Five must-have delicacies on Cassava’s revamped menu
Kochi Marriott’s chef de cuisine has converted regional fare into gourmet delights
There are a few fine dining establishments that specialise in regional fare. But under the guidance of chef de cuisine Saji Alex, Kochi Marriott’s Cassava outshines them all. Now, the five-star property has given its menu a complete overhaul with a focus on specials from Northern, Central and Southern Kerala.
Truth be told, my only issue with this eatery is its ambience or lack thereof. It’s so poorly lit that you cannot see what’s on your plate. However the generous staff provide a tabletop reading lamp while giving you the menu!
Red hot chilli peppers
This peralan variant of erachi mulagu chathachittathu leans heavily on locally-sourced masala mixtures. The chef sears thin slices of tender veal (seen above) and lets them rest in beef stalk before sautéing it in pepper, garlic and red chilli. Yet the dish isn’t as piquant as it appears. Each delightful morsel provides a sweet aftertaste, primarily due to the usage of ripe tomato purée. `655
A starter I would highly recommend is their chemeen thengakothittathu.Drawing inspiration from the Central Travancore recipes found in his Grandmother’s cookbook, chef Saji prepares the humungous tiger prawns in kokum and ethnic spices before tempering it with shallots. Be sure to scoop up a few fried curry leaves and coconut flakes, before biting down on the succulent crustacean. `655
Usually prepared with kilichundan mambazham for optimal sourness, this delicious meen manga charu, a favourite amongst gourmands who frequent the backwaters, is best paired with fermented rice pan cakes (palappam at `195). Chef Saji uses a melt-in-your-mouth seer fish fillet which is submerged in a coconut milk curry blended with chilli paste and mango slices. `655
Moplah cuisine has always adhered to minimal usage of spices in their abundantly meaty recipes. The
seemingly raw preparation of chutta kozhi chaps revolves around marinated chicken with roasted fennel, crushed green chilly, lime juice and shallots. The dish with roots in Persia exudes a palate-stimulating aroma and can be consumed along with their flaky Malabar paratha, which boasts of less gluten as they use a particular blend of all-purpose flour. `595
This staple mutton dish from Southern Kerala draws heavily from the regional cuisine of Kanyakumari-Nagercoil belt. I suggest that you tear off a piece of gothamb madak paratha (`195)—which resembles a Cheralai-style, coconut milk-flavoured wheat paratha—and dip it into the nadan attirachi curry. The juicy lamb cubes are doused in a mildly-spiced dish which has an onion-tomato-cumin base finished with banana paste.`655
Meal for two `1,800 onwards.