Thressiamma Mathew, a native of Edathua, sticks on to the traditional ways of cooking even in the modern era. The eighty seven year old doesn’t mind working hard to keep the traditions alive so that she could enjoy the authentic taste. The paddy grains that are harvested from her field are parboiled and turned into rice at her home.
It has become rare in Kuttanad to make rice like this at homes. Thressiamma, every year, cooks fifteen para (paddy measuring unit) paddy grains with water in a giant cauldron on wood fire stove. Hay and dried leaves are mostly burned for fuel. The next day, the paddy is scooped out, the water is drained and the paddy is boiled again.
When the husk is broken, the grains are drained and spread on a palm leaf mat to be dried under the sun. The grains are then dried nicely in two days. If the grains aren’t dried well, it would break when the rice is made. The grains would be mixed and scattered on the mat to ensure that all sides are nicely dried. After the harvest, the parboiled grains that are required for a year would be stored in the granary.
This would then be dehusked and turned into rice whenever required. As Thresiamma got older, her son Saju J Mathew helps her. The family grows paddy in thirty cents of land for their own household use. Meanwhile, paddy is grown in another ten acres of land for commercial purposes. D1 or Uma variety of paddy is mostly grown here. Before the Supplyco collected the paddy grains, everyone in Kuttanad used to parboil and make their own rice. Besides, there were hundreds of boiling units and millers too in the village.