Kochi Palluruthy native Sudhi Kopa had waited quite a lot to finally make his entry into the movies. Sudhi did many odd jobs before he landed the much-deserved opportunity at the big screen.
He says he knows the local spots in all the districts like the lines on his palm as he had travelled quite a bit as a salesman before he made it big in cinema. It was these journeys that introduced him to some incredible local cuisines and small eateries that served mouth-watering delicacies. Sudhi admits he enjoys short trips, exploring the local flavours and the small hotels that serve them.
Food on road
"Food and water are the two most important things to be taken care of while travelling, as you may get ill if they go wrong. Maybe because I hail from Kochi, I have a special affinity towards seafood and fish dishes.
The most important thing is to cook everything properly. For instance, the cooking time for crab meat is significant as it may make or break the dish. There are lots of dishes that are unique to Kochi like the meen mulakittathu (spicy fish curry), meen thilapichathu, beef vindaloo and pork vindaloo. There are various types of fish curries like the one made with Malabar tamarind and the other with regular tamarind," says Sudhi.
Interestingly, Sudhi, who is a hardcore foodie, confesses that he cannot even make a cup of tea. Though he thinks learning to cook is a great thing, Sudhi admits he hasn't found the time to do it.
While travelling, Sudhi eats mostly from small eateries and wayside hotels from where the lorry drivers regularly have food. "Lorry drivers mostly choose eateries that serve delicious food that does not cost much. So, I usually opt for such hotels as the food there would be good," says Sudhi.
"Actor Joju is a passionate foodie. He loves eating delicious food and enjoys making others eat as well. I stayed at Joju's house while we were shooting for the movie Idi. On the way to our location, he bought me hot puttu, duck egg curry and papad from a small hotel between Angamaly and Koratty. It tasted delicious. The construction of the highway was going on when we had food from that hotel. But, I have not been able to find that eatery after that," notes the actor.
He also remembers Joju buying food for him from a hotel at Kootikanam on the way to the location of the movie 'Joseph.' “He would buy lots of dishes and make us eat everything," recalls Sudhi.
Kasargod special herbal chicken
Sudhi is of the opinion that there are unique and special dishes in all places. He is particularly fond of the meat and fish dishes, unique vegetarian dishes, snacks like dal vada and the special boli (sweet pancake) that are served in Thiruvanathapuram.
Similarly, he likes the distinctive flavours of Kollam and Alappuzha. Sudhi says there are lots of eateries, away from the Ernakulam town, that serve delicious food. He enjoys the irachi chor (rice cooked with meat), biriyani and the porotta and beef at Mattancherry.
However, the one local dish that had impressed the actor very much is the oushada kozhi or the herbal chicken at Kasargod. There is a restaurant in Kasargod that specializes in making this dish. Here, the locally grown chicken is marinated with a special masala made with local herbs. It is then covered with purified clay that acts as an oven and then cooked in traditional wood fire stove. Sudhi says the aroma of the herbs wafts through the air when the packet with the chicken is opened. The actor recalls that he had enjoyed that dish from the hotel owned by Fakrudeen at Anangur in Kasargod. Besides, Sudhi enjoys watching food vlogs by noted vlogger Firoz Chuttipara who hails from Palakkad.
Sudhi says he tends to eat a lot if he is staying or working with foodies like him. While shooting for Sathyam Paranjal Vishwasikuo, cast members like Sudhi, Johny Antony, Biju Menon and Alencier were staying together at a rented house in Mahe. Sudhi says all of them had a great time enjoying the company and cooking some delicious dishes.
"Cooking is like acting; you should have a keen interest in that. The dishes that you cook early in the morning for others would taste good only if you have a genuine interest in it. One should be passionate about cooking and not consider it as a chore. I had a friend who would get up early in the morning and cook puttu and beef curry for us whenever we went for trips to Ooty and Kodaikanal.
He braves the chilling weather to cook using just a pumping stove. He did that because he loves cooking," says Sudhi.
Sudhi is a fan of the traditional vegetarian sadya (feast) that is served in the southern part of Kerala. He likes the refreshing tea from Tamil Nadu as well. Dosa mutton in Madurai, Dindigul biryani and the unique flavours of Pollachi are some of his favourites. The cult classic vada paav is what he likes to enjoy in Mumbai. However, he does not enjoy foreign cuisines much, especially because different oils are used for cooking them. He says he adjusted with fruits, eggs and rice when he visited Malaysia.