What is that brown coloured powder that is sprinkled on this Malai bun, can you guess?
From Chennai, to Madurai to Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari, what is common in Tamil Nadu is the love for food and the general appetite for simple, soul food. Beyond the usual suspects (read: idli, vadai and dosas), there’s much to relish here, dishes that are brimming with Tamil Nadu’s colonial past, dishes that were adapted to local palates.
The European settlements in Tamil Nadu began happening during the reign of Vijayanagar Empire itself, from the Dutch to the English, Tamil Nadu witnessed many European colonisers, which paved way for many culinary exchanges too. Buns or breads, a fairly European phenomenon, became mainstream in Tamil Nadu by the end of the eighteenth century, the locals came up with various recipes with these buns, eventually, it became a breakfast favourites, and now it is difficult to stop by a local chaiwala and not spotting a stack of buns ready to be served.
One of the most famous bun preparations from the region is the sweet Malai bun. For this, a fresh bun is cut in half, then hot malai (or a thin creamy layer) is taken from boiling milk and smeared on both halves. Then a bit of sugar is sprinkled on top of the bun. The buns are further cut in two portions from the centre, this time vertically, and served to the customers. This sweet, creamy bun is usually paired with tea.
In this trending video by Instagram page @madrasappetite, we see the two portions of cut buns being smeared with Malai that has been muddled in a steel glass, further, the vendor also adds some milk so that the malai and the milk obtain a more ‘spreadable’ consistency. The malai is slathered all across, this is followed by addition of sugar, which is followed by a sprinkle of ‘brown-coloured’ powder. People in the comments section are guessing it to be cinnamon powder or brown sugar, what do you think it is? Have a look a look at the video that has already clocked more than 315K views in three days of going live.
You can find the Malai bun for Rs. 25 at Chai Hub, Anna Nagar. Or better still, try recreating the recipe at home. Do let us know how you liked it. What are some other bun-related recipes that you like to have with your cup of chai?