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Malabar food at its best

Warm ambience

If you like authentic Malabar food, then you should head straight to ‘Maria Mess’ in OMBR Layout, Banaswadi.

The small eatery, which is aesthetically done, was started by Ibrahim and his wife Pramila, who is a good cook, a few years ago.

The couple thought of opening ‘Maria Mess’ with the idea of putting her skills to good use. But it is not just her culinary skills that have made the mess endearing for over five years to its customers.

   The couple’s warmth and the quietness of the place is what is behind the never-ending stream of people walking in and take away a parcel or two.

Ibrahim confesses that the only way to fight tough competition is by not compromising on taste and delivering quick service. The joint serves authentic Malabar cuisine in addition to a range of vegetarian dishes such as appam and kadala curry, puttu and kadala, kappa and idiappam, also called nool appam, pathiri and nayi pathiri.

The non-vegetarian spread includes chicken curry in Malabar style, fish curry in Kerala style, kallumakai spiced with lots of coconut and curry leaves, ‘pepper chicken’ and ‘roast chicken’ to mention a few. Pramila says that the way the food is cooked  makes all the difference.

“In ‘chicken curry’, the spices and grated coconut are first fried and later mixed together. The chicken is added on only later. The red chillies give the dish a spicy flavour,” explains Pramila. The pepper chicken is sauteed in onions, green chillies and is cooked only in pepper with lots of curry leaves.

“The crab and prawns are fast-moving dishes. Nothing is cooked and kept. We buy meat and fish fresh every morning and it is cooked only when an order is placed,” says Ibrahim. Boiled rice is stuffed with kallumakai, and then steamed. It is also pickled.

There are also tempting variations in biryani. There’s the fish biryani,  prawns biryani, in addition to egg and chicken biryani. Another speciality is the kappa biryani, where small pieces of meat are mixed with tapioca.

The regulars who come here say that there’s a homely feeling about the place and the food, they say, is delicious. Rajmohan, an employee with IBM, says the food is cooked in true Malabar style. “It’s quite like what is made back home. The food is served fresh and I usually come here only for biryani and I’ve tried all its variations,” he says.

Shahidharan, a student, says the food here is much better than what is served at his paying guest accommodation. “I don’t miss home food, thanks to places like this one. It is tasty and reasonable too,” he says.

‘Maria Mess’ is located in JSR building, 3rd Main Road, 4th cross, 60 Street Road, OMBR Layout, Chikka Banaswadi. For details call 9738360128.

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