The culinary scene in Kerala is quite exciting with restaurants and eateries vying to experiment with traditional flavours. After chatti choru (rice served with a zillion dishes in an earthen vessel) and pothi choru (the nostalgic lunch packed in plantain leaf) setting the social media in a frenzy, the latest entrant is 'kayal choru'. As the name suggests, this elaborate lunch includes a variety of dishes cooked with freshwater fish. However, one needs to travel to Kannur to taste this viral dish.
Restaurant Foodbay in Kannur, known for its unique seafood dishes, was sure that kayal choru would be a hit when they introduced the dish in their menu. Unlike the well-known samudra sadya, seafood dishes aren’t separately served on the plantain leaf. Neither does it serve all the dishes in a single earthen vessel. For the kayal choru, the chef prepares the restaurant’s signature masala as per the order. Ingredients like ginger, green chillies and garlic are sautéed in oil before adding tamarind, Kashmiri chilli powder, chilli flakes, curry leaves and their signature masala paste. When the mixture turns aromatic, freshwater fish like crab, prawns, squid and a fillet of hamour are added. The fish gets cooked in the masala, absorbing all the flavours. Boiled white rice is used to assemble the dish. A bamboo puttu steamer in a cylindrical shape is filled with layers of fish masala and rice. Then the bamboo cylinder is nicely sealed to pack in all the flavours.
Dishes like spiced buttermilk, rasam, sambar, pickle and papad are served as side dishes to accompany kayal choru. The hot mixture of rice and fish masala is served on a plantain leaf directly from the puttu steamer. You could mix the rice with the spicy and flavoursome fish masala before enjoying it. This special dish is available only on Saturdays and Sundays.
How to reach
The restaurant is located at Thavakkara Rd, Thavakkara, in Kannur. It will be open from 12 pm to 11 pm.