Taking note of our search for some popular and authentic Malabari dishes in the city of Thalassery, Kerala, our gracious host Shihad from Kannur Heritage Foundation led us to three well known places that entails spectacular culinary glory. What followed was a gratifying day full of delish food and great company.
The first place was Rara Avis on AVK Road. On an earlier visit to this place, Anubhav had tried a phenomenal biryani, so this time on Shihad's recommendation, he opted for the heavy sounding Pentagon Chicken which is also a best seller over there. Since the place was bustling with diners we couldn't get in touch with owners to ascertain the reason behind this unique name that coincides with the name of US Military's Headquarter. This tempting dish was essentially fried chicken tossed in a tomato based sauce and nuts. Look wise one might confused it with chilli chicken but in taste it was very different from it.
The second stop was Uppamante Chaayakada, a small and local-favourite family-run shop for snacks and short eats. The first name means grandmother in Malayalam so the place boasts of traditional dishes passed down from grandmothers. They also do catering in weddings and other occasions. Spearheaded by the talented homechef Raseena Ji, this humble eatery is an inspiring enterprise that shows how womenfolk are evolving as food entrepreneurs. Daily, Raseena Ji and her small women centric team makes small batches of snacks which goes up for sale at the counter in the front part of the house that they operate from. After witnessing the preparation of a few snacks in the kitchen we sat down to taste an assorted platter with Shihad, Raseena Ji and co owners Naseer Babu and Abdul Quadir. The platter included kallummakkaya fry, chemmeen masala unda, petti pathiri, erachi pathiri, bread nirachathu, chicken cutlet and unnakaya. Just like any freshly prepared home stuffs over here, the flavours were subtle, well balanced and satisfying.
The third stop of this gastronomic tour was the almost 150 years old ancestral house turned homestay in Palissery named Aiysha Manzil. We were there to savour a wholesome traditional Malabari dinner prepared by our wonderful hostesses Sheeba and Soniya. This heritage homestay overlooking the magnificent Arabian Sea is a perfect place to unwind and experience the traditional hospitality and culture of Kerala. It is adorned with old furniture and heritage antiques and equipped with modern amenities, delicious traditional home cooked food and swimming pool. Unfortunately we couldn't meet the owners as they were caught up in some engagements. After preparing puttu and veg stew in the kitchen along with the lovely ladies, we sat down to enjoy the meal that included puttu, veg stew, meen curry, rice, kadala curry and cauliflower thoran. We thoroughly enjoyed the wholesome meal in such a calm and tranquil setting and such gracious company.
Overall it was a very gratifying day in Thalassery, all thanks to our wonderful hosts Shihad, Naseer Babu, Raseena Ji, Abdul Quadir, Sheeba and Soniya. Special thanks to Biju Aravind from Explore Tellicherry for helping us with the experience at Aiysha Manzil.
Do check out the following links for an immersive tour of Thalassery & Kannur: