The illustrious personalities step into the Aluva Palace, which is on the banks of the Periyar River in Ernakulam district, to enjoy a royal stay and satisfy their palates with some succulent cuisines. When V S Achuthanandan was the Kerala chief minister and leader of the opposition in the Assembly, he used to visit the palace twice a week. It was following his suggestion that papaya, which can be used to make thoran (dry vegetable dish with grated coconut) or consumed as a fruit, was cultivated on the palace premises.
Former state Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar stayed at the palace for six months last year to coordinate the COVID-19 containment activities in Ernakulam district. During his stay, Sunil Kumar converted the vacant land of the palace into vibrant vegetable gardens.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former chief ministers K Karunakaran , E K Nayanar, A K Antony and Oommen Chandy were all more than happy to stay put at the picturesque Aluva Palace. The ‘Benz’ car, which was used by E K Nayanar, is preserved at the palace. The national leaders who land in Kochi get the first taste of the unique hospitality of Kerala at the Aluva Palace.
What’s on leaders’ plates
Pinarayi Vijayan: The chief minister eats light and loves to have puttu (made of rice flour and grated coconut) and payaru (green lentil) curry for breakfast. The lunch spread consists of rice, avial (a dish of mixed vegetables), kachiya moru (seasoned buttermilk), cheera thoran (spinach stir fry) and papaya thoran. He is not a meat eater but likes karimeen (pearl spot) curry, fry and pollichathu (fish roasted in banana leafs). For dinner it's chappathi and vegetable curry for the chief minister who keeps a safe distance from papad and pickle. Boiled vegetables and salads are also part of his dinner menu. Boiled vegetables include beans, carrot, butter and salt. Fruit salad, which includes papaya, is also a favourite.
V S Achuthanandan: The former chief minister is into natural and organic food. Earlier, the palace kitchen used to stock organic rice for him. The former leader of the opposition avoids tubers.
M B Rajesh: The Kerala Assembly Speaker’s favourites are kanji (rice gruel) and payar (stir fried green lentils).
Ramesh Chennithala: The former minister too loves kanji and payar.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan: The former minister likes to have kanji with a dash of coconut milk.
Arif Mohammad Khan: Though the Kerala Governor is a north Indian, he makes it a point to have idli, sambar, chutney, avial, cabbage thoran, pachadi and karimeen. Chicken roast with lot of onions is one his most-liked dishes.
Muhammad Riyas: The Kerala minister’s dinner is a simple affair with kanji, cherupayarthoran, papad and mango pickle. At times, the gruel is cooked with broken rice.
K Krishnankutty: The Kerala Minister is fond of chicken soup.
Oommen Chandy: The former chief minister is not finicky about food. He loves to have puttu and payar, idli, dosa and bread with omelette.