Kappa Chakka and Kandhari will give food lovers a glimpse into Kerala’s flavours of the past
Three friends — Augustine Kurien, John Paul and chef Regi Mathew — over a casual conversation had an idea: why not bring back some of the old recipes of Kerala, food that they had grown up on, and food that is rarely available in restaurants, and in fact even in Kerala itself.
That idea gave birth to ‘KC and K’, or rather Kappa Chakka and Kandhari — a food festival that is about to hit the city next week. The festival is divided into two parts — a festival during the day, and a grand buffet dinner at night.
“It sort of just happened,” begins Kurien, “John and I were talking about how much we missed home food, especially after leaving Kerala (the two are settled in Chennai), and can only enjoy it when we go home once in a while. And even back home, people aren’t cooking these old school dishes anymore.”
One thing led to another, and the two thought of doing ‘something’, which is when “we roped in chef Regi Mathew, who’s an expert in the cuisine, and began to plan this festival,” says Augustine.
If this three-day Bengaluru festival is a success, they plan to take it to other cities as well.
Over three months, the trio travelled to Kerala whenever they got the chance to discover home cooks that still held on to the older culinary traditions of Kerala. At the festival, people will get to taste dishes such as the vattukappa vevithachu (par-boiled tapioca, which is then sundried and stored) — a staple food — that goes well with fresh water fish curry such as the thottumeen; kappa biryani (tapioca biryani); kappa pork ilayil chuttathu where tapioca and pork is wrapped in banana leaf and grilled on charcoal; chakkakuru payasam (payasam made with jackfruit seeds); koorka ularthiyathu (Chinese potatoes roasted with spices); kadachakka curry (breadfruit curry), and a specialty — asthram — a colocasia curry, soured by Kerala kokum.
“We’ve got food from Meenachil, Trichur, vegetarian food from the Palakkad region, and North Malabar, among others,” says Mathew, who’s worked tirelessly with select home cooks from across Kerala to put this festival together.
Bengaluru, which is home to more than 10 lakh Malayalis, sees no dearth of restaurants serving Malayali food, but the agenda of this particular festival is to move away from what is termed ‘popular’, and focus on forgotten recipes. “The idea is to create a sense of nostalgia, and bring back old and familiar tastes. For instance, we are going to have the famous jam roll of Kanjirapally that dates back to the 1930s; it’s something that reminds us of our childhood,” Augustine adds.
Most of the ingredients and spices used for the festival have been sourced from Kerala, as the three wanted to make sure everything is as authentic as it should be. And not everything that is popular has been added either. “We have only brought down dishes that will work, and for that we have been doing tastings for a while,” Augustine explains.
Rolls, pickles, jams, curries, and desserts — the Kappa Chakka and Kandhari festival is bound to leave you licking your fingers a few times over. See you there!
11 am-8 pm (food festival) and 7-10 pm (buffet dinner, Rs.1,250 per person). January 29-31. At St John’s Auditorium, Koramangala.
Tickets on bookmyshow.com
— Priyadarshini Nandy