When in Kerala, if you haven’t been to a local toddy shop, I must say that your holiday isn’t complete! Spicy yet delicious local cuisine and palm tree wine are served here. On our way to Kottayam in Kerala, we spotted a mini toddy shop with little huts located away from the road side. Since we were super hungry and wanted to give toddy shop a try, we decided to stop over.
When in Kerala, if you haven’t been to a local toddy shop, I must say that your holiday isn’t complete! If you are on the roads of Kerala, do keep an eye out for black and white sign board with ‘Kallu’ written. Not all shops are safe for the tourists to enter, always look for recommendations in and around the area. If you are around Kottayam, I would say Karimpinkala is one of the best. Spicy yet delicious local cuisine and palm tree wine are served here. We were ravenously hungry and wanted to give the toddy shop a try, we decided to stop over at one of the local places around away from the road side.
We picked our little private seating area and started to enquire about their specialties served. Although the guy who was assisting us had no menu to handover, he was well aware of the dishes served and started reciting them in one shot. We had made up our mind on the safest options and didn’t want to give rabbit or deer or duck a try. The best in chicken he had said was ‘Erachi varutharachathu’ and in fish it was ‘Karimeen pollichathu’ to go along with them we picked ‘Kerala Porotta’ and ‘Kappa’. He took our order and came back in just about 10 minutes with all what we had asked for. He paused a little and asked us if we wanted to try toddy and we said the obvious ‘YES’
Mildly alcoholic beverage made of coconut palm sap, Toddy is naturally sweet in taste. After the sap is collected from the palm trees by attaching clay vessels to the coconut flower bud, it is served to the Toddy shop directly. The shelf life of Toddy is relatively low and the fermentation eventually turns the drink into vinegar.
What about the food?
Just like I mentioned earlier, the food was delicious and spicy, served hot with all the flavours in it’s place. Here’s a quick recpie of the Chicken roasted or Erachi Varutharachathu for you to try.
Chicken – 1 kg
Onion – Medium – 1
Tomato – Medium – 1 – skin peeled
Garlic and Ginger paste – 1.5 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tblspn
Coriander powder – 1 Tblspn
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tspn
Salt to taste
Pepper powder – 1 tspn
Green Chilli – 2
Vinegar – 1 tspn
Fennel seed – 1/2 tspn
Garam masala – 1/2 tspn
Sunflower Oil – 1/2 spoon
Coconut oil – 1/2 spoon
How to prepare?
1) Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces
2) Pour oil and splutter mustard seeds in the cooker
3) Then, pour coconut oil, add onion, ginger garlic paste and turmeric powder – stir it light brown
4) Add sliced tomato and close the cooker with normal lid (do not use the cooker lid yet) for just about 2 minutes
5) Add coriander leaves, chilli powder, chicken masala, coriander powder, salt to taste, pepper powder, fennel seeds, garam masala and stir for yet another 2 minutes
6) Add sliced chicken pieces into this and stir for 2 minutes to mix the masala well with the chicken
7) Close the cooker with normal lid again (do not use the cooker lid yet)
8) After 2-3 minutes open the lid, add vinegar and 1/2 glass of water – stir well again
9) Close the cooker to cook the chicken well
10) Wait for 2-3 whistles and your curry is ready to be garnished with curry leaves/corainder leaves
And tada, it’s ready! This is closer to what you’ll get to make at home.