Rava and Suji Queries

Some people love rava (or suji). I like rava, but won’t exactly die for it. Some others may kill for rava.

Now, the other day while a friend was attacking a rava dish, and insisting that it was the perfectly Tree-Tamil (Mara Tamil) thing to do, I told him that rava (wheat rava) is a relatively new entrant in the Tamil kitchen. Possibly not more than a hundred years or so old. Which explains why most of the items made with rava are stand alone. Tiffin items. Idlis, dosais and the like. Or even kesari. I am not sure if it’s new to the North Indian kitchen, but even their items are usually stand-alone.

WA tells me her grandmother will not even look fondly at rava, which further gives some strength to my logic that rava is rather new by the usual standard. Any idea anyone? A brief history of rava or suji in your kitchen?

PS – Yes, I know my dissertation is not on rava/ suji. Stop it already!

19 Comments

Filed under Food and Gastronomy

19 Responses to Rava and Suji Queries

  1. WA

    oooh I do hope that someone comes over and tells you that maRa tamizh has a different R to the tree.

    As to my Grandmother, if my mum made rava when my Grandmum was visiting, omg life won’t be worth living. Nothing else apart from idli, dosai, vadai and paniyaaram count as Tamil food.

  2. WA

    nee dissert paninaa maadhiri dhaan, naan inge velaiya mudichittu veetukku ponaa maadhiri dhaan po

  3. interesting question, hope someone has an answer!

  4. Tree- Tamil …lol
    i don like the kozha kozha rava uppuma..

  5. i was going to say it isnt the sae ‘Ra’. WA beat me to out. I just had kesari. Like 20 minutes ago.I don’t know how it came into my family’s kitchen but I thank the person who paved way for it.

    WA – ithula naan saapatu raaman’a? Most if not all your conversations with Neha are food based.

  6. (with typos corrected)

    i was going to say it isnt the same ‘Ra’. WA beat me to it. I just had kesari. Like 20 minutes ago.I don’t know how it came into my family’s kitchen but I thank the person who paved way for it.

    WA – ithula naan saapatu raaman’a? Most, if not all of your conversations with Neha are food based.

  7. I don’t know how long it’s bee since Rava came into the Tamil kitchen. All I know is the fact that naa rava upma saaptu romba naal aachu.

  8. Neha: Nee engeyo porey! Vendakka, ravva, fashion bags, lakdi ki kathi.. pora vazhi dissertaion sideley pora madiri illai :P

  9. jeyashreeravi

    I dont know when ravi came in Tamizh kitchens, but rava kesari is yummie, I will die for it.

  10. Krishnan

    I dont know when rava came into Tamizh kitchen but I adore rava kesari as well as rava uppma – like Sri, I am also a martyr for rava cause.

  11. Neha,
    I do not think Ravai(yes with an I please) is a newer import into the kitchen. It was there – in the form of kuRunoy a generic word for a particular/coarse substance. If you would imagine the process of powdering, a few centuries back – using an olakkai and cleaning (sometimes husk removal) with a mURam this product came to be regarded as a waste material of sorts – to be relegated to the back-shelves and typically given away as alms or made into kanji rarely when someone got sick. So until the kesaris and ravai idli innovators came along , ravai lay buried deep in the innards of kitchens. The rising cost of grains and a transition from agriculturist to consumerist society, plus availability of shelved products was what made it possible for ravai to transform into what it is today.

  12. Rava, one would think, is Kannadiga. Given MTR and Rava Idli.

  13. I like Rava Dosa & Suji Halwa, but wouldn’t say I’ve any particular bias towards it! Things taste better in moderation only! :)

  14. tgfi

    oh lord! serious rava kesari cravings develop!

  15. Vidya has a point. Rice kuruNai is also called ravai. The wheat version of it is probably new. My only doubt on this theory is how come it’s used in Dhavasams (for sojji appam). All the death ceremonies generally use strictly ethnic ingredients (for eg, no tomato, green chilli, coriander, etc). So why ravai?

  16. Vidya: You have a serious point there. Just a doubt though – is rava made from the usual Indian wheat? Or is made from a different kind of wheat?

    inbavalli: Fantastic. See, I would have never thought of that. You’re right tomatoes etc aren’t supposed to be “indigenous” and therefore not used for certain ceremonies. But it doesn’t fail to amaze me that rava isn’t really well integrated into our kitchens. The rice version may have been around – I don’t doubt that.. but I still have doubts about the wheat version.

  17. Sriram

    The ravai you refer to, the one we use in kesari and upma is called bombay ravai in maligai kadais. So it is not Tamil.

  18. Never thought we can infer so much from the Dhevasa Menu. Inba – Sojji appam is included only for the monthly rituals that happen until the Varushaapthiyam. But a strict no no for Rava for the Dhevasams. Btw, did nt have this infor handy. Had to ask my mom! ;)
    Neha – So hows the dissertation coming along? :)

  19. Boo, dhavasam menu varies vastly from family to family, region to region. Sojji appam is a must-have at Dhavasams in both my families (parents & ILs). But my mum’s parents used to have only adhirasam, not sojji appam. While we are at it, the monthly rituals are patterned exactly like the annual stuff, including the menu.

    Who would’ve thought good ol’ ravai will command this kind of attention ;)