In Chennai’s Anna Nagar, find a short cut to Kerala’s tastiest snacks

A street in Anna Nagar wraps Malayalees in the familiar flavours of home, moving beyond banana chips and coconut oil cliches

Updated - February 23, 2023 04:41 pm IST

Published - February 16, 2023 09:08 pm IST

Popular traditional snacks at Little Kerala Traditional Snacks

Popular traditional snacks at Little Kerala Traditional Snacks | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Little Kerala

With the aroma of sizzling pazhampori, plates of crisp bondas, and tapioca in the deep freezer— Little Kerala brings Malayalis in Anna Nagar an authentic slice of home.

This newly launched store has quickly gained popularity thanks to their cleverly curated blend of packed and freshly made food from Kerala. Besides the ubiquitous banana chips, there are other snacks such as sweetchuruttus, jackfruit chips and mixture, all priced between ₹40 to ₹80.

Little Kerala serves traditional dishes such as ela ada (sweet jaggery-filled rice pancakes steamed in banana leaves), sugiyan (made with green gram, jaggery and coconut), kozhukattai (rice flour based dumplings), nei appam (a snack made with rice flour, jaggery, coconut and fried in ghee) and bondas. Made from a central kitchen nearby, they are available everyday from 11am until stocks last.

We try freshly fried pazhampori, sweet ripe bananas encased in a crisp batter, as we browse.

 Little Kerala stocks Kerala snacks, pickles and condiments.

Little Kerala stocks Kerala snacks, pickles and condiments. | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Proprietor Abraham Eapen, a Malayalee born and raised in Chennai, says he worked in the garment manufacturing sector for over two decades before venturing into the food business. There are a large number of Keralites settled in the area, thanks to which he has a large and expanding clientele, he says. .

 Vattayappam at Little Kerala

Vattayappam at Little Kerala | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Little Kerala is known for its collection of pickles including the kannimanga achar (tender mango pickel), veluthulli achar (garlic pickle)and lime pickle. Abraham says that the most sought-after item by his customers is his Kerala prawn pickle.

 Pazhampori

Pazhampori | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Abraham also stocks the popular Milma ready-to-drink palada pradhaman (rice flour, milk and jaggery based sweet preparation) in tin cans and flavored milk varieties. Another fast moving product is his ready-to-use puttu powder including ones made of ragi, multigrain and red rice.

Sukiyan

Sukiyan | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Fans of Kottayam-based baker Omana Paul will find her rich plum cakes here but make sure to pre-book them as they tend to fly off the shelves. “There is also a constant demand for vattayappam (a steamed rice cake made with fermented rice batter) which we also source from Omana Paul. It is often regarded as one of the finest teatime snacks,” he says.

@Little Kerala, AG 73, River View Colony, Shanthi Colony, Anna Nagar. Phone 9884111333

New Kerala Hot Chips

There are chips, and then there are New Kerala’s ‘hot chips’. This 22 year-old shop in Shanthi Colony, is popular for its wide range of freshly made chips, with banana being the best seller. One can choose from a variety including plantain, jackfruit, potato, beetroot, carrot, yam, tapioca, and bitter gourd.

Flavoured banana chips

Flavoured banana chips

S Pugalendhi, who runs the space, says he gets new clients every day as they are drawn in by the aroma, which envelopes the street. He specifies that his nendhram, jackfruit and pazham (ripe nendhram) chips are fried in coconut oil for that unmistakable fresh-from-Kerala flavour.

Pugalendhi’s father, Suppiah founded the store in 2000 after he had moved to Chennai from Palakkad, Kerala. “Probably my father understood the potential for the freshly made live counter for making chips,” says Pugalendhi. After he took over in 2008, he also started stocking branded pickles and condiments from Kerala.

The store boasts a snack counter with unni appam, thattai, murukku, groundnut mixtures, and coconut burfi, along with other items such as tinned ada pradhaman. Except for chips that are made fresh at the store, all other snacks are sourced from within Chennai and from Kerala.

@New Kerala Hot Chips, A.H.53, Shanthi Colony, Anna Nagar. Phone 9962041515

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