing water from the well. She had grown tired of the bucket hanging mid-air as she dropped hold of the rope and rushed to attend to his summons. The gravity-defying law suits from Sir Isaac Newton's ancestors wasn't helping either. So she decided to cook Seiypan Kizhangu for him. And he never called her until the plate was empty or the well was dry.

The key to a good seiypan kizhangu is the roast. You over roast it - its blasphemy and you will rot in hell. You undercook it and you have to go to jail. It has to be roasted to the right magnitude. There should be a tinge of crispyness when you bite it and the oil should be balanced. The world of Seiypan Kizhangu is disciplined. Unlike Urulai it does not pander itself to machinations of the world. It arrives in the plate in strict size limits. It always is manufactured in spherical shape, 2.5 cm in diameter with 42 angstrom units of roasted cover around its circumference. The 'thaalichu kottification' of the Seiypan Kizhangu is a major step in the process. the right grams and dhaal need to be added in the right proportions. That gravy must slither over the kizhangu without disturbing the pristine-ness of the Kizhangu but at the same time must suck some flavor from the Kizhngu onto itself. Salt in Seiypan Kizhangu must follow atomic level precision. The salt should merge with the Kizhangu to form perfect crystalline 7-2-7 formation. Every atom of Seiypan Kizhangu must have 2 of its own protons and 3 electrons of NaCl.

So this great kizhangu shall dominate mankind like no Kizhangu before. It now lurks in a corner, far away from the limelight, while its poorer cousin Urulai Kizhangu hogs the headlines. It is plotting. While the Urulai lies in the center of the stall, the real king lies behind the shopkeeper in a sleazy corner with Karuvaipillai, Akka Pullai, Saiva Pillai and other Mapillais. People buy it as an after thought. And the insult hurts. Its eyes can see everything that happens in Koyambedu and Ranganathan Street. Slowly it shall fill the spaces of Ranganathan street, and then its Reliance Fresh. It will then shout the greatest war cry ever. A cry that will be heard in the corridors of Saravana Bhavan, Ganesh Bhavan and Anandha Bhavan. A cry that will echo in the lunch halls of every decent school. The thundering march via Padmanabhans and Arusuvai Arasus into the Muhurtham, reception, & Samandhi Virunthu menu of every Kalyanam Mandapam. Depending on how the Saravana Bhavan treats the new world order in Kizhangu - the Seiypan Kizhangu will march all the way to Wal-Mart Superstores and then there is no turning back.

The age of of Urulai is over. The time for the real Kizhangu has come.

27 comments:

anantha said...

Why is everyone suddenly talking about the Seppan Kazhangu? I don't like it at all. It gives me a itch in my throat. e

Sangeetha said...

Good imagination! You write well - I enjoyed reading other posts like "Life after Marriage" and "Nightie Nightmares" as well.

Karthik Sriram said...

Urulai is the villain - agreed.

But, youvar haanar, villification of Sakkaraivalli-Kizhangu is totally unjustified in this prosecution of urualai K VS Seppan K. Sakkaraivalli kizhangu will always remain the under-rated ill treated step brother of U.k, S.K and Sena Kizhangu.


LKS

P.S: BTW, this blogger.com is acting funny. It is allowing me to edit your post! So see if your blogger dashboard has some other feature enabled.

Karthik Sriram said...

In continuation, pls dont get ideas.. I clicked on the pencil icon, mistaking it to be the commenting icon.

Nandri,
LKS

Sowmya said...

Ellam ukkarndhu saapadara case.

Seppan Kizhangu cook paNNi irundhaa theriyum kashtam. You pressure cook it, it becomes soggy. Then you cannot roast it. You can boil it on the stove, but then you have to know when to take it out so that the skin is peelable, otherwise it is a struggle.

You cannot store it like UruLai kizhangu, it spoils faster. And the amount of oil that needs to be added to roast it, don't ask.

I like eating seppan kizhangu roast, but not cooking it. But unfortunately I am not a 'ukkarndhu saapadara case'.

Anupadmaja said...

Strong objection. Urulai can be eaten daily. Try eating cheppan kizhangu for three days in a row. Cheppan kizhangu can only taste good when made rarely.

Anupadmaja said...

And by the way, "no more ookie for you" says the Nazi.

thiru said...

i wish this scholarly article would have also covered the thayir/more saadham that goes along well with sAyPaN kizhangu

Sarang said...

I thought this post started off pretty well...... In the end, I eat whatever I get so all kazhangu's are kingus for me :)

vidhya said...

I think u r the brand ambassador for the seppan kizhangu :P
As far i know people don't include seppan kizhangu in marriage menus bcoz its used to cook thevasam(death day ceremony) so during any festive day or good thing happening in the home they won't cook seppan kizhangu.. This is the justification given by my mom when i asked her...

Mukundh said...

Nanba Bharath,

"It always is manufactured in spherical shape, 2.5 cm in diameter with 42 angstrom units of roasted cover around its circumference".

