Eatouts 🌄 Travel and Food Tips for India • Articles about Food while Travelling to Kerala in India • Travel • Onmanorama en Fri, 22 Mar 2019 11:57:58 GMT Armani offers 24-carat-gold-laced cappuccino in Dubai Wish to taste a cappuccino laced with gold dust? Then head to the Armani Hotel in Dubai. Coffee and tea have become our daily habit. Most people feel that a cup of either of these beverages in the morning gives the energy for activities during an entire day. For centuries, people around the world have tasted and experimented with numerous varieties of tea and coffee. Milk, sugar, and other ingredients have given these drinks added flavour. Among the latest favourites are cappuccino and cold coffee. Compared to tea, more experiments have been done on coffee. Several versions of cappuccino are available, each distinct in taste, flavour, and price. The Armani Hotel at Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest and most famous tower, is now offering a cappuccino with 23 carat gold dust as an ingredient. The coffee is high on not only price but also taste. Apart from gold, Arabic coffee beans and dark chocolate also contribute to the flavour of Armani cappuccino. Armani hotel in Dubai is owned by internationally renowned Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani. It was earlier in the news for serving a special tea, apple juice, and cupcake. Sun, 21 Jul 2019 06:59:53 GMT Driving by Changanassery? Do not miss the idli combo at this shop Taste these mouth-watering idlis with sambar and chutney! Few can stop at just one. At least half a dozen idlis will be gulped down in one sitting. Few Malayalis can resist these steamed packages of softness. The magic of making the batter which will later become idlis over steam is not known to all. If you are driving to or passing by Changanassery, try the idlis at the shop of 'Iddalippillechan.' The idlis here are of a different flavour. 'Iddalippillechan' got that name after years of making tasty idlis. A visit to Iddalippillechan's idli shop near the Revenue Tower in Changanassery is an exciting experience. People including the locals around the shop cannot stop talking about the taste of the dishes served here. Idli is served here till the stock of batter made for the day is exhausted. Most hotels serve sambar and chutney with idli. Iddalippillechan, instead serves duck egg roast and black chickpeas curry along with coconut chutney. Uzhunnu vada is also served. The aroma of the chopped onions frying in coconut oil and of the pepper and the masalas that go in is irresistible. Those who have tasted it go ballistic about the idli-egg roast combination. The taste of the dishes here captivate the palate so much. The shop of Iddalippillechan is in service for the past 88 years. After Pillechan, his son Omanakuttan and his wife Sasikala continued the legacy of taste and maintained the reputation of the shop. The culinary skills the children had inherited from Pillechan now has a wider reach. The pricing here is quite reasonable and that adds to the attraction of the shop. This idli shop easily fits in the budget of the common man. For those who seek newer tastes, this shop should be an ideal stopover. Fri, 19 Jul 2019 03:20:23 GMT What makes the mutton curry combo unique at Ezhuthanikada A drop of love adds to the taste of the food you serve. Or so goes the belief, which can actually be true as well. Some dishes are so delicious that people, on learning about them, come a long way for a detailed relish. One such destination in today's Kerala will be Ezhuthanikada. The joint is a beautiful experience down the state along the scenic Kollam-Kottarakkara road. Mind you, the establishment is not new. In fact, Ezhuthanikada began as a small tea shack a good seven decades ago. In 1948, to be precise. That is, a year after India attained independence. Since then, so many waves of foreign tastes have invaded the Deccan, yet Ezhuthanikada had withstood all of them with the unique tastes of local cuisine. This bit of ethnicity has helped it negate the influences of Chinese, Continental or Arabian tastes and continue to woo visitors to its interiors. To old-timers, some of the items come with a whiff of nostalgia. For instance, the vettucake, which is the USP. Or the superstar at Ezhuthanikada. Another celebrity is the mutton curry, which is being served alongside the rice-made idiyappam or porotta flattened from maida flour. Almost every combo features the fried pappadam; that's another speciality here. A cup of tea with a piece of vettucake forms the chunk of sales at Ezhuthanikada. Indeed, customers order for no less than 5,0000 vettucakes a day on an average. So, what is it made of? Just a simple mix: duck's egg, powdered cardamom, sugar, maida (fine powder made from wheat minus bran) and baking soda. Kneed them together with minimal water and spread the flour in elongated shape, but with a certain thickness. Then slice them to standard size. Ahead of frying in oil, each piece is given a cut - which is 'vettu' in Malayalam. Hence the name of the dish, which bubbles up as two pieces. The sight is engrossing as much as the taste. No wonder, Ezhuthanikada has so many visitors across day. Curry is all what Ezhuthanikada makes out of mutton, which is usually the prime material for a variety of dishes across the world. The gravy is not too watery; it's deliciously concentrated. The mutton curry at Ezhuthanikada, too, has its special recipe: pour oil in a large vat, once it warms put sliced onions and green chillies. Close the vessel with a lid and allow the items to half-boil. Separately, ready a paste comprising garlic and ginger mixed with turmeric. Add that into the vat, followed by cut mutton that had been washed well. Pour water into the combination and leave it closed so as to boil well. Once that stage comes, add to it a mix of coriander powder, salt, aniseed (perum jeerakam) and garam masala (mixture of ground spices). In another vessel, pour oil and warm it along with curry leaves and garlic paste. After a while, add red-chilli powder to it. And then mix the whole thing with the items in the vat containing mutton. The taste of the mutton curry at Ezhuthanikada is like none other, something many customers vouch for. The restaurant may look small from outside, but then it is reasonable spacious. Very roomy and airy. There is no exact count anyone has made on the number of visitors at Ezhuthanikada on a typical day that spans from 8 in the morning to 10:30 at night. A certain Meera Sahib founded the establishment; today his son runs it. Besides idiyappam and porotta, dosa-egg curry is a much-favoured combination here. Time hasn’t managed to dilute the taste of items at Ezhuthanikada. The septuagenarian joint continues to woo people across generations and regions through the sheer charm of the taste of its food items. Thu, 18 Jul 2019 03:23:21 GMT Robots serve you tasty dishes at Maniyanpilla Raju's restaurant Robots have already taken over the kitchens and the dining halls of many popular restaurants around the world, cooking and serving delicious food. If you too are curious to enjoy such 'robot' experience, head straight to the brand new 'Be @ Kiwizo' restaurant at Kannur opened by actor Maniyanpilla Raju and his friends. The diners are welcomed into the restaurant by three robots named Aleena, Helen and Jane. These robots, which have a height of five feet, would be serving dishes at the tables as well. They are operated by sensors that have been programmed earlier. If they encounter any barriers on the way to a table, they would give instructions to clear their path. Besides, three other smaller robots, which are just four feet, too are arranged at various spots in the restaurant to play with the kids. These robots were brought to Kerala from China. Maniyanpilla Raju revealed he had decided to open his restaurant in Kannur as he is familiar with the incredible love that the people of Kannur have for delicious food. He expressed joy for his hotel being the first eatery to introduce robot servers in Kerala. The actor said he would consider expanding the enterprise if the robot experiment proves to be successful. The Kiwizo management envisages imparting expert training for homemakers in cooking unique local dishes to promote a culture of homely food. They also aim to supply homely food, in the Kannur town, by managing the orders through mobile application. A bakery named Baking Mummy where women supply homemade bakery items and goodies too was opened. Maniyanpilla Raju and his partners CV Nisamudin Najma Nisam and MK Vineeth, in a presser, said that a restaurant where robots serve food would be opened in Doha as well, to lure foodies and tourists who throng the city to watch the FIFA World Cup. Wed, 17 Jul 2019 04:24:49 GMT Try 'puttu' with beef stew or 'potti' from this eatery in Ernakulam Kerala's favourite dish 'puttu' is prepared by steaming rice powder that has been dampened suitably along with scraped coconut. The usual combination is puttu with Bengal gram curry, a green gram dish, 'papad' or banana. However, puttu also has become a new generation dish now. A large variety of curries are available along with the steamed rice delicacy. Vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes accompany puttu. Moreover, apart from rice, powdered wheat, semolina (rava), finger millet (ragi), maize and tapioca are used to make puttu. In addition, 'variety puttus' are available in many restaurants. Instead of a metal utensil, coconut shells or bamboo stem are used in the preparation. Among the eateries offering different combinations of puttu, an eatery at Vaduthala in Ernakulam stands apart with the taste of the dishes. Popularly known as 'Puttukada', the shop offers beef stew and potti curry along with puttu. The menu of the restaurant is very short but the beef stew and potti draw a big crowd whenever the outlet is open. George 'chettan', who runs the eatery, is also the main chef. Interestingly, there is no name board for the small restaurant. Many regular customers have coined the title 'Georgettan's shop' for the eatery after tasting the beef stew and potti with puttu. The biggest attraction of the eatery is the beef stew made with potato, coconut milk and masalas. Meanwhile, potti too has numerous fans. It is prepared by grinding fried coconuts, adding pepper, cinnamon and masalas to it and cooking the entire mixture with meat. 'Georgettan's shop' is located opposite K R Bakery at Vaduthala on Chittoor Road in Ernakulam. There are regular customers, including local people, at the eatery. Lissy, George's wife is always present at the shop helping the chef. 