19 December 2019

Pothichoru ~ A nostalgic food parcel from God's own country


"Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication" ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Hands down ! That's my life's mantra ,though I may be bit complicated 😈 ,only people close to my "soul" can get me others may be racking their brains and put any label of their choice (mein cheez badi hu mast mast 😈😜)...Anyways,it's not about me that I wanna talk about,it's about a very simple,humble,nostalgic,mouth-watering food combo wrapped in an organic plantain leaf we malayalees call it "POTHICHORU"!! 


Pothichoru is basically a simble food parcel which consists of fluffy boiled rice (especially Kerala rice with brown strips ),thoran/mezhukupuratti (A vegetable stir fry with or without shredded coconut),an omelette and /or a crispy fish fry ,a pickle and chutney/chammanthi (A ball of dry coconut chutney ) packed in a delicately roasted Banana leaf .

Thenga Chamanthi
Now,this sounds like way too homely .However ask a typical Mallu a.k.a Malayali,his/her mouth will be so filled with water that a boat can literally sink and nose may swell like a balloon,eyes popping out and mind in a trance --going back to their childhood days ....That's the ultimate beauty of this food parcel ...It say's "I am naadan/ true Keralite !"

Ladies finger stir fry
Long time ago,in Kerala all school goers,college goers,office goers,travellers used to pack an all-in-one homely meal wrapped in the simple,humble,natural,healthy lightly toasted Banana leaf ,vaazha illa in Malayalam.That waft from the lightly toasted banana leaf was suffice to make it simply lip smacking and the taste out of this world STILL right from your humble home .No steel,silver,bronze,gold or diamond lunck box would replace it by appearance or by taste . Magic!


I was raised in North India but deep down since I am equally a Mallu ,I have my fair share of memory - I did my graduation/B.Com in Kerala and a few friends especially my best friend used to bring pothichoru as lunch .The moment she used to take her lunch of the day out ,that would be my Tinggg-tong moment.I wonder how she tolerated me as I used to attack on her lunch as if I was starving since years.Then happily-ever-after we shared it with lots of gossips ,her crush (ha haha) etc etc ...#Yaadien/ormagall/memories


Besides,whenever,we used to visit grand-parents in Kerala during vacation,amma would pack the meal of the entire day 1 especially (it took 3 days to reach Kerala by Train for us) just like pothichoru for everyone with different food items.That pothichoru was enough to make the long ride fun and kinda homely ..(Damn,ye meri aankhein bhari bhari /teary eyed !) ...

So,yeah almost every Mallu has a heart-touching story/memory when it comes to Pothichoru .


However,nowadays,I believe it is changing .People have better options that matches our lifestyle  - "Fast foods" ,have no time to cook or it is way too pazhanjan/like an antique /thing from the past or irrelevant and easily available at hotels/restaurants .Yep,nowadays,this simple Kerala thali which is infact the food combos served on a Banana leaf is a rave in small to big restaurants and people would rather go for this meal than any other food like Biryani ,fried rice etc . They are quite affordable and worth every penny spent . Every Mallu's weakness it is !!!

Even I don't make pothichoru but I don't mind making one anytime,my favourite .So,here is my Pothichoru and this is how I make pothichoru at home .


NOW,where do I start from ?

Kerala Matta Rice


Kerala Matta rice - 1 cup

Water - 3 cups

Pressure cooker

Method :
1.Rinse the raw rice 2 -3 times.
2.Add the rice and water in a pressure cooker ,give a stir.
3.Pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles (high-low flame) or until rice is well cooked.
4.Put off the cooker.
5.Let the cooker cool down a bit and all pressure gone.
6.Open the cooker carefully and the rice should look fluffy and cooked.
7.Ready 😊

Vendakka mezhukupuratti/Ladies finger stir fry

Vendakka/Ladies finger ,chopped - 2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
Red chili powder - 1 Tsp
Coconut oil - 1-4 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Curry leaves,a few
Salt to taste

Method :
1.Wash the ladies fingers properly under water.
2.Pat them dry with a clean cloth or tissue paper to prevent them from sticking later while frying.
3.Chop the ladies fingers .
4.Heat a pan with oil.
5.Splutter a few mustard seeds .
6. Add the chopped ladies finger .
7.Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and curry leaves .
8.Keep on sautΓ©ing until the ladies finger gets almost crispy .
9. Serve hot.
10.Ready 😊

Thenga chammanthi

Coconut,grated - 1-2 cups
Shallots,chopped - 2-3 Nos.
Red chili - 2-3 Nos.
Curry leaves - 1-2 Nos.(optional for taste)
Red chili powder - 1 Tsp (optional for color and flavor)
Tamarind - A small gooseberry shape 
Salt as needed
Little water as needed

1. For authentic naadan taste,use ammikallu :D/grindstone in Malayalam and grind everything into a smooth paste .
2.Otherwise ,put everything into a mixer jar and grind everything into a smooth paste.

Fish fry

Any fish,I used Pomfret ,cleaned and cut into fillets - 4-5 Nos.
Red chili powder - 1 Tsp
Coriander powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4th Tsp
Fennel Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 Tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 Tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaf,as needed
Little water ,as needed
Coconut oil - to fry

1.Take a bowl and add all the spices and water .
2.Make a thick paste.
3.Smear this paste on all fish pieces.
4.Keep them aside for 10-30 minutes so that all flavor sets into the fish pieces.
5.Heat a pan with oil and fry the fish pieces until both sides are well-fried.
6.Serve hot.😊

Egg Omelette recipe here

Any pickle of your choice

Fresh Banana leaf cut into arm-length and lightly toasted over low flame .

FINALLY,take the banana leaf ,put cooked rice at the center .

 * Either cut small banana leaf and lightly toast them over fire and wrap all the food above
individually and keep them all-around the rice.
* Or,simply place each food mentioned above all around the rice .
*Then wrap the banana leaf and place it on a newspaper and tie it with a thread .
* Pothichoru is ready !!
* Enjoy (the Banana leaf induced flavor into ) the food after a few hours .

Watch this pothichoru video :


It's that SIMPLE!!

It's not the food that makes this pothichoru yummy,it's that simple toasted Banana leaf that takes this food items to next level and that only a malayalee will understand ....(Alleyyy ?)