How Were Idli, Dosa, Appam Invented? This Twitter User’s Funny Origin Stories Are Going Viral

How Were Idli, Dosa, Appam Invented? This Twitter User's Funny Origin Stories Are Going Viral

  • Twitter user @peeleraja posted a thread of origin stories of foods
  • Among the ones he spun stories around included dosa, idli and appam
  • The origin stories are a play on food names and are making Twitter giggle

Have you ever wondered where and how the food that you eat daily came to be in its current avatar? There’s a lot of history- cultural, political, economic etc.- behind our most loved dishes. This is true especially in India, where food is as varied and as colourful as the diversity of the culture of the subcontinent. Now that Indian food is taking over the world, a lot of food and history enthusiasts are digging up old mythologies and local folklore and stories related to various dishes to trace them back to their origins. You’d be surprised to know that even the humblest of dishes that adorn your breakfast, lunch and dinner tables have gone through several phases of reimagining and rediscoveries to get to their current avatars. But wouldn’t it be fun to imagine just how your favourite food was invented? At least one Twitter user feels so.

A user that goes by the username @peeleraja on Twitter, elicited more than a few giggles with his unique and witty fictional histories of some of the most popular South Indian dishes, including dosas, idlis and chutney. Here’s how he claimed dosa might have been discovered: “Dosa has an interesting origin. It was called “dosha” meaning “sin”. Deprived of alcohol, some Brahmin temple cooks thought they could get high on fermented rice. Kinda like sake. But their experiment failed. To salvage it one of them made fried crepes out of it”. That almost sounds probable now, doesn’t it?

 

Here’s how the Twitter user feels chutney came to be: “Dosa’s complement – Chutney was invented in Karnataka and derives its etymology from “chata” which is kannad for “bad habit.” Refers to minor bad habits like biting nails or shaking legs while seated. So a “dosha” or sin must be accompanied by “chata” or bad habit.”

Dosa has an interesting origin. It was called “dosha” meaning “sin”

Deprived of alcohol, some brahmin temple cooks thought they could get high on fermented rice. Kinda like saki. But their experiment failed. To salvade it one of them made fried crepes out of it

Many of you may be aware that dosa griddles or pans are never washed. This adds flavor of old dosa to new ones. The process is not unlike how old oaken casks are used tp mature wine and whiskey

Disa’s complement – Chutney was invented in karnataka and derives its etymology from “chata” which is kannad for “bad habit.” Refers to minor bad habits like biting nails or shaking legs while seated.

So a “dosha” or sin must be accompanied by “chata” or bad habit

Oh and idli was apparently an accident that happened during an attempt to make the perfect dosa- at least according to @peeleraja’s wild alternate universe. “One batch of dosa batter had been fermented too much. It was stinking up the Adigas’ kitchen”, the user said on Twitter, adding, “One of the adigas simply steamed it into fluffy little dumplings and asked “yelli idli?” meaning “where should i keep it?” in kannad. That is how the humble “idli” got its name.” ‘Adiga’, he says means cook in Kannada.

All these nomenclatures were given by the Brahmin subcaste caste named “Adigas” or cooks. “Adige” is the kannad word for cooking. Today, some of these Adigas run a multimillion dollar fast food chain in Bangalore though they hail from Udupi

One batch of dosa batter had been fermented too much. It was stinking up the Adigas’ kitchen. One of the adigas simply steamed it into fluffy little dumplings and asked “yelli idli?” meaning “where should i keep it?” in kannad

Also, just so you didn’t know, the appam is a hybrid of idli and dosa and here’s how @peeleraja imagined it would have been invented: “The dosa and idli traveled to Kerala and TN. In Kerala, Christian priests or “fathers” made a hybrid of idli and dosa. A pancake like dosa but fluffy like idli in the middle. It was called “appam” i.e. “of the fathers”. Appa is the common word for father in South India.”

 

Kannad culinary purists still do not eat sambhar with idli or dosa. Only chutney. The sambhar was a product of Maratha invaders much later on

The dosa and idli traveled to Kerala and TN. In kerala, Christian priests or “fathers” made a hybrid of idli and dosa. A pancake like dosa but fluffy like idli in the middle. It was called “appam” i.e. “of the fathers”

Appa is the common word for father in south india.

That’s a fun play between food, etymology and imagination and a lot of Twitter users seem to have enjoyed this thread of tweets a lot. So the next you catch yourself wondering how a particular food came to be, simply weave an imaginary story around it!

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