'Puttukada' was started in 1989 and has since created a tradition of its own. It is located adjacent to George's house. A curious aspect about the shop is that the same menu has been followed all these years. But George has not diluted the taste or quality. The puttu shop remains open from 5-8.30 pm every day. But in case the dishes are sold off before closing time, George promptly downs the shutters. “We never resort to preparing the dishes for a second time. While puttu-potti combination is priced at Rs 70, puttu and beef are charged Rs 80. For parcels, an extra Rs 10 is collected but the amount of food too increases,” says the shop owner. Tue, 16 Jul 2019 03:28:51 GMT A short food trail through the bustling streets of McLeodganj There is no 'tourist season' for this tiny Tibet of Dharamshala. McLeodganj is always bursting at its hilly seams with frenzied tourists looking to get their highland cravings fixed. Apart from being one of the most accessible solace for dwellers of the plains, this small town is a foodie's paradise – variety being the key to that status! Tibetan and other local Himachali cuisine are readily available here but a dedicated glutton should explore the Korean, Japanese, and Italian foods served in the clear corners of this town. Here are a few must-try items from the eateries you can explore in one day while hopping monasteries in McLeodganj. Pizza hogging at Jimmy's Italian Kitchen On the way to the central junction of McLeod, this pizzeria is quite popular among the young crowds and it is somewhat difficult to get a spot here during meal hours. But once you do grab a seat (our favourite spot is on the floor seating by the window that looks over the narrow street), go for the roasted chicken pizza. Big slices of roasted chicken breast are not something your regular pizzas offer. End your meal with a slice of freshly baked blueberry cheesecake. Go vegetarian for a while at Namgyal Cafe Sceptical about a vegetarian place making to the list? Their spinach cheese momos will reassure the foodie in you. Served piping hot in traditional-ware, these juicy dumplings go to perfection with their ginger tea options. The place is also popular for its vegetarian pizza options. So go crazy on your stomach if it allows after the big slices of roast chicken pizza! Not-so-Korean Kora Kitchen Your visit to McLeodganj will be incomplete without a walk to Dalai Lama's temple and the walk is bound to make your hungry- again! The temple compound houses a nondescript Korean eatery called 'Kora's Kitchen.' The crisp clean ambience of the place with its interiors peppered with antiques will take your attention away from the fact that the menu is, indeed, very Tibetan rather than Korean. The freshness of the food, though, will make you thank us later. Try their 'aloo phing' (thin rice noodles served in soup with potatoes and other veggies) and 'mutton thentuk' (thick-cut noodles served in a mutton broth with pieces of tender meat). Homemade desserts at Clay Oven Head back to the junction to top off your meals with some warm cakes and goodies. Clay Oven has an array of home-baked cakes like banana-chocolate, chocolate cheesecake and more. Order a hot-chocolate or coffee and sip on it in their balcony, soaking the evening sun. Fri, 05 Jul 2019 07:39:38 GMT Fancy sipping tea in a box? Head to Cardboard Café in Mumbai There is definitely a twist to this café. Something out-of-the-box. If you want a heady 'in-the-box' dining experience, just step into Cardboard Café at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai as this eating outlet is all about cardboards and some delectable cuisines. As the name suggests, the café has cardboards all around and is designed to have a chat over a cup of coffee. The entire interior landscape including walls, tables, chairs and what not, except the kitchen, are made of recyclable cardboards. The café has been conceived and designed by world renowned architect Nuru Karim. This eating outlet would probably be the first in the world to be fully made using cardboards. Around 40,000 sq ft of cardboards went into the making of this environment-friendly café, which serves only organic food. Why cardboard? Apart from the go-green objective, the cardboards have less weight as they have 50 percent air, and are durable and less expensive. Moreover, there is no other material that can absorb sound so efficiently. It won't be an issue if you spill water on the cardboard table as wax coating makes it waterproof. The café was completed in 7 months out of which 3 months went into planning. Lot of thought went into where and how much cardboards should be used and how cost could be kept at the minimal, and the café was constructed in 4 months' time. Heat and humidity won't be a problem for this cardboard structure. Let people have more concern about nature after seeing this environment-friendly venture, say the people behind this project. Food is prepared using pesticide-free fruits and vegetables that are grown locally. Through this café, which is a hit among Mumbaikers, Karim wanted to show to the world that cardboards are much more than a waste material. It was also Karim’s endeavour to establish an ideal place to discuss the nuances of climate change and global warming. Thu, 06 Jun 2019 07:00:12 GMT Tasty 'tharikanji' at Masafi restaurant in Kochi Finger millet or ragi is an excellent storehouse of iron and other essential vitamins. It could be included in the daily diet of young kids and even old people as the millet is easy on the stomach. 'Tharikanji' or porridge made with millet is extremely delicious and nutritious. The special tharikanji prepared at the Masafi restaurant in Kadavanthra has incredible flavour of shallots roasted in ghee. The porridge is neatly packed in containers and remains fresh for long. It is not too sweet, but has a great texture from the rich coconut milk. The aroma of the fresh ghee wafts from the dish as soon as you open the container. The specks of millet don't dissolve easily, making the porridge thick. It floats in the coconut milk adding oodles of texture and taste. Tharikanji is garnished generously with roasted cashews. Sun, 02 Jun 2019 05:10:01 GMT 'Ammachikada' in Alappuzha serves delicious fish curry meals for just Rs 30 People of all ages throng to Ammachi's kada (Ammachi's shop) at Kalarcode in Alappuzha to savour tasty food served with love. It is not Pizza or Burger or other fast food served here but truly traditional fish-curry meals. This shop is famous all around and has left a lot of digital footprints in the social media. Meals with fish curry and fish fry here are wholesome as vouched by regular customers, that too at Rs 30. Is not that exciting? At lunch break, many of the students from the S D College head directly to Ammachi's shop. Most often they have to rush to the shop to get the fast filling seats. People from far and wide come to the shop because of its popularity. It was the students of S D College who made Ammachi a star. Sarasamma, a motherly figure is the superstar at Ammachi’s shop. Sardine fry, fish curry, stir-fried vegetables, pickles, pulissery, sambar, rasam etc. are served with the meal. All these for just Rs 30. Sarasamma is running this business for the past 13 years. Upon asking her why she is not charging higher, she says, “all these students of the college are like my own children. They are students and so they may not have a lot of money. My wish is to serve them as much tasty food as they need”. Thanks to her knack with the cooking of these dishes and the loving way the meals are served, they have a special taste. Many of the students who frequent the shop do not even know Ammachi’s name. Nandan, the General Secretary of the college union says, “She is a motherly figure to all of us. So we all call her ‘Ammachi’. The college students have full freedom here. Ammachi serves us before serving to other customers. Fri, 31 May 2019 00:59:08 GMT Get your bubble tea fix in Kochi this summer at Smoky Ice Tiny jelly balls which add oodles of texture are the latest superstars in the world of cold drinks. These chewy balls, called 'boba,' don't easily melt in the mouth and come in myriad flavours. They are added in cold tea or coffee or any fizzy drinks to make them exciting and unique. The jelly balls, made with water, sugar, and fruit juices, slowly melt inside the drink making it flavoursome and delicious. They give ordinary green tea and shakes, a stylish and tasty makeover to bubble tea and shakes. The drink has to be sipped slowly while biting onto the bubbles which are a bit thicker than the usual jelly balls. Experts say that the drinks shouldn't be sipped rapidly as you would miss the delicious flavour of the melted bubbles. The idea of the bubble cafe had come all the way from Taiwan, where bubble drinks are incredibly common. The Smoky Ice Cafe which functions in the Grand Central Mall opposite the Infopark in Kochi, whips up some delicious bubble drinks, by using bubbles or boba imported from Taiwan. The boba which are used as a topping in the drinks are made with milk, tapioca mixture, fruits juices, agar agar, and pudding base. The owners of the Smoky Ice Café say that though the idea of bubble tea is unique, people queue up to taste the rich and delicious bubble shakes. The mango bubble shake is the most popular item on their summer menu. The blueberry fizz too has many takers. Blueberry bobas, tapioca pearls, and blueberry nata de coco are added in this super-delicious cold drink. The nata de coco is made by fermenting the coconut water. An exciting fusion of flavours could be created by mixing bubbles of different flavours. The tiramisu bubbles which taste exactly like the classic Italian dessert are the latest addition. The flavours of chocolate and coffee explode in your mouths as you bite into these chewy and delicious bubbles. Tue, 28 May 2019 10:22:46 GMT For the love of sarbath, techies set up a shop in Kozhikode They are three friends from the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, and have received placement offers from three premier companies with good pay checks. But before slipping into their corporate roles, the three friends started a wayside shop that sells naruneendi sarbath in earthen cups. And the popularity of the outlet just swelled in no time. "Really good..." said their customers after finishing off a cup of sarbath at one go. Ameer Suhail, Joel Chulli and Ananthu R Nair are final year engineering students at the NIT. Chalakudi native Joel is a chemical engineering student, while Ananthu from Kayamkulam is a mechanical engineering student and Thrissur native Ameer is a computer engineering student. Joel and Ananthu have been picked up by the MRF, while Ameer got selected to a software firm in Bengaluru. The sarbath shop was Ameer's brain child. Sipping on sarbath at a stall on MG Road in Thrissur, Ameer thought of opening one shop. His friends backed him and the shop became a reality. People arrive in droves to have the famous beef biriyani at Hotel Rahmath in Kozhikode. After helping themselves to a sumptuous plate of biriyani, foodies would crave for a cool sarbath. And the three friends managed to set up their shop right next to the Rahmath hotel. After the location was finalised, the friends began setting up the place. From fixing lights to painting the place, the three friends did everything on their own. People are asking what will happen to the shop once they take up their corporate jobs. However, for that answer too the gang just looks at the college. Ameer points out that their juniors have an eye on the shop. They are also ready to appoint anyone to run the shop. Kozhikode is known to hold on to all things beautiful and tasty, and the friends are also in no plan to abandon their shop. Sun, 26 May 2019 01:13:01 GMT Head straight to Grand Hyatt to taste special duck cooked in Thai style Thai dishes which are loaded with unique flavours and spices look similar to many prominent dishes in the Kerala cuisine. However, Keralites' taste buds may not be familiar with its flavours which contain loads of coconut milk, lemon grass, fresh black pepper and bay leaves. The Thai Soul restaurant at the Grand Hyatt in Kochi is dedicated to serve authentic Thai dishes to the food lovers of Kerala. Duck, cooked in traditional Thai flavours is the current sensation of the Thai Soul. The bird used in this dish is exclusively imported from Thailand, for its unique flavour and texture. The locally grown ducks or the broiler ones do not look or taste anything like these special ducks imported from Thailand. The curry paste is prepared using the aromatic herbs, organically grown in Hyatt’s own vegetable patch. Thick coconut milk, baby corn, capsicum and lemon grass are added in the spicy gravy which explodes with flavours inside out mouth. The aroma wafting from the Thai curry paste is just heavenly. The unique texture of the imported duck meat locks in the aroma and fills it with delicious flavours. This dish tastes amazing with white rice. The delicious crab stir fry is the perfect accompaniment for the rice and duck cooked in Thai curry paste. Bunches of fresh black pepper add oodles of flavour into the dish. The perfect seasoning made with white ginger, basil leaves, oyster sauce and soy sauce makes the crab meat extra succulent and delicious. Sat, 25 May 2019 00:44:14 GMT Taste Zulfikar's 61 varieties of puttu at Amina Puttukada Zulfikar is no less a magician when it comes to the art of puttu-making. Zulfikar, the owner and chef of Amina Puttukada at Kuttichal near Kattakada in Thiruvananthapuram, is credited with making as many as 61 varieties of puttu (or steamed rice cake). The staple breakfast dish of Malayalis turns into a lip-smacking delicacy at Zulfikar's eatery. One tap and the traditionally off-white coloured dish transforms as it comes out of puttu kutti (steamer) – it attains new flavours and colours, including red, brown, and even green! The goodness of puttu The green puttu is not just eye-pleasing but is laden with the goodness of medicinal herbs. "We own a rice mill. There we also grind medicinal herbs. One day I experimented by mixing these herbs with the puttu. People loved it," says the chef known for his magical touch. He even showcased how to mix the rice power and herbs to make