Coconut, nenthran pazham, seafood, spices and palada in soup, main course or dessert, chefs reveal what led to the creation of some of their city-inspired dishes

Kuttanadan Meen Vevichathu

Red chillies, shallots and kokum with fish get together and make Kuttanadan meen vevichathu. For the Malayali, especially the Kochiite, no meal is complete without a fish dish. Memories of my mother’s fish curry and my experience in Central Travancore resulted in this recipe. I, however, gave this dish a twist – karimeen instead of other big fish. This dish is one among the fastest moving items on the menu. The dish works well with rice and appam, for lunch or dinner.

Rajesh T.G. (General Manager – Gokulam Park)

Mixed Fruit Sweet Banana Boat Norukku

This luxurious, fruity dessert combines the taste of apple, nenthran pazham, orange and pineapple with the richness of ghee, coconut milk, cashwenuts and raisins. Jaggery and cardamom enhance the flavours of this dessert which melds aspects of Kerala’s pradhaman. Inspiration for the dish came from the local sweet dish nenthrapazham norukku. The sweet aroma of the fruits cooked in thick coconut milk is irresistible and the taste distinct. Kids will relish this nutritional dessert which, I suggest, mothers should try making at home.

Jaffar Ali (Executive Chef – The Gateway Hotel)

Coconut Crusted Neimeen on Chemeen polichathu

Fillet of neimeen soaked in luscious, spiced coconut milk, steamed and crusted with grated tender coconut served on a bed of shrimp polichathu wrapped in spinach garnished with herbs, lemon foam and zest of lemon…a dish inspired not only by Kerala’s flavours and ingredients but also by its indigenous cooking methods. The delicate flavours of Kerala cuisine give it its distinctness. A mix of familiar flavours presented with a dash of modernity. Cooking in Kerala is more than just preparation of food, it is a celebration of its culture as this dish also is.

Ramu Butler (Corporate Chef and F&B Manager – Ramada Cochin Resort)

Crab-Thengapal soup

The idea of the crab-thengapal soup, served at Trilogi, came from mussel soup I made at the Savoy Hotel in London. The soup is made using ingredients found locally – crab meat, curry leaves, coconut milk and spices. A feast for the senses, the soup is more than just a treat for the taste buds. The soup is served covered with a thin sheet of wheat flour dough and baked. The ‘cover’ gets baked crisp, an interesting accompaniment to the soup. Visually too a ‘covered’ soup arouses curiosity. Another reason for keeping the soup covered is to preserve its aroma until it reaches the table. The taste and aroma complement each other and take the dining experience to another level.

Rajeev Menon (Executive Chef – Crowne Plaza)

Raspberry and Palada Cheese Cake

This dish, a fusion of Kerala’s traditional dessert and raspberry, is a balance of ethnic and international cuisines. Palada one of Kochi’s most-loved desserts is fused with raspberry. The fruit is loaded with phyto-nutrients that burn fat. The dish is made by folding palada payasam with the Italian mascarpone cheese, stewed raspberry and fresh cream. The blend of the richness of the best Italian cream cheese and the payasam’s flavour lends the dessert its uniqueness. You can have your palada and your cheesecake too.

Varghese Joy Thoppil (Executive Chef – The Dream Hotel Cochin)

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