Sunday, April 01, 2007

What is your comfort food?

My comfort food is Saaru-Anna. Saaru is a kind of Rasam, but it is thicker - it has dal(pulses). Where Rasam is best drunk, Saaru is best mixed with rice (and.. err.. ghee) and eaten. But yes, Saaru can be drunk too, when you allow the thick dal part to settle down, and you carefully ladle out the watery part into a cup - best had hot.

There are varieties of Saaru too, with less dal, with only tomatoes, with only pepper, etc., but my favourite is the standard version - the one with dal and tomatoes, and a garnishing of asafoetida and mustard in ghee. And of course, topped with coriander and curry leaves.

Give it to me with soft, steaming hot rice (Anna), and sigh.. life is good.

But. But, when asked to name my favourite dishes, Saaru-Anna hardly ever figures in the list. But if I go for a week without eating Saaru, I start craving for it - and I feel like I have had a good meal only when I eat a plate full of hot Saaru-Anna.

Saaru-Anna was what I would request for while visiting relatives from the hostel, and my mom always made Saaru-Anna for the first meal when I came back home for the holidays. If I am recovering from an illness and don't feel like eating anything, it is usually only Saaru-Anna that is palatable.

I am a foodie, as I have said a number of times on this blog, and I love to taste new dishes. I enjoy the gastronomical delights of the place I am visiting, when I go on vacations or holidays. But when I come back, it is only Saaru-Anna that soothes my taste-buds (and also mind, body and soul).

I don't even need to eat this everyday - I can go for days on end without it. But when I do finally get to eat it, I feel at home. Its like that old pair of pyjamas - that gives you peace of mind.

I see this Saaru-Anna phenomenon all around me. My entire family, friends, most people I know who are accustomed to Kannadiga cuisine behave just like I do when it comes to Saaru-Anna.

So what is your comfort food? [Please mention the kind of cuisine you are originally accustomed to, along with your reply. Just a personal survey. Thanks :)]


Anonymous said...

I too love saru-anna (including family)...saru-anna illade ondu dinanu sagulla nange, it's a must for dinner at home with family. My personal favorite is tili sarru, huli saru - specially those made out of capsicum.

8&20 said...

does chai count?

Usha said...

I miss rasam rice too - must have it at least once in 2 days. But comfort food - that 'd have to be curd rice, not sour but milky and thick with hot pickles.

Anil P said...

Nothing quite like saaru-anna, especially with a genereous sprinkling of curry leaves. saaru tastes different across South India, and therein lies its charm, especially teeli saaru.

Anonymous said...

Dont have anything like that per se, but of course, TiLi Saaru -Anna with Tuppa is a heavenly combo.

I relish the Saaru that is served across Mangalore-Udupi Districts, the one with green chillies and without Rasam Powder. My mom adds Tomatoes for some effect, a dash of lemon juice would make the dish perfect.

Nice post. Just reading it is making me feel hungry.

Anonymous said...

i luv Mudde-Saaru especially idikinabele saaru !

Anonymous said...

Mine would be curd rice with pickles :0)).. any day any time.. and you know the cuisine I am accustomed to..;)

Anonymous said...

anna saru idara munde namage bere illa adare mosaru anna illade namma oota mugiyalla.

karnataka saru is really tasty
navu maduva saru ati madhura namagella. shruti helida hage
idaralli belyeau sogadu jothega ingu mithvada oggarane and all
ingreiddetns are there. bisi bisi yagi oota madidare adara majane bere
namma saralli no vegetable capsicum saha illa adu namage huli/sambar no huli saru

Anonymous said...


Me too.......!

Anyday give me saaru-anna and badane kai palya for side, I will have it lots-n-lots!

and usha, of all I like huli-mosaru a lot and whenever I say this the expression on people's face should be seen ;-)

Anonymous said...

forgot to mention, saaru-anna is fine, but without ghee (in a big spoon) I won't even touch it.

When people comment on some well-built person that 'chennagi tuppa haki belsidare', I look at myself and laugh :-)

Anonymous said...