the green puttu. "Cooked on steam, puttu does not pose any threats to our health. One need not worry about fat or sugar while digging into a plate of steaming puttu," points out Zulfikar, who has not forgotten the importance of retaining the goodness of food even while ensuring the best of tastes. He even serves the sought-after dish on arrowroot leaves. It's been four years since Zulfikar opened the shop, named after his daughter Amina. On the inaugural day, Zulfikar made 15 varieties of puttu, including ragi puttu, wheat puttu, carrot puttu and chocolate puttu, and these were an instant hit with the people. Foodies from various parts of the state wafted into Zulfikar's shop to try out the puttu that not only looked different but tasted stupendous. The shop became a talking point on social media too. Even the naysayers had their mouth too full with the puttu that not one word of criticism was uttered. People happily gorged on the puttu and parcelled four more, just in case. People's support and ever-increasing customer base prompted Zulfikar to keep experimenting. And by the time his restaurant celebrated its fourth anniversary, the number of puttu variants multiplied into 61. Beef puttu, mixture puttu, chicken puttu, vegetable puttu, egg roast puttu, Boost puttu, biscuit puttu and Mysore puttu line up on the non-exhaustive menu of Zulfikar. A generation which grew up on drinking Boost and Nutrimix from cups learned to chew them down in the form of puttu. How it all started "We were forced to look at other means of income after revenue from the mill dropped. My wife Shahina's brother helped us financially. The shop was started on a modest initial investment. People liked the puttu I made. Even MLAs and writers too turned up to eat. Their words of support encouraged me to experiment and come up with more items," Zulfikar recounted on how several of his creations such as pappaya puttu, dates puttu and fruits puttu were born. He even has one sundari puttu with six colours made using ragi, carrot, herbal plants, beet root, wheat and rice flours. And interestingly, it is the men who are ardent fans of the sundari puttu. Experimenting with food is not new and Kerala's dear poratta has undergone several transformations to make new dishes like kothu poratta. However, Zulfikar went one step ahead and mixed poratta with his rice flour. "Poratta puttu is getting popular. It has become an essential at wedding receptions. I even make puttu at live counters during wedding feasts," he said. Hours of work Zulfikar and his wife begin the preparations by around 12 noon. Beet root, carrot, and corn are ground first. Then they handle the more arduous task of cleaning, chopping meat and marinating the pieces. The shop opens at 6 pm and the foodie can choose anything from the 61-strong menu, and it will be ready in five minutes. If you happen to pass by Kattakada before the stroke of midnight, you should step into Amina's Puttukada, you would cherish the visit. Mon, 06 May 2019 01:29:32 GMT Meet Palaniswami Thiru Kumar, the 'dosa' man of New York The aroma lingering in the air is that of Dosa… this is Washington Square Park in New York. In the street-side shop, Palaniswami Thiru Kumar cooks up 'Thattu Dosas' and 'Masala Dosas'. 'Dosa' fanatics gulp down in dozens dipping the chunks in hot chutney. It is a rare sight in New York where the normal food theme comprises of burgers, hot dogs and occasional kebabs. How does Dosa thrive among the street foods monopolized by American, European, Mexican and Afghan street foods? Palaniswami will tell the story. His grandmother was the guru. It is from her recipes that all these varieties of Dosas emerge. Considering the alien environment, the recipes were tweaked a bit here and there. Palaniswami says that though all kinds of Dosas are devoured, Masala Dosa is the one in high demand. New York, famed for its non-vegetarian tone in food, still keeps a good palate for vegetarian food. Dosa with potatoes, green leaves, and vegetables is widely accepted as a healthy food. A crispy Masala Dosa, sliced into two and dipped in the four varieties of chutneys, is irresistible. Palaniswami’s street-side shop was born out of this potential. Palaniswami, a Srilankan Tamil is now celebrating the 18th year of commissioning his shop in New York. It is now 25 years since he had immigrated to America. His initial years were full of struggle wherein he did sundry jobs in construction sites, petrol bunks etc. before obtaining the license to operate the Dosa shop. He invested $13,000 using his entire savings and taking a bank loan. Hard work was the winning formula. Palaniswami does not stop his work come sun or snowfall. New York is a crowded city and you would be left wondering where all those large masses of people are moving in such a hurry. If you just stand by the New York Penn station, you will be carried by the flowing mass of the crowd to the 7th or 8th streets, or elsewhere. In the morning and evening peak hours, you cannot stand still anywhere. You will be carried one way or the other by the flow. This is how the street food became so very popular in New York. On the way to the office or on the way back, whatever comes from the streets get gobbled down as there is no time to stop anywhere for long. The food is purchased on the go and eaten while ‘flowing’ with the crowd. It might be because of this that the pushcarts and food trucks proliferated in New York. This is where Palaniswami’s pushcart named ‘N.Y. Dosas’ comes in. Apart from various Dosas, Uthappams, Bondas and Idlis, Palaniswami also offers a dish named Singapore Noodles. Meals named 'Puducherry Special', ‘Jaffna Special’ etc. are very popular. Most of the dishes cost about $8. There are some dishes costing $9. This is pretty cheap for New York standards. A good burger might cost as much. Many of the restaurants charge $35-40 for a meal. Many of those who are habituated to the 'Thattu Dosa- Omelette' combination may get disappointed here. There is no dish with eggs or milk available here. This is the way to promote vegetarianism. Palaniswami vouches that his contentment is in serving pure and healthy food. If you are literally fed up with Burgers and Steaks, visit ‘N.Y.Dosa Cart’, 50, Washington Square Park, 10012. It is a 15 minutes' distance from New York Penn Station. You can also reach by disembarking at Christopher Street. Sat, 04 May 2019 03:43:24 GMT Turn on your momo love at Kochi's Shifu Momos It is nothing but a plate of delicious steamed momos which the Tibetan people love to enjoy, in the freezing cold. The piping hot momos make them warm and comfortable. However, in Kochi, where the mercury has risen to unbearable levels, the foodies head straight to the Shifu Momos at Panampilly Nagar, to chill over a plate of mouth watering momos. Fried momos are as popular and delicious as the steamed ones. Varieties of sauces in which these fried momos are dipped and enjoyed create a riot of flavours in your pallets. The special Manchurian momos served at Shifu is the perfect evening snack. The momo sheets are made from a special dough made with atta and the all purpose flour. A scoop of steamed chicken mince and onions is placed in the centre of the sheet and is wrapped perfectly. Steamed momos would be best choice for the fitness enthusiasts while fried momos too have many takers. The incredibly delicious Manchurian momos are fried and are generously slathered with their delicious in house sauce. These are then garnished with finely chopped onion, celery and spring onion. Creamy and smooth mayonnaise would be the perfect accompaniment for a delicious plate of Manchurian momos. Fri, 26 Apr 2019 04:11:44 GMT Kerala's first five-star 'thattukadas' to come up in Thiruvananthapuram What about a five-star touch to the 'thattukadas'? Sounds unreal? Not anymore. The 'thattukadas' (wayside eateries) at Shangumugham in Thiruvananthapuram will be shortly spruced up and upgraded to the standards of five star hotels. The first 'Thattukada Theruvu' (street of wayside eateries) in Kerala, with superlative facilities in terms of quality of food and hygiene, will be opened on Shangumugham beach in the immediate future. The thattukadas are coming under one roof as part of the 'Clean Street Food Hub' project initiated by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India. A central team will be reaching Shangumugham beach to look into the modalities of the project in association with the Food Safety Department. Before the Thattukada Theruvu is thrown open to the public, the quality of water and ice cubes to be used in the eateries will be tested. The Food Safety Department will buy used cooking oil from the eating outlets to make sure that the oil is not reused. Moreover, a one-month training would also be imparted to people working in these eateries. The workers would also be subjected to periodic health check-ups. Close watch on hygiene An official of the Food Safety Department will be deputed to keep an eye on the cleanliness of these outlets. The central government will bear the expenses incurred to put in place the basic infrastructure for the eateries and pay the salary of the deputed official. The disposal of waste and personal hygiene of the workers will be ensured. There will be a clear demarcation between the kitchen and dining area, and wash basins are mandatory in all outlets. The shops will be issued hygiene certificates based on the facilities provided by them. The street will be serving food that satisfies each palate and the food items will be uniformly priced. Though the Food Safety Department had selected many places in the capital city for this venture, the authorities finally chose Shangumugham beach as the idle location for 'Thattukada Theruvu.' The 'Manaveeyum Veedhi,' was considered for the project, but the city corporation rejected the application on the ground that the 'veedhi' was the hub of cultural activities. The area surrounding the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple was avoided for the project as development activities were progressing there as part of the Swadeshi Darshan Scheme. Kovalam was also considered as it was the epicentre of tourism activities but the tourist spot became out of favour due to lack of proper space. Plans are afoot to replicate the project in four other places in Kerala-Alappuzha beach, Nallumanikattu in Kottayam, Fort Kochi, and Kozhikode beach. Preliminary inspection relating to the project is over in these four locations. Fri, 19 Apr 2019 01:03:43 GMT Adholokam in Thrissur serves 'dangerously' delicious ice-cream and shakes Enter the Adholokam and encounter the fierce 'flavours' offered by Dawood Ibrahim, Daddy Girija, Keerikadan Jose, and John Honayi. Thrissur has surrendered to the delicious and unique ice-creams and shakes at Adholokam, which means 'underworld.' When best buddies Jismon and Sumoj opened the creamery opposite the private bus stand in south Chalakudy, it was the unusual name of it which drew the attention of the ice-cream lovers. Their menu card, too, is as unique and interesting as the name. Each flavour of ice-cream or shakes is given the names of the most popular characters in Malayalam cinema, especially the villains. The baddies who tormented the heroes on screen, however, would melt in our mouths at Adholokam. Heroes like Saagar Elias Jacky, Kottayam Kunjachan, Valayar Paramasivam, and Shaji Pappan, too, are incredibly popular items on the menu. Besides, Krishnavilasam Bhageerathan Pillaii, Dude and Arackal Abu who will also entertain you, have a special place in Adholokam. The creamery serves countless flavours in ice cream scoops, fried ice cream, ice cream rolls, falooda, shakes with ice cream, ice flakes, children's special and smoothies. Adholokam specials Adholokam has, in its menu, some unique and unusual flavours and preparations that aren't seen in other creameries or ice-cream bars. The 'Alibaba and the 41 thieves' is the most popular among them. It is a colourful and mouthwatering dry fruits salad topped generously with scoops of vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, and strawberry ice-creams. Revealing the secret of the great taste of ice creams and shakes here, Sumoj and Jismon says, "The ice creams of Amul and Merriboy brands are only used to prepare the dishes. The milk collected from the cooperative societies are chilled and used to make the shakes and juices. Seasonal fruits are mostly used. The use of artificial flavours is very limited. So, certain items are not available in all seasons." Many gape at the menu in amazement and curiosity when they see the name of a dish as 'Njanum Appanum Appante Pengal Subadrayum.' However, it is an extremely popular item which actually is an upgraded version of the regular fruit salad. 