Want to try 101 Kerala dishes?


It’s a homecoming. After going ‘fusion’ with cuisines from across the world, Kerala is getting back to its roots.

The aroma of the spices, the mild flavour of coconut, the spicy seafood, beef, chicken and duck all laced with a drizzle of coconut oil . these are the memories a Malayalee carries with him as he leaves the shores of his homeland.

The scent of the rains; the taste of the freshly dug-out kappa (tapioca) from the backyard, boiled to perfection and eaten with kandhari (bird’s eye chilli) chutney; chakka (jackfruit), now a super food, cooked as soon as it is plucked; are some of his favourite things and he misses them.

The sense of pride in being a Malayalee helps him create his own little niche wherever he is, but it is never the same. The flavour, the aroma, it’s different. It could be the freshness, could be the soil where the vegetables are grown, could be the spices … it’s just not the same.

This is what Kappa Chakka Kandhari, a food festival set to happen at the Sharjah Expo over the coming weekend, will capitalise on.

Brainchild of three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, Augustine Kurian and John Paul, based in Chennai, India – the concept aims at recreating childhood memories.

“It is not just about the food,” says chef Regi who left his job as chef at the Taj to start the venture. “It’s about the memories behind each dish, memories of mothers cooking it, memories of sharing it with family … this is what makes a dish special, makes one want to try it out again.”

Yes, we could call it a trip down memory lane but the trio prefers to call it a ‘neostalgic’ experience. For them it is not going back in time but bringing back the taste, the feel, to familiarise the younger generation.

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The Kappa Chakka Kandhari – let’s call it KCK – journey began in 2015. Since then successful feasts have been held in Bengaluru, India. The UAE is their second halt.

“When I heard of the brand’s success in India, and being passionate about food, I felt our pleasures and experiences have to be shared with the people in the UAE,” said Merlin Reena of MS Events, which along with Euphoria Events is bringing the festival here.

Chef Regi, Paul and Kurian have traversed the length and breadth of Kerala sampling the rich and varied cuisines cooked by housewives – vegetarian, Mappilai, Syrian Christian, Alleppy, Palghat; so the Sharjah fest will be a feast of all that.

101 dishes, one venue

Fifty chefs are being flown in from India for the three days. The ingredients are as fresh as they come, since they are being brought from the very place they are best known for.

“It is a logistic nightmare,” says chef Regi. “But it is our passion and we will go to any extent to share the experience with the people here. The pleasure will be ours to see the sense of contentment on our visitors’ faces.”

The fest promises to be a feast not just for the palate but for the soul, too. For KCK will be serving Nanma bakshnam, rather food of goodness with a lot of pleasant memories.

Event details
Kappa Chakka Kandhari

February 2, 3 and 4

Hall No 2, Expo Centre Sharjah

Ticket: Dh69 per person

What to expect
101 authentic dishes from Kerala some of which are:

. Pidi with kozhi curry

. Kuzhikuthi chakka

. Duck mappas

. Chenda muriyan

Fresh from Kerala
. Elettaria Cardamom from the western ghats

. Malabar Garbled Pepper from Pulpally, Wyanad

. Kappa from Pala, Kottayam

. Karimeen from Vypin

. Chakka from Kottayam

. Coconut from Alakode



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