Vegan wonders in Kerala

Inspired by the flavours of Kerala, Executive Chef Suresh Baabu of the Marriott Hotel, has been experimenting and inventing plant-based dishes with many modern twists and turns.
Suresh Babu - Executive chef of  Marriott Hotel
Suresh Babu - Executive chef of Marriott HotelPhoto | Express

KOCHI: The popularity of vegan food items has been on the rise in Kerala. Many authentic Kerala dishes are vegan. And in Kochi, a chef is creating wonders with vegan cuisine. 

Executive chef Suresh Baabu of the Marriott Hotel in Edapally is a master in the culinary arts, especially vegan food. The Lobby Lounge of the Marriot Hotel offers on-demand vegan food prepared by the chef, who has over 18 years of experience in the culinary industry.

“My focus has always been on creating a memory with food. Every dish that goes out of my kitchen should create a memory for the diners. For me, food is always about memories,” explains Suresh. 

Inspired by the flavours of Kerala, the chef who is an expert in Mediterranean cuisine, has been experimenting and inventing plant-based dishes with many modern twists and turns.

His one such invention is Pazhampori toast, a dish that uses ingredients like vegan sourdough toast, coconut cream, coconut honey, and roasted nuts — a 100 per cent vegan marvel on the plate. 

“The entire idea is to elevate the local flavour of pazham pori (banana fry) with a pinch of international texture. From the dough to the garnishing, everything is plant-based,” he explains.

Pazhampori toast falls into the brunch category, which pairs best with classic Indian chai or even coffee. The dish takes you on a nostalgic trip but provides the crunch and refreshment of something new.  

While diving into the main course, the chef offers the classic kallu appam waffle with beef ularthiyathu.

However, the beef is not actual beef. Though it may sound unbelievable, the dish tastes exactly like meat. From the texture, appearance, or even taste, it would be difficult to differentiate between the plant and the meat dish.

 “I love to experiment and take on challenges. Bringing the exact texture of beef to a plant-based dish was a challenge. The dish is prepared using pea protein and tapioca-soya flour,” he says. The kallu appam batter is prepared like a waffle and served with the dish.

After working in Italy, France and the Middle East, chef Suresh has just returned to Kerala. “I wanted to return after spending the majority of my career in different parts of the world. Kerala was the best option for me, as I was familiar with the cuisines and I love them. The place has some undescribed connection with the Middle East. Also, scope for many inventions,” he smiles.

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