Monday, April 21, 2008

Onion Uttapa


After my lackluster performance in my SSC exams I thought I had sealed my fate of getting into the prestigious science stream or even get in to a good junior college such as Fergusson. Of course, anyone from India knows that merit has absolutely nothing to do with what college you get into or pretty much anything you do in life. So through "family connections" I was granted a seat at Fergusson College in the science stream. In fact my parents went one up and secured me a seat in division D of the science stream. In Fergusson, divisions C and D were reserved for the smartest students. You know those really annoying, snooty kids whose lives revolve around books, coaching classes and HSC merit lists? All of my friends however, were placed in division F—the class that every teacher feared, the class that is made entirely out of students who have come there by all means except merit. Even the girls were a force to be reckoned with. As the FYJC year progressed, my misery in a class of the snooty kids grew and so did my absence from class. And I found solace in the greatest place on campus, the IMDR canteen. Situated between the Gokhale Institute, IMDR (Institute of Management Development and Research) and the Dept of Geography, this canteen served one of the happiest places on Campus. (Also a little weird was the fact that there was a geography building and it was so big.) This canteen was the place to be for the 'Lukhi Junta' of which I was a major member. The make up of the canteen was so weird that from the outside, it looked like caged hooligans enjoying cigarettes and tea. Tea served in the tiniest of chipped cups was just all you needed to wake up, a 2 ft peripheral wall that also served as part of the seating arrangement, dented and partially washed steel plates, a flimsy roof, creaky chairs and countless flies were all things that added charm to this place. In addition the waiter ability to never write down your order and still not fuck it up were pretty amazing. Not to mention that the hill behind the canteen looked like it would crash into the structure at any minute. The food at IMDR although fair, was not the main attraction of this establishment. It was more like you ate because that’s where you happened to be. Although the bun wada at the IMDR canteen remains legendary, it seems that the bun keeps getting bigger and the wada keeps getting smaller. Let’s just hope that the management allows the wada to catch up. Besides the bun-wada, there was a second item that they did really well. The onion utappa although vastly overshadowed by the bun wada was really good. Also served in a dented steel plate, the onion utappa, sprinkled with generous amounts of onion, coriander, green chili and a generous helping of white butter really held it’s own. I made many friends here and witnessed my teenaged friends inhale their first ‘Goldflake’ here, too. And although I’ll never remember this place for its food, it will always remind me of when I went to college, but didn’t quite get there.

Ingredients
Idli Batter 4 cups (click here for idli batter recipe)
1 onion finely chopped
½ cup Green Peas
2 Green chilies chopped
3 tsp Coriander finely chopped
Oil

Method
Mix onion, peas and chili in the idli batter
Heat a skillet and spread ½ cup of the batter on it
Spread it as thin as possible
Drizzle ½ tsp oil on and around the dosa
Tilt the skillet so that oil spreads evenly on the edges
Allow it to cook till the top of the batter appears cooked
Flip dosa if you prefer both sides cooked
Serve with green chutney (Click here for recipe)