New Delhi: Delicious breakfast dishes like 'Palappam', 'Puttu' and 'Porotta', served both with 'chicken stew' and 'vegetable stew', quite common in most Kerala households attracted crowds at a recent festival of street food.
Two teams of street vendors prepared exotic food from the southern state during the four-day National Street Food Festival that concluded here last evening.
The event, organised by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) saw participation by over 800 street vendors from 25 different states.
"I started making Appams and Palappams sometimes on a daily basis after coming to Delhi with my wife who is employed as a nurse at a private hospital here. Very soon I began to receive many orders from Malayalees and others," says Rony Mathew who owns an outlet in central Delhi.
'Palappam' prepared from mixing rice flour, coconut milk, yeast and milk. The batter is poured a special pan and immediately turned and tilted in a circle.
"Initially I used to struggle to make it but over a period of three years have perfected the technique and now it turns out quite well," says Rony.
The vegetable stew usually served with the dish is not common in north India. Preparations involve boiling a mix of chopped vegetables like carrot, potato, green peas, onion, cauliflower and adding a dash of coconut oil. A masala of crushed whole black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom is added to the boiling mixture and later milk and coconut milk.
Chicken stew, however, is made using chicken onion, green chilly ginger, garlic, potato, carrot, cinnamon cardamom, cloves, whole pepper, fennel seeds, coconut milk cashew paste, coconut oil and curry leaves.
"I recall during my childhood, we used to have these every Sunday. But nowadays customers order it for birthday parties and other occasions," said the vendor.
Puttu, one of the most popular traditional breakfast dish of Kerala prepared with rice flour and coconut was available with 'kadala curry' or black chickpea curry'.
The traditional Malabar dum chicken biriyani, seemed to attract people at the festival. Known for its spicy aroma, the dish which has its origin in the Mughal era is a rice-based dish blended with spices and chicken. Colloquially it goes by the name 'Kerala biriyani'.
"We have tried to bring out the original taste of Kerala to the people here in Delhi," says Shailaja Mundur, a member of Kudumbashree, a self-help women's group in Kerala, who participated in the event.
"This is the seventh time we are attending this food festival and we were always happy to be part of it," says Shailaja, who is part of a visiting seven-member group from Palakkad, Kerala.
The scrumptious Kerala Porotta, prepared from maida or allpurpose flour owes it origins to the Gulf countries to the south of India was another popular dish at Shailaja's stall. Similar to the Laccha Parantha made in north India, the Porotta also called parotta or barotta is made by beating the dough, flour, eggs and oil into thin layers which is then formed into a round spiral. The ball is rolled flat and roasted. The porotta is usually accompanied with vegetarian kurma or non veg dishes.
"I work as a cook in a hotel in Palakkad. I usually make porotta in the hotel where I work," says Abdul Kader who dished out the porottas.
"The food prepared by the Kerala stall had great demand, says Aamir Hussain, a co-ordinator in charge of the Kerala stall.
With culinary marvels from over 25 Indian states, the Delhi food festival had a mind-boggling 175 stalls, that left one spoit for choice
The four-day festival, which opened Thursday and concluded on Sunday, highlighted the wide spectrum of street dishes available across India.
The festival provided a chance to gorge on popular dishes like chole kulche to a little-known staple of Himachal Pradesh—sepu badi—made of lentils. Dishes like akanee mutton biryani from Karnataka's Dharwad district and Mysore's kalini kebab, deep-fried chicken pieces that evoke the flavour of kasturi methi were also much sought after.
Dehati murg bhaat, a tribal delicacy of Jharkhand and Bihar's litti, made of sattu, served with mutton curry were some of the other popular dishes.
Apart from these, there were stalls of popular street dishes like Punjab's sarso ka saag and makke ki roti, West Bengal's fish fry, Mumbai's famous pav bhaaji, Hyderabadi biryani from Telangana, Rajasthan's kachori, Delhi's aloo tikki and chaat.
Among the must tries were Lucknow's shammi kebab, chicken korma and biryani. The enchanting aroma of the masalas at the stalls where it is served makes them hard to resist.
The stall selling roller fruit ice-cream was a crowd puller, as was the one offering the famous Banarasi paan.
Among guests, there were food afficionados like renowned chef Sanjay Kapoor who said, "Street food festivals must be encouraged and held frequently," while inaugurating the extravaganza, organised by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) here Thursday. "I am a lover of street food. Street food is made of local recipes and hence, the taste is more authentic," Kapoor told IANS before heading towards a stall selling mouth-watering golgappa, his favourite street food.