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Especially for Onam

Abad Metro is offering Natinpuram food as Onam special. MINU ITTYIPE checks out the traditional cuisine.

A MIDDLE-aged Malayali once said, "You know, fried egg doesn't taste good anymore." "Why?" "Because my wife does not fry it in coconut oil." That's food for thought!

The Malayali has become so obsessed with his health or should we say that she has become so obsessed with his health that she has more or less eliminated coconut oil from the kitchen. She has started cooking avial, theeyal and the other traditional koottans in vegetable oil, which makes a very poor substitute for the good ole thing. Coconut oil adds a distinct flavour, which is absolutely irreplaceable. And the Malayali now harbours a yearning for the real stuff. So how would the Malayali receive the news of a food festival where every dish is cooked in coconut oil? He would be eggcited eh?!!

Abad Metro Hotel on Rajaji Road, Kochi is offering such a fare to brighten this Onam.

The Natinpuram festival -it's so called because of the rustic ambience and the traditional food served. What is really interesting about this festival is the wide variety of dishes on offer at very reasonable rates.

Abad Group's Executive Chef Nandakumar Vyloppilly explains the subtle differences in the dishes from these places. "In some of the dishes of North Malabar, ground coconut and spices are well fried and then added to the fish, meat and vegetables. Theeyal is a popular North Malabari dish, which is made in every Kerala home today. Unfried ground coconut is also added to some of the dishes. They mainly use tomatoes for the tangy flavour. While in Central Travancore Coccum is a major flavouring ingredient for the seafood dishes-the most well known is the meen vevichattu or the red hot fish curry which is an excellent accompaniment for kappa. Further south, mango is used to give the dishes the bite and coconut milk is added. Even in the green gram curry few teaspoons of coconut milk is sprinkled over just before taking it off the fire. And all dishes are cooked in coconut oil but the diner can order it otherwise if he chooses."

On the menu one can choose from tapioca and fish curry, veeshu paratha and chicken roast, appam and stew, beef/fish biriyani, puttu and kadala curry,iddiappam and kheema curry and the combinations can be changed. There are 3 types of pathiris-the plain ones or the fish/meat stuffed pathiris. Erachi puttu, which is layers of, minced beef and rice flour steamed together is Abad's own culinary invention says Vyloppilly. Another of Abad's innovations Malabar Kozhi soup a concoction of chicken stock, spices, coconut milk and rice flour is not recommended for the finicky eater. To top this all try the banana sweet - banana cooked in caramel syrup with coconut shavings which is just yummm...

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