India,  Indian,  Staple,  Tamil Nadu

What is Chatti Soru For Me?

The number of Indian restaurants in Singapore and nearby Malaysia selling Chatti Soru is growing. This rise brings worries that the real essence of Chatti Soru is getting lost. Originally, Chatti Soru was a simple dish made by Tamilian mothers using leftover fond, cooked rice, and some spices. But now, newer versions have different ingredients and methods, moving away from the traditional way.

In the past, in a Tamil home, making Chatti Soru might have started with the mother cooking a dish like Potato Varuval, adding flavours by sautéing and seasoning carefully. Any leftover bits in the pan are cleverly used to stir-fry cooked rice, resulting in a delicious rice dish that goes well with the spicy Potato Varuval. Adding eggs and a bit of lime makes the dish even more rich and tasty.

Thinking about Chatti Soru brings back memories of family love and unity. I remember my Amma serving us with care and warmth. Hand-feeding rice signified closeness, passing down not just food but values to the next generation. Teaching us not to waste food teaches responsibility and mindfulness, especially in tough times.

Furthermore, the gentle admonishments not to spill food on the floor serves as a reminder of the importance of gratitude, respect for food, and the value of not wasting resources, especially in times of scarcity or poverty. This lesson instills a sense of responsibility and mindfulness in the children, teaching them to appreciate the food they have and to be mindful of their actions.

This journey not only shows a mother’s cooking skills and resourcefulness but also highlights the importance of mindful cooking and using every ingredient well. It shows how family togetherness, love, and the joy of sharing a meal create special bonds and memories within a Tamil family.

This is what Chatti Soru reminds me of.  What about you?  Have you ever sat on the floor with your Amma at the centre, handing over the mixed rice or feeding you?

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