'Hitler Madhavanu Pengamarum' is a delicious mix of ice-cream, dry fruits, and fresh fruits. Rolled ice-creams Rolled ice creams are a speciality at Adholokam. It is available in 17 different flavours. 'Ramji Rao' is an extremely tasty ice cream roll made with chocolate-filled cookies. Anakattil Chackochi (Kit Kat), Aadu Thoma (snickers), Kottayam Kunjachan (Diary Milk), Valayar Paramasivam (oreo biscuits), Bilal John Kurisinkal (kiwi), Dude (mango), Saagar Elias Jacky (dates), Arackal Abu (cherries), Garvasees Asan (chocolate cake), Paul Barber (Gulab Jamun), Induchoodanum Pavithranum (banana and caramel), Nakulanum Gangayum (brownie and choc chips) Kannappan Muthaliyum Daasappan Muthaliyum (Nutella and Oreo), Thommanum Makkalum (red velvet caramel), Mundakkel Sekharan (gems, nutella and snickers), and Pandi Durai (mixed fruits) are some of the special flavours in rolled ice-cream. To make the Valayar Paramasivam, milk, oreo biscuits, and Adholokam special ice cream mix are added onto to the rolling machine, a metal surface which is set at minus 22°C. They are then chopped, mashed, and prodded into a frozen texture. This mixture is then spread out super thinly across the cold surface and rolled into columns of ice cream using a spatula. The rolled Valayar Paramisam is then decorated with generous squeezing of chocolate syrup and oreo biscuits. Rolled ice creams are extremely delicious and soft that it melts amazingly in your mouth. Kids are curious to try out rolled ice-cream flavours like Gems, Kit Kat, Munch, and Five Star which are called Mayavi, Kuttoosan, Luttapi, and Dakini, after their favourite children's book characters. Vettichira Simon Vettichira Simon or strawberry mojito is the perfect drink to cool your body and soul from the scorching heat. Mojito is not a juice but a delicious cocktail made with many ingredients. Strawberry mojito is prepared by mixing lemon, mint, sprite, strawberry crush, and couscous with ice cubes. Mojitos in seven different flavours are available at Adholokam. Ice candy or ice orathy is another popular item. Green apple, kiwi, orange, strawberry, grapes, and pineapple flavoured ice orathy are really delicious and cooling. Royal Falooda or 'Pattanathil Sundaran' is the star among the faloodas. Seven layers of ice creams in different flavours are garnished with generous amounts of fresh and dry fruits to prepare the extra special royal falooda. Urukku Satheeshan or fried ice cream is a unique item that is served at Adholokam. Vanilla ice cream is fried to perfection, adding texture and flavour. The sight of the soft ice cream turning into a fried ball of deliciousness is truly spectacular. However, it would melt pretty quickly on the plate. Ice creams and shakes have always been inseparable. However, 'Murukkunnathu Ahmed Haji' or red velvet cake shake is a unique invention. The taste of the red velvet cake, milk and sugar creates a riot of flavours in our palettes. Mister Pereira (carrot and apple), Mohan Thomas (mango and orange), Nicolas (sapota and banana), gang leader (guava and watermelon) and Balu Bhai (spicy plum) are the Adholokam special smoothies. Adholokam has never disappointed anyone who walks in to chill themselves from the blazing heat outside, with some incredibly delicious ice creams, shakes and juices. The creamery has recently opened an outlet at Angamaly as well. The customers are only too happy to get 'trapped' in this cool 'underworld.' Wed, 17 Apr 2019 04:07:31 GMT Marriot International Inc. launches maiden food truck in India The Marriott International launched its maiden food truck in India and it has hit the roads on the first week of April. The food truck which started its epic journey from Mumbai would tour six major Indian cities. Marriott’s signature dishes and the local delicacies, whipped up at the Marriott properties in the respective cities, would be served at the food truck. The food truck was flagged off at Mumbai by Marriott International Asia Pacific President and Managing Director Craig Smith, Marriot International South Asia Vice President Neeraj Govil and Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan. The food truck would be covering a distance of around 6761 kilometers in 40 days and would tour cities like Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Lucknow, Pune, Madurai and Kochi. Through this initiative, the Marriott International Incorporated aims to manifest on the F & B strength of its select serve brands like Courtyard by Marriot, Fairfield by Marriott, Four Points By Sheraton and Aloft Hotels. The Marriott on Wheels would spend two days in each city, stationing at some of the most popular hubs. At Ahmedabad, the food truck would be stationed at the Food Truck Park, while foodies can throng the Sahara Market Plaza in Lucknow and Info Park in Kochi to enjoy delicious food from it. An executive chef from a Marriott property would be on board, serving a limited time menu, specially prepared for the food truck. Some of the dishes included in the menu are mutton tikka quesadillas which would be served at Amritsar, Karaikudi chicken wings in Madurai and Kosha Mangsho kathi rolls in Pune to name a few. Marriott International Incorporated South Asia Vice President Neeraj Govil said that they were proud to launch Marriot’s first ever mobile food truck in the country. He said, “Over the years, Marriot Internation Inc. has amplified its dominance in the F & B space with the help of chefs who have tremendous experience and skill. With culinary experiences driving the focus for Marriot this year, the launch of Marriott on Wheels is yet another initiative that showcases our strength and leadership in the F & B industry.” As part of Marriott’s commitment of reducing environmental impacts, eco-friendly items such as containers made with bagasse and glass water bottles would be used on the Marriott on Wheels. This will be implemented not only in Mumbai but also in all the cities where the food truck would be stationed. The Marriott on Wheels would be in Kochi on 5 and 6 May. Catch the live updates @MarriotonWheels on its Facebook and Instagram pages. Thu, 11 Apr 2019 08:54:00 GMT Chayakappal in Thiruvananthapuram is redefining art cafes Welcome to Chayakappal, the art cafe near Technopark in Kazhakuttam, Thiruvananthapuram. One swell place with an ambience that's out of the ordinary, the nook is a combination of art, books, painting, live music, and best of all, food! A bit of flashback Thrissur-native Nikitha, grumbled her way into engineering after plus-two, bowing to the demands of her parents, but not for long. There lay entwined in her DNA, the fibre of art and the taste of food. So she happily ditched her engineering studies and went where her heart had always been. Post marriage, she took up a job as scriptwriter in C-DIT and then switched on to Eram Infotech's, the one stop shop for Malayalam book lovers. Bored with the job, she quit and was mulling over means to make a decent livelihood when the world of cuisine popped out of nowhere. Her home in Thrissur was a veritable food factory where every member of her mother's family had commendable cooking skills. Little Nikitha, too, started learning and loving the nuances of cooking and soon it turned into a craze. There has been no looking back since. Her tryst with the world of culinary delights began with pickles. Online pickles became her USP. What began as a small venture soon turned into a full-fledged business, fetching her quick revenue. Though the spark of an art café got ignited around this time, it could not blow into a glorious flame for want of cash resources. Hence, the pickle business continued. Onto Chayakappal Nikitha was in no mood to give up on her art cafe idea despite the delay she had to face. Besides, it was her dream to have an arbour of her own ..."a place where I could be my own self, where I could share a lot of camaraderie…" as she puts it. There's this common misconception that art cafes are fancy, high end stuff where intellectuals huddle and a lot of cash is thrown in for food. Chayakappal, however, has rewritten that script. Food is extremely affordable here. The perennial puttu can be had from up to Rs 15, the favourite dosa for Rs 24 … the list goes on. There are plenty of books to choose from, the interiors are calm and quiet with melodious music filling the rooms. Work on the interiors was done mostly by Nikitha herself. Glass bottles with interior plants paint the rooms in refreshing greenery. Though a lot of economizing had to be done for want of cash flow, the end product was amazing. Chayakappal is every person's food joint, with the highlight being on tasty and healthy cooking. Nikitha has her own masalas and everything is done under her direct supervision. If you want a relaxed meal, time to chill out, hang around with friends, or just laze around, walk into Chayakappal. Along with the ambience come live musical programmes, too. Her Thrissur lineage would perhaps explain why the flavours are distinctively Malabari. Wheat upma, wheat dosa, kanji, different varieties of kappa, black tea in myriad flavours, puttu and omelette dishes aplenty are on her menu in addition to exotic and ethnic platters like chicken-pidi and vattyappam-beef. Lunch is served to the accompaniment of native dishes. Though the tables don't sport a spread, what's available is super on taste. The curries keep changing every day. The cafe, which got going by the end of December, now enjoys a regular and faithful clientele. Art cafe opens by 12 pm and shuts by 2.30 pm. The place throbs with life again from 6 pm to 11 pm. At present, the joint can comfortably seat 20 diners. The show is run by Nikitha and three helpers. Everything right from chopping and cooking to cleaning is done by the four friends. Chayakappal has opened its doors to upcoming and ambitious musicians who love to perform live here. Kappa biryani and irachiputtu are on top of Chayakappal's billboard list. Here's a quickie from the restaurant: Palkuruma Boil milk add coconut oil, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise (1 each) and stir till the whiff of the masalas fill the air Add to this finely chopped carrots, mattar, and beans and saute well When it thickens, add turmeric and green chillies and fry well Cook a potato with turmeric and salt, mash well and add to the veg mix Add a packet of milk to the mix, stir well and when it thickens, take off flame and garnish with coriander leaves. Mon, 08 Apr 2019 04:53:18 GMT Central Hotel in Thrissur has been preserving taste for 83 years The fish curry, two chicken dishes, and fried rice have adorned glorious positions in the menu of the Central Hotel in Thrissur for the last 83 years. Silver screen icons like Prem Nazir and political stalwarts like K Karunakaran, Pananpilly Givinda Menon, and AKG were regular customers who loved to enjoy these tasty dishes. It was Englishman William who opened the Central Hotel, in 1936, near Ramanilayam junction at Chembukavu. The hotel opened only for lunch service then. Special fish curry made with coconut paste and dried Malabar tamarind wooed food lovers to the Central Hotel. Later William served delicious chilli chicken, ginger chicken, and fried rice for dinner. These four dishes have been in the menu for the last 83 years, that too, without any change in its ingredients or taste. Many families have been coming here to experience the unique tastes of these dishes for generations. Fresh king fish for the curry is bought from Vadanapally. There are takers for fried king fish too. It was a cook who was fondly called Pappettan who developed the recipe of the fish curry during the time of William. He worked for a short while with the current management as well. Before he retired, Pappettan had taught his disciples the nuances of flavours and the recipes of the fish and chicken dishes. The gravy of the kingfish curry is rich and unique which celebrates the great culinary traditions of the Travancore and Malabar regions. Even the size of the king fish in the curry hasn't changed since the last 83 years. The paste like gravy of the ginger chicken has loads of ginger and curry leaves in it. CC or Central special chilly