Thursday, November 5, 2009
Contradictory food customs in Kerala, India – Cochin Vs Alleppy
Today, I did not prepare any lunch since I got an invitation from Divya for attending her marriage in Tripunithura. Food is an important part of life no matter whether you live in Kerala or Maharashtra. I wrote a post on customs in kerala, a few days ago and my opinions and questions on the topic. I got some opinions on the topic but I am still not convinced. This post is also intended to introduce you to the food customs followed within different districts in Kerala. A proper usage would be the differences in food between Cochin and Alleppy.
Few days ago Sunil gave us a party where he invested a lot on the food. We ate in a hotel attached bar that serves good north Indian food. I am fond of paratha, especially aloo ka paratha so I keep visiting this hotel. We had a heavy stuffed food and left the hotel deciding we will never invest on Parties regardless of who spends the money.
We reached the Auditorium late and the marriage was over. We met Divya, wished the couples and decided to have the food. Dining rooms were filled with people and we decided to join the next batch. We knew it will take 30 minutes for the next batch to try their luck and then continued the normal Joke-sharing ceremony. Soon the rooms were empty and we decided to have food. The food was served on plantain leaves.
My mother spent her life from childhood until marriage in Alleppy and I often attend the marriages in that locality. I never leave any marriage due to my love for payasam(porridge). I would like to introduce the food customs followed in Cochin and Alleppy which are entirely different.
Food customs followed in Alleppy/ Alapuzha
Alleppy better known as Alapuzha is 1 hour journey from Cochin. Though the distance is not long but the customs are different, taste is different and people are different. Marriages in Alleppy serve food with different customs where the food has to be consumed in versions.
The feast starts with parippu( Daal curry) and rice where pappadam(pappad) has to be smashed along with it and consumed. The person who serves the food ask each one about his requirement of ghee which is poured on parippu curry. The combination of rice, pappadam and parippu with ghee is delicious and mouth-watering.
The next step is to use sambar(curry with a combination of vegetables) for the remaining rice and consume it with the other side dishes served on the plantain leaf. The other side dishes include kalan, olan, thoran, aviyal, pickles(mango and leamon achar), banana chips, sharkaravarutty, kichadi, pachadi etc. A portion of rice is kept aside for last process.
The third step is to have porridge. The different types of porridge served in alleppy include pradhaman(porridge), kadala payasam(daal porridge), kadachakya payasam(pinapple payasam/ porridge), semiya payasam(vermicelli porridge) etc. You should use banana along with the porridge. It helps easy intake and reduce the sweetness. Mango pickles(manga achar) are used to reduce the sweetness from pradhaman and narangya achar(leamon pickles) help reduce sweetness of vermicelli porridge.
The last step is to have remaining rice with kaplisheri(kalan + pulisheri)/ moorucurry. You can consume all the remaining side dishes to make the plantain leaf green and clear. People also prefer plain mooru after the final clean affair with plantain leaf.
Food customs followed in Cochin/ Ernakulam
Ernakulam food customs are entirely different. They do not follow any rules and are free for usage. In Cochin parippu curry is served as a side dish and sadya starts with sambhar and rice. You can use pappadam with rice or in pieces one after another, people in Cochin never mind.
The side dishes in Cochin include kalan, thoran, aviyal, pachadi(sweet dish different than alleppy pachadi), ginger curry, achar(pickles including mango and leamon), banana chips, etc.
Second step in Cochin is eating porridge. Here porridge includes pal ada and godambu payasam. You do not have a support for banana in each marriage so pickles are your partners.
The last step is having food using Rasam( a curry with lot of water).
As you can see the food customs in Cochin and Alleppy are entirely different. I have only compared two districts; the customs change as you keep moving far. My policy is to mould according to each custom and fill your stomach with perfect satisfaction.