Playing up the pothichoru magic!
Siblings Abhilash and Minu started Ente Pothichoru to spread the goodness of Onattukara-style meals in Kochi
Pothichoru, for every Malayali in the world, is a bundle of nostalgia. Before technology and modernisation kicked in, Kerala’s children used to carry their lunch to schools in plantain leaf bundles. Piping hot rice poured straight into the leaf broils it slightly. The sides are all added to the leaf one by one, and the bundle is then neatly packed. The fragrance and flavour of this pothichoru when you open and savour it later in the day is an unforgettable emotion that unifies every Keralite. Abhilash Mathew, popularly known as Abhilash Marys, had an epiphany about this one evening — why not start delivering pothichoru to those in the city who miss it?
“It was September of 2017. I posted on a Facebook group asking if anyone wants a good pothichoru for tomorrow’s lunch. The next morning, my sister and I started preparing the meals in our home kitchen and delivered them to 17 people. It was a Rs 60 meal with five vegetarian dishes and fish curry and thoran. Back then, neither me nor my sister knew how to cook professionally,” Abhilash says. Then, his venture was known as Thoosanila. He changed the name to Ente Pothichoru in 2019 when he moved it out of his home kitchen.
Minu, his sister, and Abhilash’s aspirations grew with the success of their pothirchoru. The quintessential Onattukara-style (a region that was part of central Kerala during the Marthandavarma reign famous for its cuisine, especially served during the boat race), had more takers than they expected. “We started handling over 100 deliveries daily. I used to deliver around the city on my bike — from Vallarpadam terminal to Shipyard,” he says.
Abhilash, who was a photographer, put his camera down after his wife Marys’ death and started concentrating on his new venture. Soon, he and his sister introduced many varities of pothichoru, starting from veg meals at `60 to special meals worth Rs 300. Fish meals come with fish curry, fish thoran and a fish fry for Rs 120. Chicken meals comprise a roast, fry and ularth with other veg curries for Rs 120. Beef meals come with beef fry and an omelette prepared with grated coconut in Onattukara style and veg sides for Rs 120. “Beef is costlier. So we are not giving many varieties of beef sides,” quips Abhilash.
The recipes belong to their mother. From the omelette to squid and clam dishes and banana flower thoran, everything is authentic. Ente Pothichoru also serves a few rare dishes like drumstick leaves with grated coconut, prawn with snake gourd, papaya with grated coconut and pineapple pachadi. “It is like a home cooked meal. Every side dish is measured for one person to reduce wastage,” Minu says. But to any buyer, each meal from Ente Pothichoru is like a mini buffet.
The scrumptious, but economical feast has caught many eyes over the years, including of celebrities, says Abhilash proudly. But what keeps the duo going, despite the rising fuel and commodity prices, is the love of their loyal customers. “One day I want to serve around 2,000 people. I dream of starting counters for Ente Pothichoru throughout the city — Fort Kochi, Vallarpadam and Kadavanthra. I want my meal to reach every nook and corner of the city daily,” says Abhilash.
The duo is a hit among food lovers all over social media platforms. Many travellers from Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram visit Ente Pothichoru hotel when they pass through Kochi, says the siblings.
To order, contact: 79079 10553, 8014999997