chicken is still the favourite choice of many loyal customers. Fired rice was a unique dish when it was introduced here 83 years ago. Malayali food lovers considered it extremely fortunate to visit the Central Hotel to taste these special dishes. People travel from faraway places to taste these mouth watering dishes. Meanwhile for some others this hotel evokes sweet memories about their childhood and grandparents who bought special dishes for them from here. People often wonder how the owners are able to retain the same taste for the last 83 years. The current owner Jilsu Thashnathu says, "This hotel is like a family. When we bought it from William, he passed on these flavours as well. We consider it more valuable than our ancestral properties and it belongs to everyone who has been working here for years. So we cannot move away from that path." People bond over the fish curry meals at the Central Hotel and this election season it has become the place of intense political debates as well. Mon, 08 Apr 2019 01:56:49 GMT A spread to drool over at All Spice Restaurant in Four Points, Kochi Want to be treated to a sinfully delicious coastal meal spread? If your taste buds are already tinkling, head straight to the All Spice Restaurant at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel near Infopark in Kakkanad, Kochi. There's a delectable spread to choose from… soup flavoured with the essence of garcinia, crisp, crunchy rawa-coated prawn fry, crab bake with masala-roasted crab meat packed in its shell and baked, Goan fish curry in a thick cream of masala and coconut paste and mushroom roast with the whiff of pepper spreading around. And there's a lot more to choose from. Perhaps, the garcinia-laced soup may be a totally unfamiliar treat for Malayalis, though they are no strangers to garcinia. The base ingredients are prawn stock and tomato puree. Prawn shells are cooked and the water filtered out. More water is added to the prawn shell water to which are added garcinia extract and tomato puree. Though the broth looks red, it lacks the offensive punch of red chilly. Call it chemmeen rasam if you'd like to give this a Malayali twang. Undoubtedly, the best side dish to go with the soup is crispy-fried prawn. Rawa coated and deep fried Tiger prawns are the ideal starters. Go for the baked crab before rice beckons. The dish is prepared by first taking the meat out of the crab shell. It's then roasted with Mangalorean spices and packed back into the shell which is then baked for about ten minutes. The speciality of the Goan fish curry is its rich, thick coconut gravy. Coconut paste and coconut gravy are added in two stages. The mushroom gets its flavour from its raw masala mix. No curry masalas are added. Instead it’s mixed with pepper and turmeric and roasted in fresh oil. Wed, 27 Mar 2019 01:06:41 GMT Three youngsters with Down Syndrome run this tea shop in Kozhikode The Ikkayees hotel at Gujarati Street in Kozhikode is spreading smiles and love as they have opened a tea shop run by three youngsters who have Down's syndrome. Arinshad, Ameen, and Mubasheer, who run this tea shop amazingly, are the students at the Nadakavu 'We Smile' special school. They efficiently take orders and serve the tea. The tea shop opens at 3.30 pm and closes down by 7 pm. However, before boarding the bus which takes them back home, the trio makes sure that they have correctly managed and settled the day's finances. The tea shop was inaugurated as part of their internship project. There are many schools and training centres for those who have conditions like Down's syndrome or autism. However, most of us cannot really imagine how a person diagnosed with Down syndrome, leads their life after they turn twenty years old. N Sulaij, one of the owners of the Ikkayees hotel, says that it was this though which inspired him to open a tea shop which would be run by such people. N Sulaij and Shabeer are the owners of the famed Ikkayees hotel in Kozhikode. There is a heart touching tale of goodness behind the inception of this hotel around three years ago. It was even before the extremely successful 'Compassionate Kozhikode' project was flagged off in the city. A group of students from the JDT and the Farook College, who were service minded and interested in charitable activities, used to assemble at the Institute of Palliative Medicine. Nine among them decided to venture into the food business and founded the Ikkayees. In the initial days, they sold delicious 'food on road' in food trucks which drew foodies from all over. Eventually the food truck turned into a full-fledged hotel where mouth watering food is served with love and care. Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:24:10 GMT Abdul Raheem's Ezhuthani cake floored minister Thomas Isaac Have you heard about the uniquely named Ezhuthani cake which is a speciality at Kundara, Kollam? Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has turned a big fan of this delicious cake made with simple ingredients. He even paid tribute to this iconic cake through an extensive post on his Facebook page. Explaining the recipe of the Ezhuthani cake, the minister wrote, "There are no ingredients other than the all-purpose flour, eggs, and sugar in it. These three are mixed into a batter without adding even a drop of water. The batter is shaped into small cakes in moulds and then cooked in coconut oil. This wouldn't become stale for weeks as water is not added. Around 5000 cakes are sold on a daily basis. Tea and the cake is the best combination. It is a common sight when people, travelling in cars, stop by to pack 10-20 cakes. Those who travel to the Gulf usually carry a big packet of Ezhuthani cakes with them." The eatery, run by Abdul Raheem, was opened by his father. He had served in the army during the World War II. The eatery, opened in 1948 after Raheem's father returned from the army, functioned in a two shop space. The cake is being sold here since then. Besides the Ezhuthani cake, many other snacks were served during that time. However, now, the cake is the only snack available. Delicious mutton curry is served with porottha, idiyappam, appam, and dosa. A quantal of all-purpose flour is required every day to prepare the cakes and other dishes. The mutton curry would be cooked according to the amount of the all purpose flour that is used. Now the eatery has been expanded to a six shop space. However, Abdul Raheem would only open the two doors like in the old days when his father used to run the eatery. There is not even a name board outside the shop. But foodies keep thronging this place to try out the famous Ezhuthani cake. Rows of cars could be seen parked in front of the eatery all the time. Now, a few additional halls too are arranged inside to make room for all the customers. The porottha, mutton curry and other dishes that are cooked would be finished on the same day itself. As there won't be any leftovers there isn't a fridge or cold storage in the eatery. Minister Thomas Isaac stopped by the eatery to try out the Ezhuthani cake, while on his way to a convention in Kundara. Abdul Raheem too had reached to welcome the minister. He told that all the prominent political leaders were regulars at his eatery. It was Abdul Raheem himself who revealed the 'secret' recipe of the cake to Thomas Isaac. Not just the Ezhuthani cake, people would even pack their delicious mutton curry to the Gulf. When the minister asked him why he wasn't adding a modern look to the eatery which is more than seventy years old, Abdul Raheem said that tidiness, delicious food, and tradition were their signature and people rush in just to taste their food. Fri, 22 Mar 2019 01:56:38 GMT Nights at Kumbalangi are best enjoyed with Kayaloram Restaurant's prawns Kumbalangi by night is mesmerizing. The shores are still, quiet and the lake a vast sheet of placid waters with the silhouettes of the cobwebby Chinese nets painting an out of this world scene. The waters bob up and down with the reflected lights from the lanterns all around. Want a pleasant night out, just to chill out? Head straight to Kayaloram Restaurant in Kumbalangi. Kumbalangi is the village that scripted a new concept in tourism with its integrated, eco-tourism plans. The ambience at the eatery has its touch of romance with soft music playing against the backdrop of the cool waters. The pull of the place is its natural setting. Kayaloram is a no-frills, no-gimmicks place. But there's plenty of good times to savour. For one, you can have your meal and stay till the midnight mood lingers. The menu is not exotic. If you're out for continental, Chinese or the Persian flavours, then head not to Kumbalangi. But there's a delicious, homely meal to look forward to. And it's easy on the pocket! Beef puttu and chemmeen puttu Two must-taste dishes here are the beef puttu and the chemmeen puttu. They can be had on their own without side dishes. They come packed with loads of taste. The prawns are fresh, cooked straight from the waters and not packed with ice as we usually get. The prawn puttu is the main attraction here. Kumbalangi being rich in prawns, it's not too difficult to whip up tasty dishes with them, freshness being the hallmark of their taste. Beef puttu is also another delectable outing. Puttu mixed with layers of beef and gravy. Ah, so yummy! The flavour wafts across from the piping hot dishes and spreads all over inviting folks outside for a bite. Kochi's very own beef vindaloo Some regions have their trademark culinary combinations where they taste the best, like for example, beef and koorka (Chinese potato), which only folks in Thrissur can turn out in their tastiest best, or the mango curry, which Angamaly has the copyright to. Come to Kochi, Fort Kochi to be precise, for its beef vindaloo, unrivalled in flavour and taste. Of Portuguese origin, the beef vindaloo is Kochi's masterpiece. The dish can be had in its purest and original flavour in Kayaloram. Vindaloo gorgers swear by its unmistakable pull. As chunks of meat wrapped in tamarind juice with spicy hot masala are downed, they have to be matched with hot and strong black tea for realtime experience. Kappa and chemmeen After puttu-chemmeen comes the next item hot on its heels, kappa and chemmeen. They come in different combos with prawns and other fish varieties. The freshly ground masalas lend the dishes a homely feel. And one never gets tired of the taste. Besides, the freshness of the day’s catch is an added draw. No stale food here. Kayaloram is proud of its culinary skills. Give us any fish, the taste is assured, says the restaurant. A big thanks to Tom's mum! Once the food is downed and the taste savoured, the next natural curiosity leads you to find the expert hands behind the dishes. And there she is! Lissa Mummy! Lissa is Tom's mother and Tom is one of the partners of Kayaloram. Lissa is the super chef behind Kayaloram's delicious dishes. The restaurant opens only by 7 pm. But Lissa is in her kitchen much before that and when the eatery opens, mother and son bring in all the dishes. However, puttu and chappathis are made on the spot. But all the curries are made in Lissa's kitchen. Kayaloram chunks have put up a notice on their Facebook page. In case folks would like to turn in late for a bite, they need to call the restaurant, just to make sure sufficient food is still around. Since the curries are brought from Lissa'a home, once they are served and done with, thy shut shop for the day. But though the kitchen closes down, Kayaloram is still open to people who’d love to settle down to a bit of light hearted banter or enjoy the stillness of the waters and the cool breeze that wraps the place. Kayaloram nights are alive on all days of the week except Mondays. Mondays are Team Kayaloram's days for rest. Kayaloram 'chunks' It's by night that Kayaloram wears its charm. As the sun dips into the sea, the place gets lit up with lanterns all around. With the aroma of cardamom tea spreading, folks in groups troop in. The restaurant was the joint vision of three youths, Raju, Tom, and Sanjay, who sought out the beauty of Kumbalangi by night. Bonded by experience and the amity of having worked together, the trio did not waste time in laying the foundation for their dream venture. To the three musketeers, music and movies are as important as food. One of them is always around strumming a guitar, tapping to its rhythm and singing even while the plates go around. Guests also join in at times. Welcome to Kayaloram