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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    My research on origin of the name 'chow chow bath'

    Currently an thread on 'Vanabhojanam' raised by Mohan Ji is going viral on ISC. In the same thread the author Kalyani expressed her curiosity to know about origin of the term 'chow chow' in the name 'chow chow bath'. Since I am infamous for googling, I thought it as my natural responsibility to do research on the subject matter. On searching a term 'chow chow bath' a number of resources can be located on the net including beautiful picture of the dish and recipe of the same. 'Chow chow bath' is basically a combination of 'khara bath' ( upma) and 'kesari bath'. On researching it was known that 'Chow Chow' is a famous breed of dog. So that origin of the term was ruled out entirely. One suggestion appeared that the term 'chow chow' is derived from the term 'Chow Mein' the popular Chinese dish as the 'khara bath' being a product of semolina somehow resembles 'Chow Mein'. However I was not satisfied and probed further. Then I came to know about one vegetable named as 'Chow Chow' which is known as 'seemai kathrikai' in Tamil and 'Chayote' in English language. I could not locate its name In Hindi language. It is widely used in preparation of many dishes like 'sambhar', poriyal, kottu' etc. in south India. I presume that the 'chow chow' component of the dish 'chow chow bath' has its origin in the name of the vegetable 'Chow Chow' as it might be used in the preparation of 'khara bath'.
  • #546479
    But Kailash being a brahmin and regular user of Seemai Kathirikai, I fear it is used for sambar and curry and not in the dish I referred to, when tasted they add pine apple pieces and that is nice.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #546488
    Chow Chow in South India or in A.P. is known as Banglore brinjal. It will be used to make different type of curries and it will be used in Sambar preparation. To get an idea of the image of Banglore brinjal (Chow Chow) google it:-

  • #546501
    Thank you Kailash for the research and letting us know about the word 'chow chow'. On further research, I understand that 'chow chow bath' is a Karnataka dish. A plate of 'chow chow bath' consists of equal serves of sooji upma (salty) and rava kesari (sweet).

    So, this has nothing to do with the vegetable chayote / seema kathirikai (Tamil name) / bengaluru vankaya (Telugu name). This vegetable is not used in the preparation of 'chow chow bath'. So, still wondering how the dish got this peculiar name 'chow chow'.

    There are variations of chow chow bath like pineapple kesari bath, coconut kesari bath etc.

    Update: Any idea in which language, this vegetable is known as chow chow?

    Thanks & Regards

  • #546505
    Apparently no further information is available on origin of the term 'chow chow'. The two dollops or scoops of khara bath and kesari bath served side by side, resembling shapes of chayote may be a reason.
    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #546527
    As told by Ramakrishna in TN, Bangalore Brinjal is called as Chow Chow in cities and in villages anything produced other than TN will be called as Seemai(foreign) and so this is also called as Seemai Kathrikai. There are other prefixes Seemai in TN Seemai Ponnankanni (which is greens). One more Seemai is a very dangerous which has been wrongly promoted 40 years before which has rooted deeply in to earth and taken the water from earth (Seemai Karuvelam).

    For Kalyani's another enquiry, chow chow bath might be named because of the two in one served in one plate which may resemble the cut two pieces of chow chow as I could visualise the same as I have very recently tasted in Kamath Hotel in Bangalore.

    shasthranaam Ganitham moordhanisthitham

  • #546674
    Take the example of 'Yellow Chilli' , the restaurant chain of the celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor. It has branches in India, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and UAE. The name of the restaurant is based on the name of a vegetable. I think the name of the dish 'Chow Chow' was similarly coined by some enterprising restaurateur based on the name of the vegetable 'Chow Chow' .
    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

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