The cuisine of a bygone era,(sanga Kalam 0f Madurai) savoured by ancient kingdoms
The Food of the Ancient Times essentially comprised of a variety of snacks, main course and sweets. On the dining table of the kings the cooks prepared 145 dishes for a single meal and often over 40 sweets! .Cooking in palaces was an elaborate affair with a team of 80 cooks. A dish served for lunch would not be repeated for dinner. The delicacies included mutton and fish in meat dishes; and cluster beans, brinjal, yam, sweet potatoes, keerai, ridgegourd and drumstick in vegetable recipes. The kings relished biriyanis and pulaos made using high quality rice like the jeeraga samba rice (samba arisi), while the ministers and subjects ate red rice (sivapparisi) and paddy rice (nellarisi). Idli (called Ittarika) was an ancient food cooked from the 17th century. It was made using urad dal and deep fried. After the Indonesians visited South India in search of alliances, the the art of steam cooking was introduced here which then caught up in our kitchens. But the addition of rice batter with urad dal in idlis came into practice only after the 17th century. Dosas have been made from the 15th century. Pooris (then called Shaskuli) exist in our kitchens from the 10th century. Medhu vadai are being made from the 1st century, while parottas (called Mandagas) have been made from the 11th century.