A Syrian Christian food festival promises the best of Kerala cuisine
A Cheerful marigold filled varpu welcomes us and the sight of a rustic tea-kadai lined with classic bites of kuzhalappam, achappam and churuttu in glass jars sets us in the mood. We were ushered in to meet Ente Keralam’s brand chef Jayaprasad along with Kottayam-based Aleyamma Paily whose expertise and knowledge of 20 years has helped craft the spread, comprising of almost 40 dishes, at this Syrian Christian cuisine festival. “The community is known to consume delectable meat and rice-based dishes and this festival will showcase the very best along with staple vegetable curries, traditional spices; all cooked in fragrant coconut oil,” shares Chef Jayaprasad.
Enticing us to begin our meal was the aroma of aattirachi kurumulagittu olarthiyathi whose succulent meat chops prepared with freshly ground pepper and coconut masala turned out to be a palate-pleaser with its moderate spice even with the overtones of red chilli. Vegetarians can enjoy similar spice combinations with koorkka kurumulagittathu with cubes of Chinese potato. Our vote also goes for the kakka erachi that has clam meat that is deep-fried and sautéed dry until slightly crispy along with more pepper. What followed this course was a gastronomical indulgence of more meat-based curries that were mopped up with an ample supply of sweet appams and kalappams. Interestingly the latter calls for the same appam batter but gently spiked with a dose of jeera, onion and garlic along with a generous sprinkle of grated coconut flakes while being steamed on a traditional griddle plate.
Don’t miss their pidi—a traditional dish of soft seasoned rice dumplings that is ever so light, simmered in a slurry of coconut milk and rice flour. The naadan kozhi curry will certainly please those who have a fetish for country chicken cooked in home style gravy. If you are craving beef, the erachi peralan will not disappoint; with slices of beef cooked in a tangy tomato base. The meen pattichathu is another noteworthy dish—juicy seer fish in a fiery broth of native kokum and red chilli. The desserts clearly need to be spruced up, but worthy of a try is their simple dessert snack of chopped native bananas lusciously coated with pani—an exotic sweet and sticky syrup made with palm toddy.
Till December 11. Average meal for two Rs 1,200. Details: 7604915091
— Preeti GT