Breakfast dishes from Kerala popular at Delhi food fest

Food Culture

Delicious breakfast dishes like Palappam, Puttu and Porotta, served both with ‘chicken stew’ and ‘vegetable stew’, quite common in most Kerala households attracted crowds at a recent festival of street food.

Two teams of street vendors prepared exotic food from the southern state during the four-day National Street Food Festival that concluded here last evening.

The event, organised by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) saw participation by over 800 street vendors from 25 different states.

“I started making Appams and Palappams sometimes on a daily basis after coming to Delhi with my wife who is employed as a nurse at a private hospital here. Very soon I began to receive many orders from Malayalees and others,” says Rony Mathew who owns an outlet in central Delhi.

Palappam prepared from mixing rice flour, coconut milk, yeast and milk. The batter is poured a special pan and immediately turned and tilted in a circle.

“Initially I used to struggle to make it but over a period of three years have perfected the technique and now it turns out quite well,”says Rony.

The vegetable stew usually served with the dish is not common in north India. Preparations involve boiling a mix of chopped vegetables like carrot, potato, green peas, onion, cauliflower and adding a dash of coconut oil. A masala of crushed whole black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom is added to the boiling mixture and later milk and coconut milk.

Chicken stew, however, is made using chicken onion, green chilly ginger, garlic, potato, carrot, cinnamon cardamom, cloves, whole pepper, fennel seeds, coconut milk cashew paste, coconut oil and curry leaves.

“I recall during my childhood, we used to have these every Sunday. But nowadays customers order it for for birthday parties and other occasions,” says the vendor.

Puttu, one of the most popular traditional breakfast dish of Kerala prepared with rice flour and coconut was available with kadala curry or black chickpea curry.

The traditional Malabar Dum Chicken biriyani, considered a rival to the Hyderabadi chicken biriyani down south also seemed to attract people at the festival.

Known for its spicy aroma, the dish which has its origin in the Mughal era is a rice-based dish blended with spices and chicken. Colloquially it goes by the name Kerala biriyani.

“We have tried to bring out the original taste of Kerala to the people here in Delhi,” says Shailaja Mundur, a member of Kudumbashree, a self-help women’s group in Kerala, who participated in the event.

“This is the seventh time we are attending this food festival and we were always happy to be part of it,” says Mundur, who is part of a visiting seven-member group from Palakkad, Kerala.

The scrumptious Kerala Porotta, prepared from maida or allpurpose flour owes it origins to the Gulf countries to the south of India, was another popular dish at Mundur’s stall.

Similar to the Laccha Parantha made in north India, the Porotta also called parotta or barotta is made by beating the dough, flour, eggs and oil into thin layers which is then formed into a round spiral. The ball is rolled flat and roasted. The porotta is usually accompanied with vegetarian kurma or non veg dishes.

“I work as a cook in a hotel in Palakkad. I usually make porotta in the hotel where I work," says Abdul Kader who dished out the porottas.

“The food prepared by the Kerala stall is having a great demand,” says Aamir Hussain, a co-ordinator in charge of the Kerala stall.

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