to jive up the nights! Thu, 21 Mar 2019 01:57:35 GMT Enjoy the real taste of north Indian tandoor at Guru Dhaba in Thrissur Foodies throng the Guru Dhaba at Chirangara even in the wee hours to taste their signature roti and tandoori chicken. Twenty years ago, when the eatery was opened, it was called Raja. Sharmaji, their chief cook who could create magic with spices and flavour, had become a beloved member of the family. He came all the way from Kashmir and enriched the dhaba with his unique cooking style and rare blend of spices. Many from the naval base in Kochi came looking for Sharmaji to try out his famous rotis, parathas, and other spicy dishes. Sharmaji, who treated Thrissur with his delicious dishes, passed away five years ago. However, he bid adieu to this world only after passing on his secret recipes and exotic spice blends to the family which runs the dhaba. The owners of the dhaba, as a tribute to their culinary teacher Sharmaji, changed the eatery's name to 'Guru' Dhaba meaning teacher's. The memories of Sharmaji continue to live not only through the name of the eatery but also through the mouthwatering dishes that are served here. Chicken is the only non-vegetarian item that is served here. However, one can enjoy chicken in different forms and flavours. The authentic Panjabi tandoor dishes are the super stars at the Guru Dhaba. The chicken sits in the special tandoor marinade for at least 3 hours. The tandoor oven is lit only when the cook certifies that the chicken is well marinated. Sometimes, the customers might get impatient, waiting to taste the delicious tandoori dishes. However the owner of the dhaba, MM Gireesan, does not budge a bit from what has been taught by his teacher. It is the unique tandoori masala which has earned great reputation for the food at Guru Dhaba. From the naval base to the various north Indian lorries, the dishes from this dhaba had enthralled foodies. Many lorry drivers who drive all the way from the north Indian states say that the curries served at Guru dhaba remind them of their homes. There are 6 varieties of dishes in the chicken tandoori. Tomato chicken, yogurt chicken, pepper chicken, palak chicken, and garlic chicken are some of their specialities. There are many takers for their special egg keema (mince) as well. The loyal customers vouch for the unique taste of the chicken 65. The sourness from the yogurt perfectly cuts through the spicy gravy, making it incredibly delicious. Most of the cooks at the Guru Dhaba hail from the north Indian states. Many of them have been working here for the last 20 years. These chefs clearly understand the palettes of the regulars and cook them smashing dishes. As the eatery is a typical dhaba, the dishes and curries are often spicy with a good hit of heat. Those who need it less spicy can tell their preferences in advance. The rotis and the curries are made on order, that too, in the open kitchen right next to you. The Guru Dhaba was featured in the Hindi movie Karwan starring Malayali heartthrob Dulquer Salman. The crew shot for two days here and Dulquer was particularly impressed by the delicious dishes that were served. Late actor Kalabhavan Mani, too, frequented this eatery to enjoy the delicacies. Guru Dhaba had hosted many celebrities including musician Balabhaskar, who lost his life in an accident last year. The dhaba which opens at 11 am and closes only at 2.30 am, is owned by Gireeshan and lies close to the Kurisupally in the Thrissur-Kochi route near the Chirangara junction. There are many other dhabas functioning on this route with the name Guru. The rice dishes are cooked without adding any artificial flavourings. The special egg rice is the favourite of the students of nearby colleges. The college students love to hang out at the dhaba, having fun, and sharing good food. The reasonable prices are a major factor which attracts them to this place. However, Gireeshan would give the students special consideration as he too had gone through a time when he didn’t have much money. Besides, he believes that more than just flavours, food is all about happiness and joy. His mother Vishalakshi Rajan mans the counter while his wife Sreeja manages the household. These women truly are the biggest source of support for Gireeshan. Gireeshan says that he wouldn't have achieved what he has now, had Sharmaji not been there. It was Gireeshan who took care of him like a son. This dhaba not only celebrates great food but also the love that a disciple nurtures for his 'guru.' Mon, 18 Mar 2019 01:53:45 GMT Ice cream rolls lure foodies to this dessert shop in Kochi 'Kummattikka Juice,' a shop opposite Shenoy's on MG Road in Kochi, sells a unique delicacy that is attracting customers. It is named 'chocolate ice-cream roll.' Though the name suggests that it is an ice-cream, the item is in fact a fusion of chocolate pastry, fresh cream, and white chocolate sauce. Watching the preparation of the roll is also an interesting sight. Generous amounts of fresh cream and white chocolate syrup are spread over chocolate pastry and folded with a spatula. This process is done on a board over which a thin ice sheet has been kept. The next step is to roll the pastry-cream mixture into an even square shape. Then, using a thin steel spatula, the mixture is carefully scraped out. At that time, the pastry mixture turns into a roll and it presents a curious sight. Five to six rolls can be prepared with a single pastry. Over the roll, chocolate syrup and sugar balls of various colours are spread before serving it to the customer. As chocolate ice-cream roll is neither freezing cold nor contains tangy essences, and customers take their own sweet time to relish it. Sun, 17 Mar 2019 02:53:39 GMT World's most expensive coffee is available at this cafe in Kochi The Kafe Kopi Luwak at Pananpilly Nagar, Kochi in Kerala is grabbing eyeballs, not only for its swanky interiors but also for serving the most expensive coffee in the world. The cafe shares the name of the Kopi Luwak or civet coffee which is touted as most exclusive and expensive coffee. Businessman-actor Nirmal Jake and costume designer Sheeba Manishankar are the owners of the cafe. They couldn't think of anything else but to open a cafe when they decided to start a business. Kopi Luwak made it to their menu when the duo thought that their cafe should stand out in Kochi where there isn't any shortage of cafes. Many film personalities have already visited Kafe Kopi Luwak to sip the most expensive cup of coffee in the world. Another outlet of the Kafe Kopi Luwak has been inaugurated at the naval base, after the cafe became famous for its incredible coffee varieties. The Kopi Luwak or the civet coffee has its origins in Indonesia. It is prepared by processing the ordinary coffee beans in an extremely unique and complicated process. The coffee beans are the main food of the civet cat. During the digestive process the coffee cherries and the pulp are removed but the coffee beans aren't digested. It has been proven that this special coffee has medicinal properties as well. The coffee separated from its faeces is processed to make the Kopi Luwak. The unique fermentation that happens in the civet's digestive system gives the coffee its unique flavour. Growing civets in cages to produce Kopi Luwak on a commercial basis has now become very common in Indonesia. Those who have been to Kafe Kopi Luwak vouch for its beautiful interiors. Nirmal and Sheeba were particular that the interiors should have a unique and attractive look. Exquisite and rare decor adorn the interiors which are designed tastefully. The seating arrangements in the shape of coracle boats have been specially made by the tribal communities in Wayanad. The cafe also serves some tasty Mexican and Italian delicacies. However, it is the Kopi Luwak which brought the cafe to the limelight. A cup of hot and exclusive Kopi Luwak costs Rs 1600 here. The owners were initially doubtful whether customers would come in to taste the Kopi Luwak that costs Rs 1600 a cup. However, coffee lovers are now queuing up in front of Kafe Kopi Luwak to taste the most expensive coffee in the world. Those who visited the cafe just to try out its specialities have now become regulars who come back to enjoy the special brews and mouth watering food. Tue, 12 Mar 2019 04:10:22 GMT Head to Barbeque Nation, Kochi to try authentic mappila dishes An elaborate non-vegetarian platter without unnecessary twists, complex cooking styles or artificial additives – this is how the foodies describe the delicious 'mappila' dishes served at Barbeque Nation which functions at the Imperial Towers at the north end of MG Road. Chicken – coconut milk soup, roasted chicken and emperor fish roasted in plantain leaf are some of the delectable delicacies served at the swanky eatery. The dishes prepared with fresh ingredients are incredibly light and it doesn't make the stomach feel heavy. The tender chicken pieces are marinated in vinegar, black pepper, green chillies, and salt before cooking it in double amount of water. Loosened coconut milk is then added into the perfectly cooked chicken. The flame is turned off right before the broth bubbles up. Foodies, who have become fans of this delicious and nutritious soup, stress that it is much better that the soups served at Chinese eateries which are loaded with corn flour. The Arabs have an undeniable influence on the unique mappila cuisine. The roasted chicken is one of their specialities. Small chicken pieces rubbed with special Arabic masala are marinated in lemon juice, ground green chillies, salt, and pepper. The chicken pieces are marinated for at least three hours, for the meat to suck in all the spicy goodness from the special marinade. These marinate chicken pieces are then cooked on a barbecue stove by controlling the heat to keep it tender and moist. Not a drop of oil is added into this special roasted chicken dish and this is what makes it appealing for those who are health conscious. The emperor fish, which is fleshy, is wrapped in plantain leaf before roasting it in fresh coconut oil. Though tamarind water and Malabar tamarind water are added, the sourness doesn't overpower the flavours. The special masala prepared with onion paste as its base is loaded with flavours which makes the dish super delicious. Sun, 10 Mar 2019 01:44:59 GMT What makes this almost century-old hotel in Thrissur click The 96-year-old Gopi Hotel in Ambakkadan Junction is the oldest of its kind in Thrissur. Vada and dosa are the highlights here. It was Mookkath Narayanan Nair who set up the hotel on St Thomas College Road. What today's Gopi Hotel was “Narayanan Nair’s kaappikkada” in those days when style and ambience were least expected to take over familiar, back slapping camaraderie. The venerable tea shop owner ever got a granite slab erected for those who were weary and heavy laden. They could set down their headloads, relax over a cup of tea perhaps, and then move on. The place was indeed a haven of comfort for innumerable traders who were headed to the rice markets on their bullock carts. The shop was later handed over to his son Madhavan Nair and then on to his children. When the kappikkada was opened, only dosa, vada and unniappam were served. Soon, uzhunnuvada joined the snacks and unniappam bowed out. The tea shop got its name “Gopi” 56 years ago and to this day, the hotties sold here are dosa and vada. However, the latest menu cards show the entry of puttu, chappathy and upma. While puttu and upma make their exit by 11 am, dosa and vada can be had 24x7. So what’s the secret behind Hotel Gopi’s wonder dosa? Everything lies in the quality of the rice and urud dal, plus the consistency of the batter and the way it’s ground, explains, Gopalakrishnan, one of the owners. The way rice and dal are ground does matter. A lot of expertise is called for to reach the right consistency. The next secret lies in the way the dosa is spread out on the hot tawa. Skill again, he says. Work on the dosa begins from 6 am and winds up only by 9 pm. Today, the hotel is perhaps the only place in Thrissur where simple, plain dosas can be had. Only a particular brand of urud dal and two varieties of rice go into the making of Hotel Gopi’s dosas. The cooks never experiment with different varieties. Down memory lane with dosa Cries of “treat”, treat” that might have rent the air years ago surely had their fruition in the old kappikkada where students of St Thomas College would flock to, to give