In South India, the traditional way of serving food is in”Vaazhai ilai” or plantain leaf . Plantain leaf has a nice aroma that would enhance the food. Living in the US, ceramics and paper plates have become part and parcel of our lives. Last year, when we had gone to India for a vacation, we visited “Chidhambaram” -Nataraja temple. My grandfather’s brother lives there. They hosted us and served a meal in the leaf. It was an artificial banana leaf made out of paper( Just like paper plates). We could not make out the difference. It was just like an original leaf. I liked them and bought 100 leaves for 100 rupees. Literally 1 leaf is 1 rupee. It makes me feel like I’m in India, ………..if i don’t look out the window to see the snow in Boston.
“Saravana Bhavan” is a very famous family restaurant in south India-TamilNadu. There is nobody that would have not eaten “IDLI, VADA, PONGAL set” from there. The picture above is how it would be, except the picture above is devoid of Vadai. It would be served with 3 chutneys, milagapodi and sambar. Although, these days instead of serving in the whole leaf, the leaf is cut in a round shape and placed on a metal plate and served.
I have posted the recipe for all the dishes on the plantain leaf in my previous posts. The Tricolor chutney, Saffron, White and Green, reminds me of “Indian National Flag”.