I cherish that devastanada ooTa a lot. That we get in dharmastala/shringeri etc.,
Yeah, Anna saaaru being our staple food, anyday I like it. MoLake HuralikaLu saaru and avarakalu saaru(huLi which ever applicable) is my favourite

Shark said...

I love it's partner... Mosaru-Anna! But Mosaru should not be sour... Not one of my meal is complete without curd-rice :) and pickle is an add-on!!!

Me and P went on a week long trip to North India.. and were seriously starved for some home made saaru and mosaru anna... you should have seen us the first day we came back! We both hogged up so much of rasam and curd rice.. we were not even able to breathe properly.. seriously!! :)

V said...

Growing up in Chennai, dosai was an everyday living in US I hardly go through the pains of making dosa batter.. but suddenly the craving for a crisp dosai topped with ghee and spicy sambhar and my personal favorite sugar to balance the heat! that's my comfort food..

Anonymous said...

While clicking on the comments link, I was 100% thinking of reading our British Viky's comment to this! :)

Looks like I beat him to it again! Lo, Viky, papa kano neenu! Neenu alli irbekaadre Shruthi ge ee thara post baribeku anistu! :)

Let me leave it with this story:

It was my munji. I was 12 years old. They had made me sit and do all those rituals right from 5.00AM in the morning till 2.30PM in the afternoon. My stomach was burning with hunger so much that I would have hit the shastri-galu and run off to have my lunch. I don't know if he read my mind (or stomach!) but he let me off for lunch.

Now, they had served me the most elaborate lunch in the biggest leaf and all that. They came with all the usual stuff - kosambri et al to start with and then came the signal to start - "thuppa". I quickly gulped down the pappu-anna. And shouted to the "rayru" to get me some more anna. He ran and got me some anna and got some sambar also along. I didn't even care to see what sambar it was. I asked him to get "Saaru".

The scene looked like this: A huge mountain of rice with a depression in the middle to take the saaru. Now, everyone was looking at me. I didn't care. I just wanted to have my most favourite dish. To hell with what the others thought of it!

Rayru got the saaru and gave me one final look as if to say, "Are you sure you want to do this?". I wasn't looking at him though. He served. I ate.

Even today it's a part of folklore in my family. "Adi saaru anna tinda hange neevu yaaru tinakke agalla" is the most often heard statement to the budding youngsters in the family! :)

Just to end it with a slight personal touch: Amma na kyina saaru anna kintha enu illa ee jagattinalli! [There is nothing better than that rasam rice that is prepared with mother's love]

Shruthi said...

Yesh, yes, that is huLi! Yum too :)

8&20, of course, why not? And I find it comforting too!

Usha, yeah... that I am sure will figure second on the list of Kannadigas ;)

Anil P, totally agree!

Vani, loved your post on the same issue!

Shadow, wow, but what is Idikinabele?

Madhu, ah yes, I do :) and I saw you today, btw :D

Praneshachar, yes!

Chaitanya, hmm... will remember that! :) And ghee? I don't believe it! And I don't like huli mosaru :P

Veena, now I am getting hungry!

Shark, ha ha :)) I totally understand that feeling :D

Pooh, ah you poor thing... I hope you get to eat the dosa of your dreams asap!

Viky, Oh, his highness is very busy these days :) And loved your story :D
Also, I agree with you. Wherever you go, nothing can beat the Saaru made by Amma!

Anonymous said...

Ganji-Oota , uppinakayi (pickle ) :-)

Viky said...

Shru, that was Mysorean with the story, not me - your response ought to be addressed to him!!! :D You guys really miss me here, don't you!!! Thanks. Me khush!!!

Coming back, I LOVE saaru-anna - esp the obbaTTina-saru, always prepared when they prepare obbaTTu. I also drool on mosaru-anna and huruLikai palya. In fact, I am the first to finish the huruLikai palya served as one of the "erDu hasi (kosambari) - erDu bisi (dry curries)" on a banana-leaf spread. I also relish particularly, the taste of the saaru served at Udupi temple.

Mysorean, maga en keLtiya?? Paapa me, I'm here far away from home-food, inventing new ways of NOT making food with every experiment, and Shru HAS to write all this...I'll tell you, I have half a mind to have her cook my food for a week's time - she owes me phulkas already (remember Shru??)

