Thursday, August 11, 2005

What is the boiling point of sambhar and other minor questions

Yes, what is the boiling point of sambhar (the lip-smacking lentil soup that is the most honourable consort to a South Indian meal) ? Well, do you at least know if the tamarind (essential component) that you throw into the sambhar raises or lowers its boiling point?
If you want to seek refuge in the obscure fact that you are/were not a science student, but a dyed-in-the-wool commerce student, like me, then tell me, do you know the history of idly? Yeah, idly.
OR, have you even asked these questions, though you did not set off on a Holy Grail search for the answers?
This time, I have not even a sliver of excuse to hide behind. I cannot ever remember having asked these questions. However, to absolve myself, I could say, I did ask the questions and merely cannot remember. That way, my crime is my memory, rather than a lack of curiosity, which is worse.
I remember how I used to sneak into the zoology and chemistry labs after class to see my friends in the science group cut up frogs or boil up colourful potions. I even had my sister bring a couple of frogs home that I could 'anatomise!' No mean streak, that was truly curiosity.
But, why am I asking these questions now? Truth to tell, I din't ask them. I just happened to be in a meeting yesterday when Dr.Ramanujam of the Institute of Matscience asked these questions to Corporation school teachers, just to tell them that learning can be great fun outside the text books and syllabus.
Not unpredictably, it was check and mate. The women were mildly curious, yes, but after some brief excitement, they knew they had no answers. That, like me, they could only hazard wild guesses that we will not even bother to prove.

x

51 Comments:

Blogger Swahilya said...

Hi Ramya: I am happy to be the first to comment on this post, though I want to comment about your post on Nepal. You have indeed brought a lot of the peace and serenity from the mountains and served it for us bloggers in the plains. Thank You.
Swaha.

4:53 pm

 
Blogger kS said...

hey ramya,

Nice posting about curiosity. One can whet one's own curiosity by merely questioning why and how at many things around. The fun part with curiosity is when you move from asking why to why not. But that's for another day!

-Sriram

5:29 pm

 
Anonymous Drragonn said...

This is off topic

Today read the article about felling of trees by Manikandan.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The same thing is happeining in the Tidel Park road. All the grown up trees from Madhya Kailash Junction to Tidel park signal are getting mercilessly chopped off for widening of the roads....

Is there any provision to save it....

5:56 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:30 pm

 
Blogger Sriram said...

Rums,
Boiling point of sambhar.. well, truth be told, every time I cook sambhar, the boiling point varies, because invarioable I mess up :D.. though the ultimate goal would be to make sambhar that doesn't kill my roomies, I will investigate this matter and let you know ;).. isn't there a very popular saying about curiosity? "Curiosity kills the cat" ;).. hopefully, my roomies will stay alive after my sambhar experiments today :D

And beign a bit serious, learnign is much more fun outside the textbook and syllabus. wait.. maybe this sounds more like it : Learning is NOT fun at all when using textbooks and antiquated syllabi. Peace out!

11:08 pm

 
Blogger B said...

hmmm....to find boiling point one should dip his hand inside the boiling sambar and if he/she gets sufficient boils.. bingo!! u reached the boiling point!!! :)

Warning: Dont blame me if u try this.

1:39 am

 
Anonymous Shyam said...

As long as the sambar is tasty, why worry about when or how it boils? :) I know I dont. And incidentally, I didnt have the slightest curiosity to look at the insides of a frog, and I'm not ashamed of it! :)

3:39 am

 
Blogger Leon said...

I actually asked my dorm mate the exactly same question about the tamarind when she was making sambar the other day. (I'm a cooking novice.. never made sambar in my life..) All she could do was stare blankly at me... lol

10:17 am

 
Blogger Swahilya said...

Hi Ramya: Boiling point of Sambar, when the air bubbles on the surface appear and break, when the essence of the vessels begins to travel from the kitchen to all around the house, when the neighbour walks in with a refreshing smile on the face, when the fresh smell of coriander leaves will just land directly into the bottom of your lungs and you can wait to have one ladle full of it to taste along with fresh thayir sadam, especially
Murungaikkai or Chinna Vengaya Sambar....I suppose this is enough to know the boiling point of Sambar.

1:15 pm

 
Blogger None said...

swaha,

thanks about the nepal comment. as for sambar, it is primarily because we revel in the sensory pleasure of the sambar (though not my cook's) tat we forget/dont think of asking these questions! one is not independent of the other. some people though have priorities. i'm just wondering how i never asked those questions!
but yes, I liked that description...

cheers!
ramya

3:14 pm

 
Blogger None said...

leon!

you, genius, you! :)

cheers!

3:15 pm

 
Blogger None said...

drragonn,

as for the tidel park patch, i'm afraid i dont think they are going to be able to save those trees... thanks to our ambitious IT Corridor project. however, i think the TNRDC has a mandate to plant saplings elsewhere...

cheers!
ramya

3:17 pm

 
Blogger None said...

sriram,

god save your roomies! amen! :)
btw, i agree with your education theory!


cheers!
ramya

3:21 pm

 
Blogger None said...

ks,

thanks a ton! and yes you are right! that's for another rainy day! :)

cheers!
ramya

3:22 pm

 
Blogger None said...

bala,

nalla advice kudkareenga! nalla velai chinna pasanga intha blog pakkam varamataanga. curses excluded, but as far as i know curses kitchen pakkame pogamaataru! :) appadiye ponalum athu saapida than irukkum!
all in all, we are safe!

cheers!
ramya

3:24 pm

 
Blogger None said...

shyam

to each, his/her own frog! :) btw, i might be in england october. just might.

cheers!
ramya

3:26 pm

 
Anonymous shyam said...

