A Very Social South Indian Supper Club

Cork's South Indian Supper Club.

Social and Local!
Pongol, the South Indian festival for winter harvest, was celebrated in a lovely social way and with some genuine Indian cuisine, at Annam, the Indian Supper Club (and Cookery Workshop) in Cork last Friday night and I was delighted to join in with about nine others. The festival is celebrated as a community event in South India and so it was fitting that our small group entered into that spirit and that everyone enjoyed this rare (in these parts) authentic dining experience.

The green devil sits in ambush on the cocktail glass!
The Supper Club  is run by two friends, Ruth and Banu: “We will be using seasonal Irish veggies for our spin on an Indian celebration. Of course there will also be a meat option for the dedicated carnivores also!” They kept their promise.
Tiffin Platter
The yogurt for the night came from McCarthy’s Natural Dairy whose yogurt is simply fabulous and you will find them at the Douglas farmer’s market, also in Bradley’s. The veg came the local farmers markets (Douglas and Mahon) while the basics, rice, lentils and spices, all came from Dillon’s Spice shop in Ballinlough. 

A warm welcome to the home of Banu was spiced up by a “welcome cocktail”. Quite a kick to this one provided by a little green devil (chilli) sitting in ambush on the edge of the glass! The food itself though, was absolutely gorgeous. It had its spices, but nothing very extreme,  and proved very easy to eat even for the Indian novices at the table.
Sambar with spinach, part of the main course
I’ll take you through the three courses. The starter was a Tiffin Platter -Ven Pongal (Rice),Medu Vadai (white lentils parcels, see photo),Mini Uthappam (pancakes) and these were  served with Coconut chutney and Sambar.
The main course was also a mixture, consisting of a Spinach Sambar (lentil based soup), Carrot Poriyal (Carrot stir-fry), Chicken Kozhambu (spicy and flavourful chicken) and pachadi (traditional South Indian pickle used as side dish) served with Rice. The side dishes were that pickled mango and also a cooling raita type dish of cucumber and yoghurt. And the minute your plate began to empty, it was filled up again (and again!)
After that, it was time for a pause and in the interval before dessert, we were served a little bowl of watered down yoghurt, a tasty drink. It had two aims, one to cool the palate, the other to cut down on any excess of wind! It was successful in the first, not too sure about the second but, as Banu joked, there was no guarantee!
Pickled mango
Time then for dessert and this was another very pleasant dish indeed. It’s name was Chakkarai Pongal  and it is a Rice pudding cooked with Jaggery, milk and flavored with cardamom, garnished with cashew nuts.
Not your usual rice pudding!

These evenings, which take place once a month, are BYO occasions. Some brought beer,others Cava, and more brought wine. I was delighted that my wine seemed to match very well with the South Indian Cuisine as I had little to go on. Last summer in a small hail-stone hit vineyard in  Vouvray, Clos d’Epinay, I bought Cuvee Marcus 2009, a semi sweet white, called a moelleux in France, though this did not appear on the label. It was, I thought, a perfect match and would recommend it or a similar moelleux.
Indeed, thanks to our hosts, to our fellow guests and of course to the beautiful food, it was more or less a perfect match overall. If you are interested in attending the events do stay in touch with the supper club on Facebook, and on Twitter and at their website.