Pothichoru or lunch packed in plantain leaf is something that excites nostalgia in most Keralites. Here is how you should prepare and assemble an elaborate pothichoru with nine delicious dishes.
The dishes that are packed in the plantain leaf packet along with boiled matta rice are vendakka mezhukkupuratty (roasted), spinach thoran (stir fry), fried anchovies, raw mango pickle, omelet, coconut chutney, cucumber, and raw mango curry and buttermilk.
Heat coconut oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Sauté dried chillies, curry leaves and onion. Add turmeric powder and chilli powder. Now add chopped ladyfinger and give everything a good mix. Cook for 5 minutes with the lid on.
Spinach stir fry
Heat coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, and dried chillies and curry leaves. Sauté chopped shallots and garlic. Now add spinach and salt. Mix well and cook with the lid on. Finally, add in some grated coconut and mix well.
Marinate cleaned anchovies with turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and a bit of rice flour. Keep aside for half an hour. Fry the marinated anchovies in coconut oil until both sides are crispy.
Raw mango pickle
Mix finely chopped raw mango pieces with a pinch of mustard and fenugreek powders, asafetida powder, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp chilli powder, ¼ tsp turmeric powder and 1 tbsp coconut oil. Keep it aside for half an hour before packing the pickle in the pothichoru.
Beat two eggs with finely chopped shallots, green chillies, salt and a teaspoon of water. Cook the omelet on a pan greased with coconut oil.
Grind half a cup of grated coconut with some tamarind, salt, curry leaves and green or red chilli.
Cucumber and raw mango curry
Cook the cucumber pieces with turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and water as required. Add raw mango pieces and green chillies when the cucumber pieces are almost done. Grind grated coconut with cumin and turmeric powder. Add this coconut paste into the curry. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in another pan and splutter mustard seeds. Roast dried chillies, curry leaves and some shallots. Pour this tempering into the curry and mix well.
Beat fresh curd with some water. Now add crushed ginger and green chillies, chopped coriander leaves, curry leaves and salt as well. Mix well.
Before assembling the pothichoru, run the fresh plantain leaf over the flame to soften it. First, serve the boiled rice. After that, serve all the dry dishes over and around the rice. Fold the leaf into a packet and secure with a thread or a piece of plantain fibre. You could pour the curry and the buttermilk in separate jars or in small containers made with a plantain leaf.