their peers the best treat of the day… dosa. The hotel's dosas were the mainstay for generations who never thought of going elsewhere. In later years, when entrance coaching classes run by Prof PC Thomas sprang up, there were countless students making a beeline for the hotel. Doctors around town make a halt here for dosa-vada takeaways. In fact, it was the hotel’s dosas that gave kids the much-needed relief during their hectic, nerve-wracking coaching class days. Though the early days specialized only in parippu vada, the uzhunnu vada soon took over. The taste of the vada depends on several factors. Even the boiling point of the oil determines how the vadas will ultimately turn out to be. Everything here is surgically precise, which is why the taste is consistent and the clientele bulging by the day. There’s a certainty about the dosas and the vadas. The batter is ground just once for the whole day’s making. If by night, there’s an excess of it, it’s just dumped. There’s no question of setting it aside for the next day. On the contrary, if the batter runs short, that's it. There’s no more mixing and grinding. Nothing extra is added to get the vadas crispy and fluffy; it’s only expertise that counts. The crispy bite of the vada depends on the precise moment it’s dunked in the hot, boiling oil and the right time it’s drained out. A moment’s casualness and the vada loses its signature taste. The hotel was Education Minister C Raveendranath’s haunt while he was teaching in St Thomas College. While he came cycling to college in those days shorn of glamour, today, the minister who zips round in his official car, however, stops by at the hotel for a couple of dosas and vadas and a light tea. This is the minister’s regular order. Another exalted guest is playback singer Jayachandran who comes in for his brand of dosa. It’s a marvel that people troop down in droves when there’s no standing room outside or even a patch to park a cycle around. Then that’s the pull of the place… taste! Sat, 09 Mar 2019 01:42:11 GMT A 90-year-old eatery that lures foodies with its dosa This small eatery in Thrissur attracts food lovers, including top film stars, from far and wide who rush to savour the 'dosa' served with red-coloured chutney. Situated on the Thrissur-Shoranur route just before Cheruthuruthy, at a turning on the road called Attoor, the hotel has existed at the spot for 90 years and customers have enjoyed the same dosa taste all these years. The golden-coloured dosa with crispy edges and the chutney prepared with grated coconut and fried red chillies which are grinded by hand on a stone are a perfect combination. Parcels of dosa and chutney are often hard to eat as the chutney would drench the crispy dosa. Still, even superstars like Mammootty and Mohanlal ensure that they get a dosa parcel from this restaurant, which got a name board ‘New Hotel’ only recently, while shooting in the Shoranur area. The USP of the dosa at New Hotel, which can be identified by the blue paint on the exterior, is of course the taste. With most restaurants serving only masala dosa and ghee roast, many patrons bring their children along to New Hotel with the intention of making the youngsters realize what real local dosa is. Filmmakers like Sathyan Anthikkad and the late Lohithadas have penned articles on the hotel, which are preserved on a table covered with glass sheet. A slice of history Opened 90 years ago, Kunjan Nair's tea shop was the only such facility between Wadakkanchery and Shoranur for decades. It was indeed a wayside stop for all travelers along the route. Since Kunjan Nair’s time, dosa and ‘uniiyappam’ were the main items served at the shop. Alongside, ‘idli’, ‘puttu’, ‘sukhiyan’, ‘parippu vada’ and ‘uzhunnu vada’ were available. Forty years ago, lunch was added to the menu. Kunjan Nair’s son Kuttan Nair helped him run the hotel and later managed the eatery on Kunjan Nair’s death. After Kuttan Nair too passed away, his daughter Vilasini and her husband Narayanan Nair took over. Over these years, the shop was known by the owner’s name. Ever since the soft-spoken Narayanan Nair began running the hotel, it has been called ‘Narayanettan’s shop’. According to Narayanan Nair, it is his wife Vilasini’s skills that drive the kitchen at the hotel. Both of them agree that it is the dosa that makes all the difference and give a brief description of its preparation. The batter is prepared using ‘ponni’ rice and raw rice. These items are being purchased from the same provision store over the last 90 years. For preparing the perfect batter, equal amounts of ponni and raw rice have to be ground along with black gram and fenugreek. The proportion is 250 g of black gram and 25 g fenugreek for one kg rice. While grinding, water has to be added at regular intervals. Before grinding, the rice and black gram have to be washed thoroughly. The bitterness of the black gram can be removed only by repeated washing. As several pesticides are used in rice, it too has to be cleaned properly. While making the dosa, the stone has to be heated to the correct temperature before pouring the batter. If the temperature is lesser than optimum, the dosa will have a raw taste and if higher the dish will be burnt. At New Hotel, the chutney is prepared in the traditional way – grinding on a stone manually. The only ingredients are coconut and red chillis. The chillis are fried properly before the preparation. This special chutney is available in the morning till 10 and evening. The eatery serves only ‘naadan’ dosa; masala dosa or ghee roast have no place in the kitchen. Two regular visitors who relished all the items at the shop in a leisurely manner were Lohithadas and actor Cochin Haneefa. Their demise caused much pain to Narayanan Nair. On the day Lohithadas died, Narayanan Nair did not step out of the house. Nor did he go to work in his hotel. Narayanan Nair was so grief-stricken that even going to pay his last respects was impossible. The New Hotel owner could not bear to see the body of the filmmaker – they were so close. Other dishes ‘Unniyappam’ is another item on the restaurant’s menu that is much in demand. It is made by adding coconut pieces and bananas to rice batter. In the olden days, the unniyappam retained its taste for four days. But with the new varieties of rice, the item does not last so long. Another feature of the unniyappam made at the eatery is that no maida (white flour) is used in its preparation. Snacks like ‘baji’, ‘uzhunnu vada’, ‘pappada vada’ and ‘paripuu vada’ are also made the hotel. Most guests remember to take home parcels after having food. The eatery opens by 5 am and serves steaming hot ‘puttu’ and ‘idli’. Within 30 minutes, ‘vadas’ will also be ready. The outlet closes by 8 pm. On Sundays, the outlet remains closed. A small quantity of lunch is also offered. “It is all God’s grace,” says Narayanan Nair on the secret of the hotel’s successful journey over the last 90 years. Fri, 01 Mar 2019 06:12:01 GMT The Indian roots of Karachi Bakery in Hyderabad "The essence of Karachi Bakery is absolutely Indian by heart and will remain so. We request everybody to refrain from any kind of misconceptions," the renowned Karachi Bakery had to issue an explanation like this through their twitter handle after the dastardly attack on soldiers in Pulwama recently. A section of people had protested against the Bengaluru outlet of the iconic bakery, which is popular across the country for it signature fruits cakes and biscuits, falsely thinking that the bakery has connections with Pakistan. The protesters who demanded to change 'Karachi' from the name of the bakery, however, did not vandalize the outlet. The workers then had to cover the word 'Karachi' on their name board and had even exhibited the Indian tricolour in front of the shop. Following this, the bakery issued a statement confirming that they are an Indian brand, through the social media. The story of 'Karachi' The Karachi in the bakery's name indeed comes from the city of Karachi in Pakistan. The chain of bakeries was founded by Khanchand Ramnani who migrated to India during the partition in 1947. Ramnani, who belonged to a Sindhi family, arrived in India, along with his sons Hansram and Ramdas and their families. The Ramnani family, which settled in Hyderabad, began a bakery, in 1953, at the famous Mozamjahi market. Khanchand may have named it the Karachi Bakery, to honour the city where he had grown up. The unique recipes brought to India by Khanchand and his sons floored Hyderabad, which is known for its rich culinary heritage. Delicious Osmania biscuits, fruit biscuits, breads and plum cakes, made at the kitchen of Karachi Bakery, drew hundreds of food lovers to their outlet. Though there were many shops which sold Osmani biscuits, it was the unique taste of the ones made at the Karachi Bakery which gave them a footing here. The brand which gradually grew, now, has 15 outlets in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Besides, they have opened outlets at many leading cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru as well. It is estimated that around one and a half tones of biscuits and 800 loaves of bread are sold at the various outlets around the country. The owners say that they do not compromise on the taste and quality of their products. That must definitely be the secret behind the Karachi Bakery's incredible success saga. Wed, 27 Feb 2019 04:53:13 GMT Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor opens his second restaurant in Kerala Thiruvananthapuram: 'The Yellow Chilli,' a chain of casual dining restaurants promoted by celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, opened its second outlet in Kerala Sunday. This is the 43rd restaurant of the brand, which is spread in various cities in India and abroad. Speaking to media after inaugurating the outlet, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, a Padma Shri awardee and Guinness World Record achiever, said when he started doing cookery shows on television he realised there was a much bigger market than the five star hotels. This is the second restaurant of the brand in Kerala after the one at Kochi. The new restaurant is in Nanthancode. Asked if they were looking at more units in the southern state, Kapoor said "we will keep our eyes open". The brand, which has over 10 restaurants in Middle East, is also eyeing Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Yellow Chilli menu reflects Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's culinary excellence with exotic signature picks from the Mughal era and specific regions of Punjab that include dishes like Tomato Basil Shorba, Palak Cheese Karara Roll, Shaam Savera, Nizami Tarkari Biryani among others. The restaurant here will be managed by Gen Trends Hospitality Pvt. Ltd., a hospitality chain based in UAE helmed by entrepreneurs N P Unnikrishnan and Neelesh Bhatnagar. The Yellow Chilli is one of the most prominent brands under the parent company SKRPL (Sanjeev Kapoor Restaurants Pvt Ltd). With his inimitable touch, the ingenious and sophisticated use of the freshest of ingredients and innovative and imaginative methods of cooking, has made Sanjeev Kapoor synonymous with gourmet cooking in India. Considered the chef extraordinaire, who put India on the global culinary map, Kapoor's greatest contribution to Indian cuisine is the fusion of the traditional with the modern at his restaurants and his signature dishes meticulously planned and prepared. Kapoor also runs a successful TV Channel 'FoodFood', is the author of best-selling cookbooks, and also has an online portal, which is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 15,000 tried and tested recipes and a wealth of food related information. 