Kerala Blasters fishing for Kerala cuisine

Kerala Blasters
Kerala Blasters players at their hotel in Kochi wearing mundu. Josekutty J Panackal

It will not be an exaggeration to say that the mouth-watering fish curry from God's Own Country, cooked to perfection by the staff in Crowne Plaza, Kochi, has an integral role to play in keeping up the vigour of Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League football tournament encounters! The players seem to have been sharing a compatible vibe with the delicious pieces of fish in savoury curry since their arrival here. They like it in typical Kerala Style, sans the gravy, and the pieces of seer fish are always in demand. According to Chef S. Kalesh, the seer fish, mullet and milk fish are the ones competing for attention. The milk fish has lots of bones that need to be picked and the taste of mullet doesn't stay consistent every day. So, the fish that bagged most attention was the tasty seer fish. If you ask them why they're not keen about the gravy, the answer rolls out into a simple “It's very spicy!” The pieces dipped in the gravy are carefully picked out and savoured by the players. Apart from cooked as a curry, grilled fish is also a much preferred version, says the Chef. A unique dish prepared exclusively for the players are grilled chicken without salt. A strict 'No' to the salt has been followed owing to the special request from the team management. But grilled beef is often prepared with salt. Another item arranged for the players is baked beans accompanied by tomato sauce. Further specialties enjoyed by the Yellow Army that top the list include salads with plenty of leaves and juices from a variety of fruits. There's one another newcomer that they have added to their culinary experiments after getting to Cochin—tender coconut water! It has gained so much popularity among the players that to a large extent it's been dubbed 'the official drink' of the team! Initially, the players used to prefer eggs and cornflakes for breakfast, but once they laid their gaze and hans on the tantalizing dosa, they are completely taken in. No, it's not the smaller varieties of Uthappam that they settle for; the full-size dosa has become their favourite breakfast item on the menu. They relish it with the white chutney generally. Chutney with chillies is usually avoided by the foreign players. Although they have tried eating idli with chutney and sambar, dosa continues to rule the roost. For dinner, roti and naan are served, but they don't seem to be gaining ample reception like dosa. Most of the players take two or three spoons of rice for dinner and mostly, the rotis lie unnoticed. Even though not as widely accepted as the dosa, puttu is also being fancied by some for breakfast. Whatever may be the lunch menu, there is a snack at 3.00 o'clock in the afternoon, arranged in a special room exclusively for the players. The blasters fill their tummy with yummy pasta and sandwich that are usually served as snacks. The kitchen staff of Crowne Plaza are directed to serve non spicy food with plenty of fibres, less fat and rich in protein to the players. Inside the hotel, Chef Kalesh is busy giving orders to the players in his kitchen, so that they make a perfect short pass to the dining table at the right moment, every time!

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