Anyways, nin munji kathe keLi sakkat maja bantu - full kooLe. I wanted to strike gold, but I'm not able to give as much time as I would like to.

And Shru, its good to open your blog and find a new post almost everyday.

Viky said...

And Adi, the next time I see you, I will definitely remember to kick your backside for calling me British.

Maverick said...

i've seen it so many times in ur comments but cant help repeating it. its curd rice, with a pinch of salt. a pickle on the side doesn't matter much and have u ever tried mixing mashed banana in the curd rice gosh its so filling and tasty. u'll wantto have more but u'll feel so full.

Altoid said...

Definitely amma's anna-saaru and mosranna. Nothing, absolutely nothing to beat that!

Anonymous said...

delicious post. but ellaru maado saaru onde taste iralla, alwa? some saarus are really yumm!

i love any veg. food. and everyday, i eat saaru with a topping of "Thuppa" and "Kene".

by the way, wanted to tell you that there is an organisation in Karnataka dedicated to SAARU:

Shruthi said...

Mysorean, the comment addressed to viky in my previous set of responses was meant for you :D

Bachodi, wow, slurp! esp in summer :)

Viky, yeah yeah, no missing nothing... just a slip - coz I was writing about you.. ashte... you can put your collars down now. Oh yeah, I think we call that HoorNada saaru. Yum :) And as for Udupi saaru - you share that taste with Vani - hmm... I haven't tasted it.
And oye, I am not your cook - I have better things to do in life ;) As for my blog, lets just say that I feel more verbal nowadays ;)

Maverick, mashed banana in curd rice? Seriously?? I don't have the guts to try that out! :D

Altoid, welcome to the club ;)

Bellur, ROFL!!! Saarige samsthe indeed!! Toooo good :)
Yes, everybody's saaru doesn't taste the same... I am talking about Amma's saaru of course ;) And kene with saaru? Hadn't heard of that!

Emma said...

Don't have anything like that per se, but I love drinking rasam, any day. Normally, we eat traditional Andhra food at home, but rotis and not rice.

Saikrishna said...

bisi anna ssaru and then curd rice [with thick sweet curds]..sigh. Is there anything else in this world? ok..ok..perhaps there is - make that served on a babana leaf with a hapla.. Eee :)

Anonymous said...

Shruthi, yummy post!!! :)

Though I am as Mangalorean as most of you are, I do not speak nor understand Kannada (am Konkani, remember) missed out understanding many of the food items mentioned here.

But I did understand saaru anna. We call the thick kind of saaru (with lots of different veggies thrown in like eggplant, drumsticks, onions, potato, tendli etc - not necessarily all but most of them) "kolambo". The thickness comes from the daal used and the taste from the "sambar" powder my mom makes at home.

Am lucky enough to get to eat it at least twice a week for dinner. Just a lot of rice, kolambo and a little mango pickle (the spiciest ever - this too home rather mom made). Sometimes we team this up with onion wadis (small rose shaped things that are first shaped and then dried in the sun and stored to be deep fried later when they are to be consumed). I'd say that is my comfort food. Am always sated after having this.

In any case, none of my meals are ever complete without having a little rice. Obviously there are other forms of the saaru, the most popular being the tomato rasam and another which we call the "devalacho saar" (temple saar) because it is normally served in the lunch we used to have at temples in and around Mangalore.

Even the "dalitoy" - yellow daal garnished with green chillies, sesame seeds, curry leaves which my mom makes everyday (I only like this kind of daal!!) would figure in my list of comfort foods along with rice.

Wow, have surprised myself - am not vegetarian and even then my comfort foods are totally veggie!

And now I'm hungry!!!

SM said...

oh all you cruel cruel people!!!!!!
reading this sitting in a freezing air conditioned office in far away UAE, far far away from family in b'lore ---- and having recently discovered that i am insulin resistant (if i don't take care, i'll become diabetic soon) so i have to cut out anna /all forms of carbs :-(( and to find this mouth watering (slurp slurp slurp)blogpost and comments.

i demand to be served anna saaru, tuppa, hurlikayi pallya, thick creamy kalasida mosara anna(yup the one with voggarane / kaju/ grapes in it) right now! :-)


tantrik-porter said...

saaru anna followed by err.. mosaru anna :-D araLu sandige on the side!

