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Oct 17, 2012 04:31 PM

Tamil cooking: serwa

I had kottu porotta for the first time at a Chettinad restaurant. The kottu was served with a yoghurt raita and some kind of gravy. I asked the waiter how to eat the kottu and he instructed me to pour the yoghurt and the "serwa" on top of the kottu. I liked the serwa and tried to google it in the hope of recreating it at home. I found only one hit that and on the site it said something like "serwa is served on the side with biryani." If you know what this is, can you guide me in the right direction? Is this a broadly cooked gravy or specific to the Chettiyars?

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  1. Googling is also leading me in the direction of the word "salna" which is reminding me of saalan (wet curry gravy in Urdu.) Maybe serwa is a synonym for salna? In what I am reading it says salna is served with kottu porotta and with biryani. Maybe I misheard the waiter and he actually said 'salna' and not serwa?

    1. I found myself totally overwhelmed by my ignorance when I read your post.

      So, I started looking. The site I found had a few pictures and one interesting Chicken Pepper Fry, recipe. This won't answer your quesiton, but might be useful for others here who find themselves in wonderment at not knowing most of the nouns you used.

      1. Maybe it was his pronunciation of "shorba/shorwa" (broth?), which would make sense given kothu parotta?

        Otherwise, this is not a term I recognize, though I know less about Chettinad cuisine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rasam

          I also thought serwa might be etymologically connected to shorba...

        2. I had kottu porotta for the first time at a Chettinad restaurant
          Wow. Noun wonderment, +1
          THIS is why I love CH. This is why I love food. Such awesome opportunities for learning something new!

          1. I think it might have been shorba/shorwa ... or saalan( the hyderabadis will use that term)
            some places also serve it with biryani, but essentialy the sauce in which the meat got cooked...

            But then I dont know much about Chettinad cuisine except that it is hot and spicy and yum.