'The Yellow Chilli' chain is a part of SKRPL that manages various restaurant brands of the Master. Headed by Rajeev Matta, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SKRPL is making waves in the restaurant industry world over, with 64 operational outlets (17 in pipeline) under different brands in 8 countries. Mon, 25 Feb 2019 09:43:45 GMT Head to Thrissur Kappi Club for some refreshing samovar tea Sajeevan opened the Thrissivaperur Kappi Club at the Pandisamooham road near The Thrissur Swaraj round, after trying his hands at running an extremely successful hotel. He wanted to serve refreshing tea and coffee and mouthwatering evening snacks to the foodies of Thrissur. The quaint eatery opens at 6.45 am and delicious dal vada is the first dish that is served here. Breakfast dishes like idli, upma and puri are served for just two hours in the morning. Meanwhile, a delicious procession of hot and crispy dal vada, uzhunnu vada and sukhiyan would make its way from the kitchen to the glass cupboards in the front. Besides these, masala bonda, kesari, cutlets, raw plantain bhajji or fritters, chili fritters, bread roast and pazhampori or banana fritters are some of their specialties. Cool and refreshing curd saadam and tasty vegetable biryani are served for a short while during the noon time. Sajeevan says that he began to serve curd saadam and biryani, not because the shop is large enough to accommodate many customers who come in for the lunch service. He was disturbed by the tired faces of many, who walk out of the eatery disappointed, knowing that only snacks and not rice items are available here. Every day, curd saadam is cooked with just 2 kilos of rice and the dish would be served until it gets over. Meanwhile, the snacks too would be cooked at the hotel’s kitchen as there are many who prefer to have a tea and a light snack at noon. The eatery isn't very spacious and its long interiors are crowded like the compartment of a train. There aren't any tables for the customers to sit comfortably and eat. A desk attached to one of the walls and a few chairs complete the interiors. The hotel is run and maintained like local tea shops that are commonly seen in the rural settings. However, foodies throng this hotel to enjoy the 'local' set up right in the middle of the busy city. Sajeevan says that they frequently change the oil in which the snacks are cooked, as the regular customers may easily recognize if there is a change in the taste of the food. The snacks are cooked fresh when the already prepared batch is sold out. They won't prepare food in advance as it would turn cold and soggy. Pazhampori or banana fritters are a superstar among the snacks as there are many takers for it. Long pieces of sweet and ripe bananas are used to make the fritters. This eatery could easily be called a gallery which reflects the rich history and vivid culture of Thrissur. The walls are adorned with beautiful drawings and sketches. As soon as one enters the Kappi Club, the eyes are drawn to the drawing of Shaktan Thampuarn with his sword drawn. Thrissur's own Aana Davis, Navab Rajendran and Theetta Rappayi, too, are featured on the walls. The picture of an elephant truly represents the city's love for festivals. The tea and coffee prepared in the traditional way from an old samovar draws hundreds of tea lovers to the Thrissivaperur Kappi Club. Thu, 28 Feb 2019 01:47:29 GMT Flavours of the sea waft at The Drawing Room in Fort Kochi It is not easy for lovers of spices and seafood to find the right blend all the time. And when you are in the land where they coexist deliciously, it would be a shame to miss out on their romance. Both the flavours being overwhelming by themselves, it takes a practised hand to get them right. Thankfully, if you are in the colourful city of Fort Kochi, one thing you can be assured of is – variety of seafood preparations. Whether you like your fish curried and red hot or grilled to perfection, you can get your hands on everything in the streets here. However, if your palate wants to go for a ride with subtle hints of Kerala's spices, you need not look further than the Fort Kochi beach. With lawns on one side and the sea on the other, The Drawing Room restaurant will invite you in like a cool breeze. You can settle in at the garden sitting area with its pretty, white furniture nestled in green creepers or you can sit indoors at the windows looking at ships sailing in the sea. The place is usually calm in the afternoons but lights up in the evenings with lamps and music. But whatever the time of the day, they will have you gorge on fresh seafood – and we mean really fresh. They literally go and buy the fish when you order one! The menu itself is a list of sundry preparations which will suit all kinds of palates without leaving Kerala's authentic flavours out. Case in point being their grilled red snapper which is marinated with Indian spices and then grilled on a bed of fresh curry leaves. It cannot get more original than that! The final dish has a charred crust with its intense flavour seeped into the juicy interior. The marinade is just enough to add that desi flavour that lets you enjoy this dish with plain rice. Next item will trigger your scepticism but only till you try it. Bacon-wrapped prawns! Might sound a bit crazy but 'Angels on horseback' are a French delicacy that essentially use oysters instead of prawns. This derivation is no less delicious, and as the owner of the hotel himself puts it: "You can't go wrong with bacon." These starters are to be had hot lest the bacon should go rubbery. Just hold it by the tail and take one large bite and let the flavours explode in your mouth. Come back to Kerala cuisine for the main course with a coconut prawns curry which is typical to the region. Though nothing goes better with a spicy Kerala curry than steamed, tempered kappa, you might want to try their paalkappa or kappa cooked in coconut milk! This method tenderises the tapioca and gives it a softer texture. The creaminess of coconut makes these preparations rather heavy but totally worth the laze that follows. To wash down this heavy meal you have a lot of interesting drinks to choose from. 'Interesting, how?' you may ask. Well, have you ever had your pineapple juice with curry leaves in it? Trust us, nothing goes better with the flavoursome food you will have here. The freshness of curry leaves brings out the tanginess of the pineapple juice just right. Finally, for dessert, the restaurant recommends their chocolate mousse which is a dense, almost cheesecake-like preparation and will take two to finish. Topped with mint leaves, the mousse will leave you want more but unfortunately with no stomach. Relax as you watch the calm sea from these windows of an ancient port house which was renovated to erect The Drawing Room. The walls and window panes still reek of the rich history of this port city. Thu, 21 Feb 2019 07:26:58 GMT 50 years on, Maniyan's tea at Pettah station tastes the same The Pettah railway station in Thiruvananthapuram hasn't changed much in the last 50 years. The faded building and the long platform still looks the same as in the olden times. The same could be said about the refreshing taste of tea sold at Maniyan's tea stall in front of the railway station. Chennilodu Kavuvila Maniyan, fondly called as Maniyanannan, by the people of Pettah, has been selling tea at the railway station for the last 50 years. Political stalwarts like E K Nayanar, K Pankajakshan, Vakkom, and K Balakrishnan have tasted his tea and certified it the best. Maniyan would take a good look at the person who orders the tea before making it. If the person looks tired after a long journey, then he would serve them a glass of refreshing tea which is strong and a bit sweet. Besides, tea is served to them quite quickly. If they look relaxed and not in a hurry, Maniyan would serve them delicious tea made with generous amount of milk. Politicians usually prefer strong tea. One of the most amazing qualities of Maniyanannan's tea is that it doesn't turn cold soon. The hot tea can be sipped slowly enjoying the refreshing taste. There are stories of people travelling to Thampanoor getting down at the Pettah station just to have Maniyannan's tea. Even during the rush hours, he does not prepare tea in bulk. Tea is made separately for each one of the customers. An old samovar could be seen at the shop which has 'aged' gracefully. Maniyan sees it as a symbol of good fortune and makes it a point to keep it clean and shiny always. Earlier he used to remember the time schedule of the trains running through the station. It was the shuttle services which mostly stopped at Pettah. Maniyan says that though all the trains look the same, each one has a distinct sound. Maniyan, 74, is helped at the tea shop by his wife Sathyabama who is 69 years old. Maniyan recalls that he began to sell tea in front of the railway station, 50 years ago, on the next day of his wedding. In the beginning, tea was sold for just 10 paise. Sathyabama retired as a cook at the Ayurveda college and now joins her husband at the tea stall. The couple heads to the tea stall early in the morning and shares a lunch parcel at noon. They are still pained by the memories of their daughter Bindu, who died when she was studying in class six. Their son Suresh is an autorickshaw driver. "Our grandchild is studying engineering. It is this small tea stall which supports our family. My only prayer and wish is to be able to listen to the sounds of the trains until my last moment," Maniyan signs off. Maniyan's incredible memories of the Pettah railway station will soon be turned into an amazing book. A few youngsters who were floored by the genuine taste of Maniyanannan's tea are all set to come up with a book which narrates the life of Maniyan and also the snippets of his memories about the place. Tue, 19 Feb 2019 01:50:48 GMT Sniff the aroma of traditions at Hotel Sapphire in Thrissur Even today Assu Haji's biriyani tastes the same as it did 47 years ago and the aroma from his biriyani cauldron is the same as it was 47 years ago when he put it on the hearth for the first time. Assu Haji had said then "Even if my biriyani sells less, it should maintain the same taste and flavour. I should not disappoint anyone." From the first day, Assu Haji's hotel serves food with love and happiness. The tradition continues even after 47 years. That is why the taste of the biriyani and chicken fry served at Sapphire hotel on the railway station road, Thrissur lingers not just on the tongue but also on the mind. It was Thacharakkal Abdul Salim from Thalassery who married Naseema, the daughter of Assu Haji. Though Salim had no connection with hotel business, he learnt the business after coming here. Hotel Sapphire is now managed by Salim and Faisal, son of Assu Haji. Assu Haji had passed on his innate skill to the next generation when he was alive. Assu Haji served as the cook of a Saudi King before coming back to Thrissur and deciding to start the hotel business. A building attached to the royal house of Kochi was taken on rent. Hotel Sapphire passed through several bad phases before emerging on the path of success happiness today. Hotel Sapphire was operating from one of the dining halls the Kochi royal family had built. There is a hole on the eastern wall of this structure. This hole was for the women of that era to offer prayers to Lord Hanuman at the nearby Hanuman temple before the meals. Assu Haji had insisted for this hole to never be covered. The building was later bought and several renovation works were carried out but the hole is still safe there. Assu Haji reminds everyone that even the small openings for prayers should not be closed. By 7 am, the chicken for the biriyani go up the hearth. Only the chicken pieces cut that morning are used. The biriyani rice with a unique aroma comes from Siliguri. For decades now, the same brand of rice has been used. Each sack of rice is inspected closely. Rice is boiled using firewood while the chicken is fried using cooking gas. Later, these are mixed and are let on the 'dum' with ember on the top of the cauldron. Only one cauldron of biriyani is cooked at a time and so all the serving is fresh. It is never served reheated. Another successful item served at the Sapphire hotel is the fried chicken with parathas. The chicken is never fried in the same oil again and again. The taste of the fried chicken is a mix of fresh oil, fresh chicken, and the masala that goes into the meat. The smell of Hotel Sapphire is the smell of these fresh chicken being fried. By 7.30 am, chilli fish curry, paratha, pathiri, and idiyappam are ready. Very often we see people coming from Bengaluru etc waiting impatiently for the fish curry. This fish curry is nostalgic for many. There is a deep well in the hotel premises. It is a well with a bottom clad with the planks from a gooseberry tree preserved since the time of kings. For cooking, only water from this well is used. The prayer that 'none should go unsatisfied' floats in the Sapphire air. The result is the everlasting taste of biriyani that lingers on the tongue of the patrons. It was Assu Haji who enticed Thrissur into biriyani. Wed, 13 Feb 2019 04:13:40 GMT