Impressionist said...

Hey nice blog u've got here ;)
I like Mosaru Anna :D My day is not complete if i dont eat it :D
hope to see more frm urside

Peace & Love

Shruthi said...

Emma, hmm... Andhra food with a difference..?

Saikrishna, happala!! waaah!!

Sachin, yummy comment! I am oh-so-hungry now... serves me right, I guess, for starting this topic :(( btw, what you call wadi, we call sandige. There are different types of those.... and they are one of the best "inventions" ever, right?

Smitha, oh you poor thing! I hope somewhere, the wheels have started turning that will deliver your cherished meal to you veryyy soon (eat the carbs just this once!)

Tantrik-porter, Aralu sandige...wooww!! You are right.. mosaranna and aralu sandige is a great combo!

Rajeev, thanks :)

Unknown said...

I like stuffed things! I dont like saaru just for that reason! Thats my last resort! I like Huli Anna! Any vegitable for huli would do!

Anonymous said...

My favorite cuisine remains Indo-Chinese hehe, but yes, comfort food be nothing other than: "Tavve Anna"

My mouth is already watering even by uttering Tave Anna. Tave Anna mixed with lime juice and ghee, with thokku or uppinkai and some kosambri - AHAAA!!!

Jeez, u made me all hungry!!

Anonymous said...

Different dishes for different times of the day...

Uppittu and Coffee for Breakfast

Anna/Saaru of course for Lunch.. and Curd Rice with Nimbekayi pickles

Dinner.. Anna and Goddu Saaru has always been my favorite...

How about Nuchinunde?? mmmm

Anonymous said...


Saaru for me too. But am forced to cut back on the tuppa anna bit if you what I mean ;)

Loved this post AND all the comments too (except badnekayi :P)

angada said...

thiLi saaru - anna.
whenever i visit home, i always ask amma to prepare this every day till i leave!

Anonymous said...


SO many posts of yours is in one way or the other related to food. And how I hate you for this ;)

Rasam saadam(anna) with neyi (ghee) and potato fry, all prepared by amma is heaven to me.

--Chitra (bhel)

Shruthi said...

Sandesh, stuffed things? quite vague, huh?

Supremus, yes, yes, I remember you waxing eloquent about it on my Banana Leaf post :)

Vijay, great taste, I must say :) Nuchinunde!! Now! I want it right now! :(

Shankari, ha ha, I know it too well :D

Angada, yeah! Thili saaru is so yum!! But we were forced to eat the thick dal part when we were kids... because it was "good for us"! :O

Chitra, what do I do, Chits? I can't stop thinking about food! You are just lucky that I write such few posts on food! :)

Unknown said...

whats vague in that??

Maverick said...

seriously, we andhra people do it a lot. and 've u ever thought of having mango juice (the ones freshly squeezed frm a mango along with some pulp) in a curd rice. i bet u can't forget it

Shammi said...

tamil cuisine, me. And vattha kuzhambu with roast potatoes and cucumber raita is my idea of heaven. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Shruthi.....
Very nice one.I just love anna and teli saaru, its simply superb. This combination is not complete without tuppa :-)
U know what I felt like eating anna and teli saaru while I was reading but was at work :-(. So I will prepare it tonight....its best when eaten hot u see.

Cuckoo said...

Nice yummy post it is.

Hmmm Being a north indian I like Rajma chawal & alu Parantha but I equally love curd rice with that instant mango pickle. Also rasam-rice.