Not necessarily. It can be boiled, then peeled and then roasted retaining its original shape. That's how i have been having it all the while.

Thayir Sadham + Seppan kezhandu fry is a deadly combination. King Urulai cannot even come closer to that.

-Mukundhan

Raj said...

The kizhangu is dead. Long live the kizhangu.

Good to see the humour co-efficient going up in this blog. Keep going.

Gayathri said...

Been a silent reader for a long, long time. This post warrants a comment! Funny.. I totally agree - seypankizhangu is the king. I enjoyed it as long as I was the 'ukkarndhu saapadara case'. As Sowmya said, it is a major hassle to cook it!

Anonymous said...

uff.. a sigh of relief. As you went on calling Urula kizangu the king, my head was screaming, seppan Kezhangu...and i was gearing for a fight.. thank god.

I see others have already mentioned this, but i vazhimozhingify the same, boil it and then roast it(coating with besan before frying or not frying it = crime).

-sachita

Ps:Why do I get the feeling the post's idea came from the post about kizhangu allergy family?

PPS: Why the heck are all families so similar, even the sunday menus, gosh! Did all the moms meet beforehand?

I said...

But God created men for ukkandhu saapting.

Arun Sundar said...

lol....excellent analysis and 'cooked' up history :)

Anonymous said...

what's Seppan Kazhangu in English?

Anonymous said...

Amazing that most of the comments by guys are about 'eating' and ladies talk about 'cooking'. Looks like the average desi male doesnt do much in the kitchen even in this day and age.
I am a guy, but I am the one who does the Sepan Kazhangu cooking in the house. I have shifted to the oven with amazing results. Boil in cooker, add spices, put in oven, 375F for 20 mins. No hassles.

Anonymous said...

what's Seppan Kazhangu in English?

It is called arvi in north india, and I think (not sure) taro in english.

Hari N Iyer said...

i wish i could write as well as you .. but if i did , i will start the campaign for Urulai ! ...

Urulai is the best and will always be the king .. sepan can't touch him ..

Anonymous said...

seppankezhangu is colacasia in English(Unless it is Botanese which the super markets use in their id boards)

Hawkeye said...

anantha,

its not seppan kazhangu. maybe chinna raasa's 'katta erumbu' went down your throat.

sangeetha,

Thanks. I appreciate your feedback

Karthik,

sarkaraivalli kizhangu has a parasitic dependence on kozhambu.

hopefully i removed the pencil icon.

sowmya,

i hear you. you are absolutely correct about 'ukkanthu sapdara case'.

the privileges of being the 'ambalai' in "avan ambalai avan appadithaan irupaan nee thaan anusarichikanum" is alaadhi :-). We dont get to hear this dialog anymore. The 80s men killed it. At least spare us the Seppan kazhangu. I was hoping 'I' would reply. And he did :-).

The reason we love women is because they worry about things like " You pressure cook it, it becomes soggy. Then you cannot roast it. You can boil it on the stove, but then you have to know when to take it out so that the skin is peelable, otherwise it is a struggle. You cannot store it like UruLai kizhangu, it spoils faster. "

this makes women all the more endearing.

(signed by 'ukkanthu sapdraa case')

anu,

make it daily and it is tasty.

thiru,

thayir sadham is a separate post.

sarang,

they key question is do you get your fair share of 'seppan kizhangu'

vidhya,

isn't it sena kizhangu for devasam?

mukundh,

with thayir sadham and seppan kizhangu - the gravy cover that comes off the kizhangu is just amazing.

raj,

thanks :-). long live the seppan kizhangu.

gayathri,

someday i will cook for both you and sowmya and then the argument will be over.

sachita,

/*Why do I get the feeling the post's idea came from the post about kizhangu allergy family */

who wrote this post? when.

I have my own seppan kizhangu withdrawal symptoms.

I,

yes! i keep telling my wife that and I end up getting injured.

arun,

feel very hungry nowadays and so i am imagining stuff.

anon1,

anon3 and anon4 have answered your question. I tried to find it but googling didnt help. thanks to anon3 now we all know.


anon2,

/*I am a guy, but I am the one who does the Sepan Kazhangu cooking in the house */

please send your phone number to "I" above :-).
Thanks for the tip by the way.

anon3 and anon4,

danks so much.

hari,

urulai should be in 2nd place. never 1st.

Anuradha said...

/"the Seiypan Kizhangu will march all the way to Wal-Mart Superstores and then there is no turning back./"

It has already made it's presence felt in Kroger. We have been enjoying this delicious vegetable for while now, bought right from our neighborhood Kroger store. Best thing that ever happened!

~Anu

Vijayasanan Thirumalai-Anandanpillai said...

Ada, ada...Yenna karutthu, yenna yezhutthu! Bhale, bhale!
You just got yourself a new fan! :P

Vijayasanan Thirumalai-Anandanpillai said...

PS: I just saw your Alma Maters...Which side you root for in the annual war? osu or um?

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rahul said...

I doubt the 8th century part. Back then it was only in South America.