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Food @ Trivandrum

Poomaram: Chatti Choru

I have been a fan of the Chatti Choru concept of having the Kerala Meals served in the clay pot used to cook the Fish and it has been a long time since I had it last time and my favourite place for the same shut down… So, it was indeed a very pleasant surprise when I found Chatti Choru in the menu of the Poomaram restaurant while looking to buy lunch this time… Obviously, I had to try and here we are πŸ™‚

However, there is one problem with Chatti Choru options available in restaurants which is that its practically difficult for them to stay true to the Chatti Choru concept which is basically a cook and serve in the pot concept which in the case of the Kerala Meals is traditionally the practice of using the clay pot that was used to cook the Fish Curry as the serving dish… Basically how its supposed to be done is that we first cook the Fish Curry in the pot and traditionally the Kerala Fish curries are best when served the next day and the curry has enough shelf life for the same too… So, basically we take the pot with the remains of the Fish Curry from previous night and then add fresh Rice and mix… After that we top it off with the other side dishes and serve… However, this is impossible as regulations prohibit restaurants from serving anything thats not fresh… So, with that, I was hoping that they could at-least cook the Fish Curry like how restaurants do to order in the pot and then when its done, mix in the rice and then top with the other side dishes and serve…. But sadly, none of the restaurants do that nowadays… My favourite place for Chatti Choru that closed down did do it like that for some time… But even they ended up stopping cause of the process being a bottleneck as more orders come in…. Instead what restaurants do nowadays is to simply use the clay pot to serve the precooked Kerala Meals and based on how things looked in the pics below, it looks like that is the case here as well…

So, in the menu at Poomaram, they have two versions of the Chatti Choru, namely the Fish Chatti Choru and the Chicken Chatti Choru… Since I prefer seafood with Kerala Meals, I went for the Fish Chatti Choru and the pics here show how it arrived… I must confess however that I was skeptical about this… Cause I have never seen any place offering Chatti Choru as a takeaway or home delivery before cause obviously the whole concept is built around the clay pot and hence have only seen this being offered to dine in… So, was wondering how it will be when in a takeaway and hence was indeed surprised to see it arrive along with the clay pot itself… Usually when I buy meals like this, the Fish Fry that it comes with is usually too small in size for me and hence it is with that memory that I ordered for an extra portion of Fish Fry ie, their Ayala Fry…

Now, let’s talk about the Chatti Choru…. As can be seen in the pics, it consists of Rice, Kappa, Fish Curry, Thoran, Kootu Curry, Chammanthy, Fish Fry and an Omelette inside the Chatti… Along with them, there was also a packets containing a portion each of Sambar, Pulissery and I first thought this might be Rasam by how the packet looked but turns out it was some extra Fish Curry Gravy…

Coming to the taste, first of all, Rice was perfectly cooked… The Kappa (Tapioca / Cassava) was still crunchy and seasoned just right and the Fish Curry poured over it was the Kottayam style red Fish Curry made using Red Chilly powder based gravy… The Fish used felt like a fresh water fish and reminded me of the Fresh Water Snapper… The combination of the Fish Curry with the Kappa and Rice felt very nice indeed… The Thoran was made up of Cabbage and had Green Gram in it along with Mustard Seeds, Curry Leaves and Coconut and was seasoned with Turmeric, Chilly Powder and Salt and had well balanced flavours…

The Kootu Curry was the kind that we see served along with meals and especially Sadya in Travancore areas and this particular version was made using Bottle Gourd mainly and if I am not mistaken also had Brinjal and was generously seasoned with the Garam Masala… The Chammanthy made with Coconut and the pickle made of Lime were just like any other that we see served with Kerala Meals like this… The same can be said about the Omelette which was made in the Kerala style with Onions, Green Chillies and Ginger… The Fish Fry was made of the Chempalli (Fresh Water Red Snapper) Fish and it was seasoned with the basic spices and was cooked perfectly as in crispy skin and incredibly soft and fluffy flesh inside…

Lastly there were the three accompanying liquid curries as seen in the pics above… The Sambar compared to the last time I had Kerala Meals from this place, felt a bit more watery and hardly had much vegetables… But indeed the flavours were there and hence was nice to have mixed with the rice… The Fish Curry Gravy was pretty much the gravy of the same Fish Curry we talked about above which is good cause most restaurants tend to give a fake gravy when giving like this… The Pulissery was to my liking too, seasoned just right and had the nice flavour of the Yogurt along with the Turmeric, Coconut Oil and Mustard seeds; and if I am not entirely mistaken felt the hint of Pineapple in it though I couldn’t get any pieces… I just loved this one and ended up drinking most of it on its own like a soup πŸ™‚

Last but not the least, was the additional Fish Fry that I got… It was basically quite a sizeable Ayala (Mackerel) Fish that was fried just like how the Chempalli was and was cooked as well as it too, with the crispy skin and soft and fluffy flesh inside, though compared to the Chempalli, I felt that this one they fried a little too long ie by a few seconds… Can’t complain about the taste in any way as the Fish was fresh and the seasoning was spot on… This is a fish I tend to have whenever I buy Fish Fry for having at home and Poomaram is one of my favourite places to get it delivered home… πŸ™‚

That’s it for now… I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this meal… I for one am hoping to be able to try the Chicken version soon or at-least the same Fish version again… Also, regarding the re-use of that clay pot, I guess, I will be able to find out once my mom comes back home takes a crack at it… πŸ˜› In the meantime, feel free to check this Chatti Choru out yourselves and let me know about your experience in the comments section below… Until next time πŸ™‚

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