And I love that manga-ingi (Mango-ginger) pickle. My south trips always have bags full of different powders & pickles.

me ^^ said...

ive meant to reply to this blog since forever, but laziness always wins. ALWAYS.

my comfort food is potatoes (ARE potatoes? stupid english language). ive stopped eating potatoes for health reasons, and i never realized how much i loved them until i gave them up. but even now, when im sad, i wasp some potatoes, peel them, sprinkle some salt n peppah, some butter, and throw it in the oven. and in a half hour, out comes heaven in a baking sheet.

btw, for a person who loves potatoes so much, i have an irrational phobia (like there are ANY rational phobias) of potato stems. you know, those ugly green things that grow out of potatoes that have been lying around for too long? i attribute my fear to jumanji where there were plants growing out of EVERYWHERE. scary mess that is.

ok i digress, potatoes = heaven. the end, please clap.

vasanth said...

Saranna is great!

Good Mosranna is completion aka bliss!

Murali Parthasarathy said...

Like they say ...
CR as in Carriage Return is the end of a line.
CR as in Curd Rice is the end of a meal.

And preferably that meal should include saaru-anna.

Anonymous said...

Its saaru-anna and majjige-anna that makes my day!

Anonymous said...

I have been around the world and tasted all kinds of food - but what makes my day is Anna-Saru & Hunise Hannina Chatni on a Banana leaf.

When it is time for a meal on an outing on foriegn soil I've always dreamed of having Steaming Anna-Saru. On a beach/ Disneyland/ or any other theme park after a hectic day of running around. Whenever I mention this to my friends they've usually laughed at me saying I am too fussy eater. :) After reading your blog I felt I am not alone.

Some of the Sarus made in different parts of Karnataka are very unique. Following are few of my favorite.

1] "Shenga Tambli" (Ground nut paste/Chilli/ Cilantro)

2] Mosaru kara (Yougurt/Chilli/Snake Guard)

3] Holige Saru (Generally made when they make Holige/Obbatu)

4] Uduka Mudde Saru (Lentil (Dhal) water - Hand Squeezed Roasted Chilli/Garlic/ Cilatro leaves/ Squeeze of Lemon) - This is genarally had with Mudde.

The value of these are realized when we are away from home/India.

Sudhakar said...

For me it is Hot rice + Egg curry. I realized how much I crave for it, only when I went out of India.

Nice post :)

Abhipraya said...


I have been resisting posting my comment for the past 2 days but today I give in! My comfort food is moLake kaTTida hesarukaaLu saaru with loads of coconut ground in it, Hitikida beLe saaru kusubalakki ganji with loads of ghee and mango pickles and of course MR :-)

Lovely post and seeing the responses I feel I am not the only one who thinks about food all the time:-)

And BTW Veer, where can I find the recipe for shenga tambuli? sounds yummy!

Shruthi said...

Sandesh, well, you said, "stuffed things"... so I was wondering - stuffed animals? Stuffed toys? ;)

Maverick, oh man! And mango pulp with curd rice, I have eaten on one of my visits to the Malnad region of Karnataka - can't say I liked it too much!

Shyam, roast potatoes? And how is that made? My mouth waters. Recipe on your food blog please!

An, I hope you made and ate anna and saaru with lots of thuppa!

Cuckoo, I love alu parathas too -- and mangaingi pickle - I thrive on it!

Me^^, Applause!! oh mannn that sounds amazing! And ROFL on the sprouted potatoes :D

Murali, ha ha, I like that! :)

Veer, slurp! How do you make Shenga Tambli?

Sudhakar, thank you! :)

Abhipraya, welcome to the club, my dear! You made me hungry just by describing those!

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether anybody has heard of MOSSARANNA. Its made like this. After youve had your saaranna with tuppa you add bili anna to the saaru left in the plate and add mosaru to it. I can keep eating this and if there is a little bit of mavina uppinakaayi- ummmmmmm.

Unknown said...

stuffed as in 'holugalu' (pieces of vegitable)! I'm a veggie 4 u!!

Anonymous said...

Saar'e jahan se achchha !!!

(Courtesy-- a friend of my friend)

Nihal said...

Being a hyderabadi, my comfort food would be hyderabadi biryani obviously

Shruthi said...

Shashi, heh heh! Mossaranna is what we were made to eat as kids when we tired of saaru anna... mosaru would be poured on it, and then we were made to eat it. Personally, I hate it! I love saaru anna and I love mosaru anna - but both of them together.. no chance!

