Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In search of the perfect MLA Pesarattu

I have often wondered how the name of this unique dish came about. A little digging around and I found this. In the canteen inside the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, an MLA would come every morning for breakfast. He would always have an upma and a pesarattu. He would come late sometimes however and to save time, he would ask the canteen guys to put his upma into the pesarattu so that he could finish off both together!

I have no idea if this story is true or not. So, don't quote me on this. Who cares about the origin of the name however? The combination is so tasty that whoever came up with it needs to be thanked profusely!

The MLA pesarattu is essentially a pesarattu which has some upma filled inside it. The pesarattu is very similar to the dosa except that it is made out of green gram.

The pesarattu by itself is made by soaking green gram for a few hours and then grinding it into a liquid consistency. The upma is made by using 'rawa' or crushed wheat and adding water and other flavors apart from cashewnuts.

An open MLA Pesarattu

The MLA pesarattu is to be had with the regular South Indian accompaniments like chutney and sambar. This can be quite filling.

There are a couple of key things to a good MLA Pesarattu. The quality of the Pesarattu dough - care should be taken to make sure its of the right consistency. Too thick and it will taste very tough. Too thin and it will absorb a lot of oil while roasting on the tawa. The upma too should have the right amount of ghee and should be a little spicy. This gives the combination a great taste.

In Hyderabad, the best MLA Pesarattu, I think, is served by Chutneys. They have 2 branches - one at the Nagarjuna circle and the other at Himayatnagar. Both serve excellent MLA Pesarattu. They serve it with four types of chutneys (like most of the other items served here) and sambar. The MLA Pesarattu is usually had for breakfast, but as luck would have it, Chutneys serves the item throughout the day. A visit to the place is never complete without an MLA Pesarattu!

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