I had Upittu for breakfast today. This dish can remain rather insipid no matter how much you jazz it up. The only redeeming factor about it is that it generates some absolutely yummy gari-gari.
You are probably wondering what gari-gari means. Well, it’s what we (in our family, that is) call the crispy bits that get stuck to the pan and have to be scraped away. The bits come out like little scraps of paper, thin and curling and deliciously golden-brown. Sometimes, a whole section comes out in one piece, and is greeted with utter delight! Gari-gari has fantastic crunch and you can never have enough!
When I was growing up, upittu was made regularly. We eagerly waited for the last spoon of the dish to be consumed, because then the battle for the gari-gari began in earnest. The pan would be scraped till it gleamed as if washed and dried. Sometimes the scraping was not very successful because the gari-gari would get all stubborn and refuse to part ways with the vessel. There was no sight more sorrowful than a pan rich with gari-gari ending up in the sink!
The modern non-stick pan put a stop to this crispy delight. Even if a few shavings of gari-gari managed to survive, they were pathetic and not worth drooling over. I almost forgot about my craze for it.
Of late, however, having shifted back to good old stainless steel and aluminium for cooking, good old gari-gari is back! I wait impatiently for everyone to finish eating and hog the gari-gari all by myself. Intruders into the kitchen are shooed away or given a scrap rather reluctantly.
I definitely count scraping that pan out (you certainly need a strong arm!) and savouring the little bits of crisp heaven one of the great pleasures of life!