Review: Moplah Food Festival at Ente Keralam





Ummi Abdulla anchors the Moplah Food Festival at Ente Keralam

Ente Keralam, the fine-dine Kerala cuisine restaurant is hosting a distinctive ‘Moplah Food Festival’ till the 28th day of June. The festival is being anchored by Ms. Ummi Abdulla, a pioneer in Moplah cuisine, and it displays some of her best creations. Ms. Abdulla has to her credit 6 books, including Malabar Muslim Cookery also known as ‘The Bible of Moplah Cuisine’.

Moplah refers to the Malayalam speaking Muslim community in Kerala and the word is derived from ‘Mappilai’ meaning ‘bridegroom’ or ‘Maha Pillai’, a person held in high esteem. Moplah cuisine is an integral part of Ramzan and auspicious occasions like weddings in the Moplah community. Though the cuisine is similar to the local Kerala food, the special Moplah flavours distinguishes the cuisine.

Last week, I was invited to be part of the ongoing Moplah food festival at Ente Keralam and it was a delightful experience. For me, this was something new, something beautiful, something that tasted amazingly good. People say ‘love has no language or religion’, I believe that same applies to food. If something has been cooked with passion, from heart it will be loved by anyone and everyone.

We started off with two refreshments, first up was Muthari Sherbet – a summer cooler made with palm sugar, ragi and fresh coconut milk. The next was Lemon Mint cooler – a refreshing drink with the combination of lemon and mint. For the first time I was having this Muthari sherbet and it was a real delight. And for the Lemon Mint cooler, that’s how it should be. This would put some fancy, hyped restaurant to shame.



For starters, up on the table was: Malabar konju parichathu, Cheeman unda, Kozhi varatiyathu, Attiravhi kurumilagittathu and Arikkadukka.

Malabar Konju Parichathu is prawns marinated with spices and deep fried. Ahh! Look at the colour, it looks beautiful. The prawns were perfectly fried and ohh those spices, sits right on top of the prawns and tingles your taste buds.



Cheeman Unda is seasoned shrimps encased in rice flour dumpling steamed and served. This looked really good and I was really excited but was toned down by the taste. It was bland with no exciting flavours, a no no for me.



Kazhi Varatiyathu is boneless shredded pieces of chicken saut√©ed with Kerala spices. This was beautifully cooked and the spices again play an important role here. It wasn’t extraordinary but simple and good enough to give thumbs up.



Attirachi Kurumilagittathu is boneless pieces of mutton tossed with pepper corns. This was a surprise for me. How soft those boneless mutton pieces were and those tiny pepper corns was nothing less than a cherry on a cake. This certainly goes down as one of the many best in my books.



Arikkadukka is a timeless Moplah classic mussels stuffed with seasonal rice mixture and cooked in shell. I have not come across many who like mussels but this my friend is one thing you should definitely try if you are at the Ente Keralam for Moplah Food Festival.



After the delightful starters, time for the ever humble main course.

Up on the table was Nei meen mullagittathu, Malabar prawn curry and Varutharacha Mutton Curry served along with Podi Pathari (thin rice flour breads), Ari Pathari (thick griddles breads made with par boiled rice) and Malabar Paratha.

Nei Meen Mullagittathu is tamarind based seer fish gravy. The fish was perfectly cooked but the taste was tangy, like very tangy. And the gravy was very thin, making it difficult to eat with pathari. It just did not complement the taste.



The Malabar prawn curry was slow cooked in red chilli and coconut gravy, enhanced with aniseed. This was really good, I am a big time prawn lover and this just does justice to my taste with that deadly combination of red chillies and coconut gravy.



The Varutharacha Mutton Curry was cooked in broiled coconut gravy. And again, really surprising. This beats the above two in terms of taste; the mutton compliments the coconut gravy beautifully. Another item on the menu, you just cannot miss out on.



Next up was Malabar Aadu (Mutton) Biriyani. It was exquisitely spiced short grain kaima rice with perfectly cooked mutton. Again, look at the colour, it is so much pleasing to eyes and that aroma of mutton would want you to finish it off really quick. I believe that meat plays a very important role in a biriyani, be it chicken, mutton prawn, fish, mussels or just vegetables. It’s what that holds the entire thing together or else we can just have the rice with some gravy and get away.



And to conclude, there is always some space for desserts. Unnakkai and Mutta Mala were the two desserts for me.

Unnakkai is a cotton pad shaped delicacy made with nendra banana. Now, this is what I would call a very unique dessert, very different from what I have had in many other restaurants. This is right from the roots of Kerala but a tad too sweet. People who loves dessert a level notch sweeter, this is the one you should try.



Mutta Mala is a delicate egg yolk garland served with steamed egg white pudding. Again, a very different dessert on the plate. This one will be light on your tooth and high on taste.




And only when I thought I was done, chef presented a cup a Sulemani Chai and that really surprised me. This is a complimentary item and is given to everyone attending the festival. Needless to say, it was brilliant.




Verdict: 3.5/5

Must Try: Attirachi Kurumilagittathu, Arikkadukka, Varutharacha Mutton Curry, Malabar Aadu (Mutton) Biriyani and Unnakkai.

Where: Ente Keralam, Ulsoor Road

When: Till 28th June 2015 


Suman

Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Foodie, Movie buff, Public Relations. Contributor for The New Indian Express and recently started a news publishing website 'Unkrate'.

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