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Last Updated Saturday January 21 2017 09:33 AM IST

This vaidyar 'prescribes' delicious food

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This vaidyar 'prescribes' delicious food Vijayatilakan Vaidyar at the counter of his 'Hotel Smitha' Photo: Indu PR

It was past noon when we reached Vijayatilakan Vaidyar's place. Vaidyar, which in Malayalam means a doctor, was busy, not prescribing medicines, but 'treating' foodies to a delicious meal.

A connoisseur of good food, Vaidyar started Hotel Smitha (named after his daughter), at Kayikkara Junction in Muhamma town of Alappuzha district, decades ago. Vaidyar, entrusted his business to his staff; but it incurred huge losses. And he decided that it was time he found a 'remedy' to bring life back into his 'sick' enterprise and took control of it. This was some 35 years ago. His career as a medical professional took a back seat. (Vaidyar is an alumnus of Thripunithura Ayurveda College). But, Vaidyar has no regrets, for the smile on the faces of his customers leaving the hotel after relishing the mouth-watering dishes is his reward.

This vaidyar 'prescribes' delicious food Due to lack of space inside Hotel Smitha, the house nearby doubles up as an extension. Photo: Indu PR

Foodies keep Vaidyar busy throughout the day. To handle peak hour rush, food is served even at the courtyard of his house. Fish is the main attraction in Hotel Smitha. Steamed tapioca with fish curry, a popular combination, sells in no time. Long queue of vehicles parked in front of the hotel since morning is proof of the yummy dishes served here.

This vaidyar 'prescribes' delicious food The spread at 'Hotel Smitha'. Photo: Indu PR

There are many takers for the appam, puttu, chapathi and porotta here. By noon, demand for meals with variety fish goes up. Crabs and prawns are all-time favourites. The fragrance of fried fish like tuna (choora), bluefin trevally (vatta), knife fish (vaala), green chromide (karimeen), mullet (kanambu), besides clam meat roast (kakka irachi) tickles the taste buds of any food aficionado that they get spoilt for choice. A speciality preparation with fish head as main ingredient is equally popular.

This vaidyar 'prescribes' delicious food Sumathi, the owner's wife is the woman behind the tasty dishes. Photo: Indu PR

While enjoying the lunch we met Sumathichechi, Vaidyar's wife, the woman behind the success of his enterprise. 'Fortune smiled on me after getting married to Sumathi,' Vaidyar gives credit to his wife. It is the magic of her recipes that made the hotel popular and the heavy rush for lunch stands testimony to that. There is no dearth of helpers who know her heart and taste, but Sumathi still supervises the preparation herself. Not just that, she serves food with a dash of love!

Sumathi shares the recipe of crab fry, a popular delicacy of Smitha Hotel, with Onmanorama:

Ingredients:

Crab: 1 Kg

Shallots: 100 gm

Ginger: One small piece

Green chilli: 3

Garlic: 10-12 pods

Pepper: 2 tsp

Coconut (grated): Half piece

Coriander powder: 2 tsp

Chilli powder: 2-3 tsp

Turmeric powder: ½ tsp

Fennel seeds: ¼ tsp

Salt: To taste

Curry leaves: Handful

Coconut oil: 3-4 tsp

Kokum: Size of a small lemon

Special Masala: (Slightly roast and powder the following items)

Cinnamon: One small piece

Cardamom: 2

Cloves: 2

Nutmeg: One small

Method:

Cut the crab into small pieces, wash thoroughly and drain it. Crush shallots, ginger, garlic, green chillies, pepper, grated coconut, fennel seeds and curry leaves and add it to the crab and mix well. Marinate it with coriander powder, turmeric and chilli powder and the special masala. Mix it with salt and coconut oil before keeping it on flame. Remember, no need to add water. For gravy, add kokum syrup. Prepare on low flame, stirring occasionally till it gets cooked properly. Serve hot.

If you love cooking there are a lot of yummy dishes you can whip up from our Food section.

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