Snack ‘em and carry on

Evenings wouldn’t be complete without a cup of tea and a plate of some hot snacks.

author_img Mahima Anna Jacob Published :  20th August 2022 12:40 PM   |   Published :   |  20th August 2022 12:40 PM
favourite spots of foodies

favourite spots of foodies

Evenings wouldn’t be complete without a cup of tea and a plate of some hot snacks. Parippu vada, sukhiyan, baji, uzhunnu vada, bonda and pazhampori...the list of Malayalis’ beloved snacks just goes on and on. TNIE reporter Mahima Anna Jacob explores some of the best and favourite spots of foodies in town. 

‘Luv’ is all we need
While doing BCA, Luvin knew that he wasn’t ready for a 9 to 5 job. The youngster had plans to start something on his own. Zeroing down on several options Luvin now runs a business that focuses exclusively on freshly-fried cutlets. “I started with a tea stall. It was my mother, Jaya Sabu, who suggested the idea of selling cutlets. Her cutlets are honestly an out-of-the-world experience. I have been selling my mother’s cutlets for the past two years,” says the 24-year-old.  

Luvin now sells hot fried cutlets in a food truck set up in Kakkanad. “I was hesitant selling cutlets at first considering the current food market. However, people started buying around six of them at one go. That gave me confidence,” says Luvin.  But what’s so special about these small-sized snacks? “Though it is deep fried, the cutlets won’t have much oil and it’s super crispy,” says Luvin. In addition to his mother’s tips, Luvin’s research now has brought almost 20 recipes of cutlets, including, paneer tangy, Asian beef, Italian chicken cheese, prawns, and more. These crispy delights are available in varied shapes as well. 

Just like old times 
Over the years, the bustling broadway has changed quite a lot. However, the Bharath Coffee House near the sidewalk remains the same. Since 1956, the space has witnessed drastic changes happening on Broadway. But never once did the coffee house decide to give the quaint space a makeover. The British architecture and big walls with black and white images of Ernakulam Broadway of the yore all make BCH a special place in the hearts of every Kochiite. Started by Gopalakrishnan Rao, BCH is now being run by his sons, Muraleedharan and Haridas.

“We haven’t made any drastic change to the menu and made sure to retain those food items that are native to Kerala,” says Muraleedharan. The evening snack menu too hasn’t changed. Neatly stacked in a glass-lit almirah are pazham pori, uzhunnu vada and sukhiyan. However, one of the main items for which people travel distances is not kept on display-the iconic veg cutlets. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with one bite, the beetroot-filled cutlet will entice your taste buds. “We serve the cutlets based on orders. Some people come from other places just to have our cutlets. There have been instances of people leaving with a heavy heart if cutlets are unavailable,” says Muraleedharan.

Down the memory lane
The sweet smell of pazhampori (banana fritters), delectable egg baji, and bread toast from the ‘Kanjana Milma’ shop near T D Road would make one want to stop and grab a bite immediately. Their day couldn’t get any better than those savoury snacks with a cup of hot tea. It’s been almost 40 years since K Babu has been serving tasty snacks to Kochiites. Located on T D Road, the place holds nostalgia for many students in the city. “I’ve been making snacks since I was 13 years old. I used to work at a small shop opposite this shop. I started this shop when I turned 24,” he says.

What started as a small shack has now turned out to be one of the most famous tea shops in Kochi. Earlier it was his wife Kanjana who used to make the shop’s famous savouries. However, for the past 22 years, Babu has been managing the shop all by himself after his wife met with a tragic accident. “She has been at home since then. Half of what I earn here is spent on her medicines,” says Babu. Though the shop has stacks of bread toast, undampori, bonda, and ulli vada, it’s the crispy pazham pori and vegetable-filled egg baji the most popular items here. Everything costs just Rs 10.

24-hour snack haven
Maheshwari’s little tea store in Vyttila is something of an addiction for the people nearby. “We frequently prepare each item throughout the day. If we make more at a time, what if they get wasted,” says Maheshwari. This modest-looking tea shop is located in a corner down the Vyttila flyover. Even during a scorching hot afternoon, one can find a queue of customers here munching on pazham pori and sukhiyan. Maheshwari and her husband Murugan have been running the small outlet for the past ten years. From 9am to 10pm Maheshwari handles the business, afterwards, Murugan takes over. “We can’t afford to keep staff. So we both are working hard to lead a happy life,” says Maheshwari.

Malabari delights
Hoja Mukku in Alibaba comes with the goodness of Thalassery. Kaipola, mutta nirachath, unnakaaya, pazham nirachath and elanchi have been ruling the taste buds of Kochiites for some time now. “Other evening snacks are available in abundance everywhere. Authentic Thalassery snacks are seldom found in Kochi. So, each special snack here has a lot of takers,” says Pharvees P, incharge of Alibaba & 41 Dishes, Snacks are cooked in two separate batches here.

Road to success
Twenty-six-year-old Essekku Muthu runs the Sree Gopika Veg Restaurant in the city. Not one, but all three of them are famous for their evening snacks. Essekku and his parents came to the city from Tirunelveli decades ago. First, they did odd jobs to make their ends meet. In 2010, his father Paramasivan and his mother Maariyamma started a makeshift tea stall. That is how his trysts with snacks began.  Following the recipes of Maariyamma, the outlet in Ponnurunni prepares more than 20 varieties of evening munchies.

In the morning, a batch of sukhiyan, parippu vada and uzhunnu vada is made. And in the evening, there’s a steady flow of people for their pazhampori, mulaku baji, ila ada, kozhukatta and more. “Of the lot, our uzhunnu vada is the show stealer. Unlike making the batter thick we add some amount of water to loosen it out,” he says. What goes well with these items? It’s a cup of hot steaming tea, made with fresh milk. “The milk comes from our farm,” he adds.

Traditional treats
In Kerala households, grandmothers usually make the 4 pm snacks. With a steaming hot cup of tea, a bite of sweet achappam or churuttu is a go-to evening munchy for many. That’s why Ammachi’s Palaharam is so famous in Kerala households. The wholesale shop has been running for the past 10 years in Ernakulam. The business is run by brothers, Jacob Mathew and Shanthy Mathew. “Our father, late Kuruvilla T Mathew, ran a provisional cum bakery store in Ranni. So when we grew up, we continued the same line of business,” says Jacob. The best seller items at the store are the famous Kottayam churuttu and achappams. “Unlike the round-shaped ones, our achappams are square-shaped. In one packet there will be 27 of them and it costs just D 55. An entire family can munch on this light sweet flavour, perfect for those who prefer low-sugar snacks in the evening,” adds Jacob.