From mambazha pulissery to mutton biryani
When TNIE asked politicians, celebrities and social influencers what their favourite dishes were, at first, they were amused.
KOCHI: In some parts of the world, September 9 is observed as ‘I Love Food’ day. It’s a foodie trend that started in 2015. True-blue foodies would agree that there is no love more sincere than the love of food. The wholesomeness and the joy one receives while taking a bite from one’s favourite dish is genuine happiness. It’s not just about eating; speaking about food also can, apparently, be a joyful experience.
When TNIE asked politicians, celebrities and social influencers what their favourite dishes were, at first, they were amused. They laughed. However, eventually, they could not stop gushing about their favourite dishes, despite their busy schedules. That’s the magic of food! Compiled by Mahima Anna Jacob, with inputs from Krishna P S and Ronnie Kuriakose
K R Meera, writer
I love sweets, especially the Bengali ones. Sandesh, rasmalai, and Mysore pak top the list. Among dishes, it’s rice and chammanthi. That spicy chutta coconut chammanthi you make into a ball and along with fried mathi (sardines). I love thoran also. However, chammanthi and fried mathi is especially a must.
M V Govindan, CPM state secretary
I cannot have rice or wheat, as I am diabetic. Usually, my diet is raggi, oats, etc. However, olan from my region Kannur — not the Thiruvithamkoor version, which is thicker and made with cowpeas — is my favourite dish. Ash gourd, plantain and chillies in coconut milk... it’s a bit more spicy than the milder version in south Kerala. Since childhood, I have loved it. Though I eat everything from fish and meat, olan remains my favourite.
Abhilash Tomy, former Navy commander and circumnavigator
One of the things I did on returning to Goa, where I stay, after finishing the Golden Globe Race 2022, was sit down at my favourite restaurant for a Goan fish thali. When in Kerala, it’s home food. I also love popcorn. It makes things beautiful, doesn’t it? It has a psychological impact, too. When you make popcorn at sea, the whole boat smells nice and warm.
Shahi Kabir, filmmaker
I am not a foodie. I don’t have a preference, per se. For some reason, pazhamkanji, curd, pickle, onion, and chilli have always been my comfort food. It makes me feel full and satisfied. While growing up, this was something we ate for breakfast. Even while shooting ‘Ela Veezha Poonchira’, Soubin and I used to savour pazhamkanji.
Suresh Pillai, chef
I can have the Kollam-style coconut-based fish curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner! This variety is not too sour or spicy, The balanced flavour makes it a dish that can be savoured at any time of the day. For this curry, small-sized fish like sardine or mackerel go well. Kozhikode style ‘meen mulakittathu’ is another favourite.
It is hard to pinpoint one food as such, but chicken biryani is one dish that stays close to my heart, especially the one made by our chef Roby. My wife’s biryani is also top-notch! Though I don’t cook, I am a fan of preparations by my wife, mother and Roby.
Divya S Menon, singer
I have a thing for Chinese and Thai cuisine. American chop suey is my favourite food.
Ahaana Krishna, actor
I’m a foodie, so my preferences keep changing. However, creamy butter chicken and butter naan combo is my comfort food. Though the dish is a bit greasy, I savour it the most, especially with the sliced onion pieces and a dash of lime juice.
K V S Haridas, former editor and head of BJP IT/social media cell
I’m a vegetarian and homemade food is what I prefer the most. I love mambazha kootttan, the sour-and-sweet type. Mambazha kootaan, rice, pickle and pappadam is one satisfying combination.
V D Satheesan, leader of opposition
I love mambazha (mango) pulisserry. I usually have very little rice, but if mambazha pulissery is there, I won’t be able to control myself! My mother used to make it with the Chandrakaran mango.
There were plenty of these mangoes in my home. That is the best variety for making pulissery. Since childhood, it has been my weakness. My mother used to keep it in cheena bharani for at least two days.
N S Madhavan, writer
My favourite has to be Thalassery biryani, in which mutton is the most preferred variety. Biryani is special because in India, the preparation of the dish changes from place to place. In every place, the rice used is mostly long-grained. But, in the Thalassery variety, it is the small, pearl-like rice, which makes the dish very light. Also, it is layered, and a lot of aroma and flavour gets captured in the biryani.
K S Chithra, singer
For me it’s kanji. This dish is easy to digest, tasty and makes you full at the same time. The classic combination hot kanji with payar and chammanthi is what I prefer the most.
Sushin Shyam, music director
My go-to food is biryani, be it Hyderabadi, Thalassery or the varieties you get from the local eateries in Fort Kochi. I love plain rice and any type of seafood like kallumakkaya curry. Then, there is a special combination, which was introduced by my father — ghee rice, semi-gravy tomato fry, and chicken fry. I have fond memories associated with it; my father used to buy this whenever we used to
I M Vijayan, former football skipper
The one dish that is my absolute favourite right from childhood is rice, dal, and dried fish. Even during my days spent in Kolkota and Punjab, dal fry made with ghee, and fish was a constant. Wherever I go, I make sure to find a place that serves these dishes. Nothing brings me more joy than munching on this combination, as a kid, even while practicing and going for a game, this combination never changed.
Mridula Warrier, singer
I am a foodie, and whenever I travel to a new place, I try the local cuisine. Though a vegetarian, I just started trying chicken. I love exploring different varieties of dosas, like paneer/mushroom dosa. Also, I love the Malabar vegetarian biryani. Then, Kerala sadya, especially the one prepared by my mother.
Hesham Abdul Wahab, singer and music director
My father’s chicken curry and wife’s biryani are among my favourite picks. However, the combination I love the most is ghee rice, beef and dal. That’s my go-to food. I still remember, during nercha, as a kid, I used to visit the church just to pack home ghee rice and beef served there.
Jeo Baby, filmmaker
Fish curry is my all-time favourite, especially the Kottayam-style one my mother makes with coconut milk and kudampuli. That said, I don’t wish to impose any gender role in cooking. In our house, everyone cooks. I can cook meat well, but when it comes to fish curry, my mother’s style is the best. Whenever I used to shoot near our house, the crew looked forward to having my mother’s fish curry.