What makes man have an innate desire to cause destruction. Many of the things that he makes are actually built for destruction in the first place. Yes, I am talking about “popadums”. The little flat round brittle pieces of dough that are part and parcel of a south indian meal.
The manufacturing process is quite the toil. The dough is mixed in a mortar and pestle, and for those who are unfamiliar with the thing, its like benchpressing weights and shooting an arrow at the same time, with just one hand. The dough is then rested and rolled out into a thin sheet the thickness of a tin foil and flat as katrina kaif’s stomach. Its then cut into small round shapes and dried out in the sun. After all the blood, sweat and time has been put into it, it is then fried served, when it is promptly smashed in a matter of seconds. What a heart-wrenching waste of time and effort!! Its like painstakingly building a ship inside a bottle and then flushing the bottle down the toilet!!. Some even go to the extent of placing the popadum flat on the plate and bringing out thier pent up vengeance and vehemence on the poor wafer, to just shatter it to little pieces!
But why is a popadum round?. Why not square or triangular?. I think this has a lot to do with south indians and their affinity to this particular geometric shape. The argument of course it that everything in nature is round. The sun is round, the moon is round and so is the “ghatam” and the corresponding pot belly of the player. So the profusion of the shape and sense of aesthetics has led to the popadum, too being round.
Popadums have the loosest morals of any food item. That’s to say they go with almost anything. You can join them with rice, down them with idlis and I have even seen them being pushed in with biriyani. They appear at times as appetizers on the table too. Popadums come in many flavors. You can have them roasted over the fire or deep fried in oil or baked in the microwave. Their flavors range from regular to garlic to ginger etc to black pepper etc.
The name popadum too needs a little introspection. It almost seems that its etymology is derived by the mix of two words. Pop-(with)-a-DUM!. Which means you need to pop it with a deafening sound.!.
No matter what is said and done, these little round brittle pieces of dough are just too good!