HEYYY Rums! Will you be flying via England to the USA? Planning to stop over coming or going? DONT FORGET TO LET ME KNOW!

6:59 pm

 
Blogger capriciously_me said...

hmmm...the biggest drawback i have according to my team lead is that i dont ask the question "y?" too often :( ...i am changing now..& wondering y i did not ask a lot of questions bfore...guess its got to do with the way i studied/not-studied in school :(

btw, where in the us???? california plzzzzz??

11:49 pm

 
Blogger Shrinivas said...

Well ramya, Boiling pt of sambar varies from time to time, when its in stove, when its in dish, when it is mixed with rice, when it is in mouth, when it is in throat, when it is in stomach, when it dissolves, when its exracts....goes on.. and on...

11:57 pm

 
Blogger Venky Krishnamoorthy said...

Ramya, I suggest you direct this question to Kaps @ sambhar-mafia.

8:24 am

 
Blogger johnny boy said...

One thing for sure, next time any of your blog readers make sambhar, they'll be damn conscious, and ppl will try to observe a lotta things :-)
Not me though, simple reason -> I don know C of Cooking.. I tried to make dosa once, and i forgot to pour oil on the tava/kadai, whatever it is... The trouble we had taking the dosa out, only I, and my frnd know! We literally had to scrape it out with knives! lol. Since then, i've been banned from going anywhere near the kitchen

11:52 am

 
Blogger None said...

shyam,
but of course! :)

cheers!
ramya

1:25 pm

 
Blogger None said...

C_m,

innum theriyalaye... therinjavodane sollaren.:)

cheers!
ramya

1:26 pm

 
Blogger None said...

karan

ungalukku irukarathu vaya adupa!? just kidding!
piece of advice.. try not to put boiling sambar into mouth!
:)

cheers!
ramya

1:28 pm

 
Blogger None said...

venky,

ithukku per than outsourcing-a? :)
cheers!
ramya

1:29 pm

 
Blogger None said...

johnny

try non-stick pans?! but i dont really mean that. maybe you should NOT try cooking indeed! :)

cheers!
ramya

1:30 pm

 
Blogger johnny boy said...

Not like i have a choice Ramya. Whether I like it or not, I wont be allowed to :-) hehe... If i do so, the non stick pans might land on my head ;-) in such cases, it really doesnt matter whether they stick or not :-)

6:03 pm

 
Blogger Nanyaar? said...

Sambar?? I love 'em.. nan apadiye sapuduven'..lol
cheers

Nanayaar?

7:23 pm

 
Blogger P-H-A-N-T-O-M said...

Talking of Sambhar, how about this small piece of info about legendary sambhar ...Check this

Phantom loves legends and revolving stories arnd them :-)

8:35 pm

 
Blogger sen said...

ramya,
good post.Well most of them left the important thing of making learning easy for childrens.

In many books you can see examples on objects that are foreign to us.we should be able to incorporate examples that the kids know well and should make it more fun to them

10:36 pm

 
Blogger NaiKutti said...

For the all curious cats :-), the boiling point for the sambhar increases as we keep adding all the essentials (tamarind, sambhar powder, vegetables).

Completely accept the thought on education. Lots of unnecessary things are being forced upon students while the necessary and practical ones are left behind.

Check out: http://www.hindu.com/2005/08/10/stories/2005081008540100.htm

9:47 am

 
Anonymous deepakjeswal said...

Interesting questions ... now where did i leave my curiosity behind ;)

10:37 am

 
Blogger Sriram said...

Rums,
check out me new post. Let;s see what the journo comes up with :) ANd thankfully, my roomies are alive and are well (Er.. I guess)

11:48 am

 
Blogger None said...

sriram,

will do! :) as for your roomies, god wish them well...

cheers!
ramya

2:30 pm

 
Blogger None said...

deepak!

well, good that you've left it behind in india, it might not be a very wise thing to be curious in katmandu! there, certainly, curiosity is bound to kill/ arrest the cat!

cheers!
ramya

3:17 pm

 
Blogger None said...

karthik

thanks for that tip! i had suspected as much! :)

cheers!
ramya

3:17 pm

 
Blogger None said...

sen,

absolutely, i agree with you! imagine how much more fun it would be learning, then?!

cheers!
ramya

3:19 pm

 
Blogger None said...

well, that was interessting Phantom! :)

cheers!
ramya

3:21 pm

 
Blogger None said...

nanyaar?

hmmm... i know many guys who do just that! rasam-drinking though is considered normal! :)

cheers!
ramya

3:22 pm

 
Blogger hari said...

Hi Ramya,

Well, for me boiling point of Sambar is the point where the flavour and aroma of various spices added in it gets fully activated and beyond that the Sambar begins to take the form of just coloured hot water.LOL

7:36 am

 
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8:50 am

 
Anonymous Ricky2Ramya said...

Hi Ramya,

First time here. Interesting questions. Well, it's a good way to look at these questions, I guess.

Idli though is one of the oldest food receipe to survive and dates as back as 920 A.D.

I think in this day and age we need to look outta the box to make studies interesting. Very few teachers can do that, it's easier said than done.

Anyways, nice post...:))

12:16 pm

 
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