Kappa Chakka Kandhari !! The names of 3 special vegetables ( Tapioca, Jackfruit, Chilly) that every Malayalee is nostalgic about, the smells and the tastes that grand mothers dished out from their kitchens cooking on country clay ovens, carefully prepared in earthen pots. The taste of fish from the river and tapioca from the garden mixed with earthy love would make many an afternoon special while lazing under the trees in a country made hammock!! With changing times, very few are lucky to enjoy such pure unadulterated moments. With the globalization of the Kerala cuisine coupled with fusion recipes across the world most people outside the region identify it with Appam, Stew, Avial and some fish curry with coconut milk, Biryani, whole set of payasams made with anything that can be remotely cooked in milk or coconut milk and a variety of chips.
Frankly, I am no exception and when my friend asked me to come along for a curtain raiser event of Kappa Chakka Kandhari which promised a trip down memory lane with food, I was more than happy. This is a brain child of Augustine Kurian and John Paul along with Chef Regi Mathew who are extremely passionate about this curated cuisine which to them is a brand that will redefine the perception of the Malayalee cuisine. A quick conversation with Augustine Kurian and Chef Regi Mathew revealed that they had a team who visited villages in Kerala, tasted food directly from the home kitchens, researched on recipes and techniques and came up with a list of dishes that they wanted their patrons to experience prior to launching their outlet.
It was a huge spread complete with starters, curries and desserts sans any kind of carbs – rice, parotha or appam !! Sometimes the accompanying bread and rice items just kill the appetite in its zest to fill the stomach. All the dishes were laid out in earthern ware and the tables had trays of chips and pickles. I gorged on the jack fruit chips which were crisp and golden and did not have that familiar stench of stale coconut oil like the one from the neighborhood store. The accompanying fruit pickle and the garlic/chilly fry just made it all the more tasty. Had to remind myself a couple of times to control.
The starters and curries had a mix of vegetables (pineapple, ladies finger, tapioca, jackfruit, sweet potato, yam) and the main course had fish, dried fish, chicken, pork and beef. Since I am staying away from all kinds of red meat, I just took a helping of pork fry which was simply delicious. I loved the dried fish curry with the tapioca, the grated pineapple curry, the prawns baked in banana leaf along with tapioca, the ladies finger cooked in coconut milk, the spicy tender jackfruit fry and I can go on and on. I am a little ashamed but I do not remember the names of all that I had !! To name a few Kappa Unnakka Chemmen Cutlet; Maathi Fry; Kappa Vevichatu; Varal Meen, Etangadi Puzhukku; Meen Vathichatu; Chakkakuru Manga Curry etc etc
The story down memory lane would remain incomplete without the desserts. The Uniyappams were soft and had the right balance of sweet, the pineapple cake with jam was swoonworthy !! It was dense yet soft without the over addition of baking powder to make it fluffy. The Mango Chutney coupled with some dates and raisins was something that set the tongue clicking. To keep it as authentic as possible, there was chilly ice cream and jack fruit ice cream. One spoon of the chilly ice cream and it set my throat aflame which had to be quickly quietened by an helping of the melt in the mouth jack fruit one.
While, I was gorging a young boy band (Atma) was crooning chart buster Bollywood and Kollywood numbers and while it is hard to keep me away from foot tapping soulful music; this spread managed to do that with minimal distraction !! Need I say more; A big Thumbs Up from a Non Malayalee foodie and am sure it will strike more than a chord with the Malayalee with its evergreen authentic touch. I did pick up more than a bottle of pickle from the store and needless to say, I love the taste just hoping that it was a little less oily.
The curtain raiser was held on 8th Jan in St John’s Auditorium, Bangalore and the main event will be held on 3 days starting 29th Jan to 31st Jan, 2016 at the same venue. The tickets are available at Book My Show