Hey foodies, have you tried Manichettan’s kappa-kanji?

As it approaches its 40th anniversary, Mani’s youthful energy remains undiminished.
Manichettan in front of his shop
Manichettan in front of his shopPhoto | Express

KOCHI : New-gen eateries have been popping up across Kochi by the day. Yet, there are some old, quaint outlets that continue to draw their own set of fans. ‘Chettiyar kada’ aka ‘Manichettante kada’ in Tripunithura is one of them.

Opened in 1985, this humble shack is located near the iconic Hill Palace. Beloved by the residents of Tripunithura, the shop’s charm lies in its simplicity and its star dish, ‘kappa-kanji’ — a comforting tapioca porridge.

The outlet’s owner and master chef Kottakkaparambil P V Mani, 80, has been a longtime resident of Tripunithura. “There weren’t many shops or eateries here in the early ’80s. So I decided to open one; it was sort of an adventure at that time. To this day, however, I am happy about that decision,” he smiles.

The shop opens on all weekdays at 5:30pm and shuts by 8:30pm. As it approaches its 40th anniversary, Mani’s youthful energy remains undiminished. He single-handedly runs the shop, maintaining the same flavours that have captivated customers for four decades.

The signature dish, kappa-kanji, is crafted with a blend of curry leaves, green chilies, ginger, garlic, pepper, and coriander leaves – all simmered with tapioca. “The coconut oil is the magic ingredient,” Manichettan reveals as he stirs the dish.

This hearty porridge, served with hot scrambled eggs, costs Rs 45. The precise balance of ingredients creates a dish that is both flavourful and nostalgic. Having a steaming portion as it drizzles outside is blissful. The feeling makes the trip to Tirpunithura worthwhile.

Another popular item here is the quail eggs bull’s eye, which costs Rs 40. Notably, even the water served along has a special Manichettan touch – it is infused with herbs, such as country borage one day, and ginger the next.

Despite its modest setup, ‘Manichettante kada’ has a loyal following. The shack has a makeshift kitchen, and a few plastic chairs. It can barely fit six people inside. Yet, people queue up to relish a serving of the kappa-kanji.

Manichettan says patrons range from local auto-rickshaw drivers to techies from InfoPark. Driven by curiosity, social media foodies, too, have been visiting the shop of late.

“People line up outside even before I open the shop. Every day, about 100 portions are served. Despite demand, I am not keen to increase the quantity. Two big vessels of porridge a day, that’s been the standard from the beginning. I am happy that customers appreciate the quality; that’s enough for me,” Manichettan proudly says.

“I prefer to do things on my own. My wife, Sarada, and son, Retheesh, assist me when needed.”

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express