‘Thaalum thakarem moomasam/ chakkem maangem moomasam/ chenem chembum moomasam’ goes a popular ditty outlining the dietary habits of Malayalis long before fast food joints started mushrooming in the state. It means that one should stick to a diet of thaal and thakara, jackfruit and mango and finally yam and colocasia for three months each in a year.
‘Thenvarikka Fest’ attempts to revive these indigenous tastes that have long since vanished from the Malayali kitchens. The women’s food court functioning in the corporation shopping complex in Naduvilal junction has organized the fest.
It is a virtual pooram festival of jackfruit out there; various flavours of jackfruit keep looks like the like the myriad hues of umbrellas for kudamaatam for the Thrissur pooram. Every part of jackfruit, from seed and fruit to kernel and external skin, are transformed into piping hot dishes on the dining table.
Non-vegetarian dishes like chakka chemmeen puzhukku (mashed jackfruit and prawns, chakka biriyani, chakka njand roast (jackfruit-crab fry), chakka chicken thoran (stir-fry), chakka stew, chakka masala and chakka dosa are on display at the fest. After you have a stomach full of these wares, you can wash it down with chakkakkuru payasam and chakka juice.
When the natural taste of jackfruit combines with country snacks like unniyappam, bajji, pazhampori, pakoda, vada and idli it becomes a treat.
The dishes are prepared using jackfruit grown in the homes of the staff of the food court. You can enquire about the recipes and methods of making the jackfruit dishes directly with the cooks at the food court. Those coming to have food as part of the fest will be given seeds of jackfruit and mango for free. You can donate seeds produced in your own homes here as well. The fest concludes on Thursday.