Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

A Day of Pothichoru

Over the past few weeks, I have been hearing quite a lot of buzz about this “Pothichoru” by Ms. Swapna Rakesh with people claiming that her’s is the best Pothichoru available in Trivandrum… For those who are unaware, “Pothichoru” is a traditional meal parcel thats very popular in Kerala, especially Trivandrum… Its basically the keralite meal consisting of boiled rice, a spicy coconut chutney, pickles, fried fish, stir fried vegetables (thoran/mezhukkupuratty) and even an omlette in some cases, all wrapped in a slightly toasted banana leaf and then wrapped in a newspaper ๐Ÿ™‚ This was essentially the equivalent of the brown bag school lunch that moms used to prepare for their kids to take when going to school… In the old days, not only kids but also your everyday salarymen and workers also used to carry them for their lunch… It was gone for quite a while as banana leaves got replaced by sterile lunch boxes and now it seems to have come back atleast here in Trivandrum recently and people are buying them for the nostalgia element and also, this particular way of packing the food in the banana leaf gives an aroma of the banana leaf to the food, which you can’t get anywhere else…

So, after quite a while I finally got a chance to try it and so, ordered the Pothichoru from PinStove yesterday… If you have been reading my posts, you would know that my mom is a vegetarian and since Swapna Rakesh didn’t have a vegetarian option for the Pothichoru, I searched in the app and found vegetarian Pothichoru being sold by Ms. Athira J… So, placed the order for both…

Finally, it arrived… The delivery staff of PinStove called me up in advanced and asked if he can deliver both orders together or whether I need the food which was ready, urgently… So, since I agreed on both being delivered together, the delivery was done on time as per the later of the orders…

So, first we’ll talk about the vegetarian Pothochoru… It came with the banana leaf parcel and a small packet to the side… On opening the packet I found that it is a portion of Pulissery, which I poured onto a bowl as shown in the pic… [Please excuse the lower quality of the images as my mom was in too much of a hurry to eat and so couldn’t take anymore pics to replace these]

The contents of the parcel were a portion of boiled rice with a dollop of chammanthi, a dry coconut based chutney, which was flavoured with dried red chillies and roasted spices in the middle, along with quite a sizable portion of boiled Cassava, which is what we call Kappa in one corner while the other three corners were inhabited by a small dollop of pickle, a portion of red spinach stir fried with coconut, shallots and mustard (what we call thoran) and then a portion of long beans (what we call Payar) that was sauted in coconut oil (mezhukkupuratty as we call it)…

Coming to the taste, first off, I found the chammanthi to be incredibly spicy, beyond what I can ever handle, but is now the favourite chammanthi of my mom… Rest of the items were of medium spice level and I could feel the freshness of the ingredients when I tasted them… The traditional flavours which I was looking for was definitely spot on in it… However for my mom, even though she loved everything, she just has got one small complaint… Its that she said she wished the whole thing has bit more tempered with curry leaves and mustard… She felt that that particular flavour was almost missing and hence suggested that doing so would make this meal perfect… Kudos to the chef indeed…

Next up is the Pothichoru by Swapna Rakesh and first off the difference was that this came with 4 small packets along with the parcel… Turns out they were a portion each of Prawn Mango Curry, Cassava(Kappa) and a Pulissery, which again I transfered to a bowl each as shown in the pics… The fourth packet contained a Pappadom and a Chilly Kondaattom…

As you can see, one came with much more items than the vegetarian one… The Prawn Mango curry was a surprise, since even though made with whats known as the curry shrimps, considering how restaurants charge for prawn dishes, I rather expected to see only a fish curry being served with this considering the price… Anyways, the curry was indeed delicious with a good flavour of the raw mango with the curry shrimp… The spice level was medium and so was good for me… Then as I tasted the Cassava, I noticed something different about it compared to what I have been having… This particular one had the flavour of coconut, chillies and garlic in it and the whole thing was seasoned so beautifully that I felt that it can be eaten on its own and doesn’t really need any accompaniment… Apparently it looked like the boiled cassava was mashed with grouned mixture of coconut, chillies and garlic to form a pulpy paste and this goes incredibly well with the Prawn curry that was given… Even my dad agreed that its the best kappa-meen combo he has had… The pulissery, pappadam and the chilly kondattam were ofcourse just like any other ๐Ÿ™‚

Now coming to whats inside the parcel, there was a portion of boiled rice (fit for two people based how we eat here) along with a portion each of Payar Mezhukkupuratty, Cabbage Thoran and Kanava (Squid/Calamari) thoran along with a dollop each of chammanthi, pickle and inji(Ginger) curry along with two pieces of fried fish and an omlette…

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Once again, the taste was simply spot on as far as the traditional flavours go… Compared to the vegetarian one, the chammanthi on this one was not that spicy and was fine for me… The Omelette was soft and fluffy, the fish Neymeen Choora (Tuna Mackerel) as we call it was also cooked really well… Only complaint there is that part of the spice rub on one of the pieces tasted to have been burnt, but otherwise a great piece of fish nonetheless… The kanava thoran was also medium spiced with a great flavour profile with the flavour of coriander seed powder dominating it… The cabbage and long beans thoran seemed freshly made and seasoned nicely… When the whole thing is mixed together with some of that gravy from the prawn curry, it is literally an exposion of flavours in the mouth… So, kudos to this chef as well and I agree with the reviews… This is the best tasting pothichoru option that I have seen so far in Trivandrum…

Btw, here is one thing that we noticed regarding these two pothichoru options… They both had a good rice to curries ratio… I mean, it is no secret that unlike the southerners, we from up at the north have the habbit to eating more ย curries than the rice… I guess you could say that in a meal, we eat the curries with the rice instead of eating the rice with the curries… So, it is an incredibly huge headache for us who are from Thalassery to eat when we get meals as parcel from restaurants… I mean, pretty much all the places seem to be treating sidedishes as if they are made up of gold… A single meal parcel would contain enough rice for all four of us at home with the quantity of the curries being same or less than the quantity of pickle served when you dine at the same restaurant… So, both these pothichoru options pleasantly surprised us and this is why we decided that whenever we want to buy parcel of kerala meals, we’ll go for these pothichoru options from now on… ๐Ÿ™‚ If you haven’t tried these, please do and let me know what you think and if any of you know even better options, please do let me know as well so that I can try them… ๐Ÿ™‚

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