Sandesh, ah ok!

Nagraj, hee hee, good one!

Loonface, mmm....!

Anonymous said...

Shruthi/Abhipraya here is the recipe from the expert (my wife). Who did not know cooking when we married and learnt all this just for me.

Shenga Tambli Recipe:


1] Roast Groundnut: 50gm
2] Cumin Seeds: 1-2 tbsp
3] Garlic (6)
4] Tamarind or Lemon juice as per taste
5] Salt
6] Roasted Green Chili
7] Cilantro (Coriander leaves)

- Grind all the above in to a thin paste
- For Seasoning (OggaraNe)
Fry oil, Mustard, Cumin, Asafoetida, Curry leaves
- Mix this with above ground paste. Add water as per your desired level of diluteness
- Finally, if needed mix with finely chopped cilantro and onion.

Shruthi said...

Veer and Veer's wife, thanks a ton! Will make it within a day or two and let you know the results :)

Slogan Murugan said...

"Annaa-saaru" sounds more yummy than "Saaru-anna" to me. I's also the cheapest street lunch in bangalore.

Slogan Murugan said...

My comfort food is rice, curds and mango pickle

Anonymous said...

Shruti - pls don't kill me now - I forgot to add one important point to the Shenga Tambli recipe. This is what we call a "cold saru" - meaning at the end of prepartion of the Shenga Tambi as described earlier we are not supposed to boil the "Saru" as we normally do. It has to be served cold/room temp.

No wonder I didn't get to hear your feedback. Sorry.


Anonymous said...

wow..your post has set everyone's tongue craving for saaru-anna.. have u tried mosaru-anna with Moolangi Huli Holu ..its pure heaven !!

Anonymous said...

nimbe rasam n rice,curd rice(always always)chai definitely counts 8&20.aralu sandige super super!!!with spicey any pickle,akki rotti with chutney and mavinhannu rasayana,akki usli with magaliberu uppinkayi,nuchinunde,upma plain,and anything that karnatakas own cuisine i feel at home eating em as well as making em. and i make em very well im told.and you are all welcome to comeover...i stay in minneapolis.

Anonymous said...

ಆಹಾ! ......ಏನು ಸೊಗಸಾಗಿದೆ ಈ ಬ್ಲಾಗು !
ಕವನ ರಚಿಸಿರುವೆ ಹಾಗೂ, ಹೀಗೂ,
ಅನ್ನ ಸಾರು ತಿಂದು ತೇಗು
ಚಾಪೆ ದಿಂಬು ಹಾಸಿ ಮಲಗು
ಎದ್ದೊಡನೆ ಮೈಸೂರು ಕಾಫಿಯ ಪುನಗು
ನಂತರ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತರೊಡನೆ ಪೇಟೆಗೆ ವಾಕಿಂಗು
ಎಂ ಟಿ ಆರ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಮೆದ್ದು ಪೂರಿ ಸಾಗು, ಗಹಗಹಿಸಿ ನಗು .....
ಮನೆಗೆ ಬಂದು ಮತ್ತೆ ಅನ್ನ ಸಾರು ತಿಂದು ತೇಗು.
ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಈ ಅದ್ಬುತ ಜೀವನ ಶೈಲಿಗೆ ತಲೆ ಬಾಗು.
...................... ಆಶಾ ಮೇಲ್ಕೋಟೆ

Narayana Melkote said...

Saru Anna is the most favorite daily meal for most of the South Indians, more particularly Brahmins. It is also most healthy besides being tasty. It has all the spices and has medicinal value. Even if you overeat your meal, your belly will become light after just 30 minutes !In remote villages of Karnataka and in particular old Mysore districts where you hardly get vegetables during summer months, A and S becomes your favorite. It is Prasadu ku Chathambdu and Chathambdu ku Prasadu in pure Mysore Iyengars' tamil !

chinathambi said...

nice post, keep posing.

happyguy77 said...

sakkatagide ee blogu....nange anna saaru tinbeku ansta ide...amma maadida anna saaru, alugedde palya/badanekaayi palya...aaaha..paramaatma truptanaada..

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