We were getting ready for our day trip to Srirangapattana when B mentioned this.
I did a double take. "Tiffany?!"
"Yes. It seems they serve the best Maddur vadas."
Maddur vada? I had never heard of Maddur vada .... but gulp down the line.
It would not be fun to see that "But you are a food blogger!!!" look right at the begining of our trip.
The only Tifanny I had known about till then was for the high and mighty and their love for beautiful, glittery things.
So I kept looking out, missing the lovely scenes speeding by.
Travelling on the Karnataka highways is a joy. But I tried to concentrate.
As we approached and just crossed Maddur, I did notice two names that sped by me ... A.K.Tiffany and S.K.Tiffany.
After a second of hesitation I mentioned them.
"There was a Tiffany?! Why didn't you say so ... we should have stopped!."
"They are just two run down sheds on thin metal supports that have already started to lean towards one another. Are you sure they are the real Tiffany?"
"Hmm ... what were they selling?"
"I don't know ... but they looked like tea shops."
"Ok ... there will be more ... then we can stop and check them out."
We did not see anymore of them till Srirangapattana.
On our way back, on the other side of the highway, we did see a few more. But they looked so run down and were bang in the midst of garbage and flies, that we did not dare to go over.
The man looked a little crestfallen and went on to describe what beautiful things Maddur vadas are.
"They are very crisp on the outside but soft inside. And they have soft pieces of onions in them. The whole vada is dotted with small, crisp round things.
You have to break a hot vada and wait for it to cool and then have a bite of the wonderfully crispy piece."
I listen quietly, trying my best to make a picture of the darned thing.
The description went on but the voice started to sound morose.
"But when did you ever get to taste a Maddur vada?"
"Why? In Pune! You have eaten it too."
Double double take. But again a quiet double double take.
Just as I was giving up hope, there loomed in front of us a big building with the word Tiffany written boldly on it. We parked the car and went in.
It looked like regular idli/dosa joint to me except people were standing around small round tables and having coffee and vadas.
With a look of triumph, B orders two plates of vadas and coffee.
And then starts another round of event.
"This is not Maddur vada!!!!!"
"No. Wait. Maybe they did not understand."
He walks over to the counter and tells the boy that he wants Maddur vada.
The boy nods and says yes .... Maddur vada.
B says no ... Maddur vada.
The boy nods again ... yes, Maddur vada.
Both do not understand each others' language ... so a lot of gesticulating and nodding goes on.
B points to the huge baskets on the stands behind the boy and says "Maddur vada. Hot."
The boy says " Aa, Maddur vada. Hot aa."
B says " Bring hot."
Boy says "Aa, hot aa. Illaa." All the while with a smile on his face.
After what seems ages to me, and seeing this wasn't going anywhere ... and more afraid that I must burst out laughing any moment now, I coaxed B to give up and at least try what they have served.
After all everybody else were eating it. It must be good.
"No no no ... I must have the real thing."
"Ok then ... we'll get it somewhere for sure."
I did try the vadas ... I had asked for them sans the chutney. They were crisp ... no, a little hard I thought.
I did see onions bits in them ... but they too were over fried and had turned too dark.
And they were cold. I too would have liked them a little fresh and hot.
B was so miffed that he actually did not let me take a picture of the place for my travel blog.
A few days later, after going through a lot of blogs I found out what the Maddur vada is.
What it is made of and how.
And realised what we had been served was the real Maddur vada after all. But nowhere did it match B's description.
So one weekend afternoon I quietly made all the preparations for the Maddur vada, planning to surprise B with crisp, hot vadas with tea in the evening.
After I proudly presented a hot vada, I stepped back to see his face.
He looked at it, sniffed at it, took a bite and said "Mmmmm .... tasty!"
"What is this?"
"But this isn't the Maddur vada!!!!!!"
I have here today a simple lemon rice that I usually make when I have left over rice in bulk .. i.e. enough for a meal.
I am not sure if this is the way South Indians make it but I have seen Ma make it this way always.
I sometimes add a pinch of hing to the tempering.
In winters I add fresh green peas ... my favourite ... too.
(updated: leftover rice kept in the fridge for a day or two works better)
Red chillies - whole
How to :
Heat oil in a kadahi / wok.
Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds.
When they start to splutter, add the whole red chillies, curry leaves and a tablespoon of urad dal.
Add the peanuts and fry for sometime.