A drop of love adds to the taste of the food you serve. Or so goes the belief, which can actually be true as well. Some dishes are so delicious that people, on learning about them, come a long way for a detailed relish. One such destination in today's Kerala will be Ezhuthanikada.
The joint is a beautiful experience down the state along the scenic Kollam-Kottarakkara road. Mind you, the establishment is not new. In fact, Ezhuthanikada began as a small tea shack a good seven decades ago. In 1948, to be precise. That is, a year after India attained independence. Since then, so many waves of foreign tastes have invaded the Deccan, yet Ezhuthanikada had withstood all of them with the unique tastes of local cuisine. This bit of ethnicity has helped it negate the influences of Chinese, Continental or Arabian tastes and continue to woo visitors to its interiors.
To old-timers, some of the items come with a whiff of nostalgia. For instance, the vettucake, which is the USP. Or the superstar at Ezhuthanikada. Another celebrity is the mutton curry, which is being served alongside the rice-made idiyappam or porotta flattened from maida flour. Almost every combo features the fried pappadam; that's another speciality here.
A cup of tea with a piece of vettucake forms the chunk of sales at Ezhuthanikada. Indeed, customers order for no less than 5,0000 vettucakes a day on an average. So, what is it made of? Just a simple mix: duck's egg, powdered cardamom, sugar, maida (fine powder made from wheat minus bran) and baking soda. Kneed them together with minimal water and spread the flour in elongated shape, but with a certain thickness. Then slice them to standard size. Ahead of frying in oil, each piece is given a cut - which is 'vettu' in Malayalam. Hence the name of the dish, which bubbles up as two pieces. The sight is engrossing as much as the taste. No wonder, Ezhuthanikada has so many visitors across day.
Curry is all what Ezhuthanikada makes out of mutton, which is usually the prime material for a variety of dishes across the world. The gravy is not too watery; it's deliciously concentrated. The mutton curry at Ezhuthanikada, too, has its special recipe: pour oil in a large vat, once it warms put sliced onions and green chillies. Close the vessel with a lid and allow the items to half-boil. Separately, ready a paste comprising garlic and ginger mixed with turmeric. Add that into the vat, followed by cut mutton that had been washed well. Pour water into the combination and leave it closed so as to boil well.
Once that stage comes, add to it a mix of coriander powder, salt, aniseed (perum jeerakam) and garam masala (mixture of ground spices). In another vessel, pour oil and warm it along with curry leaves and garlic paste. After a while, add red-chilli powder to it. And then mix the whole thing with the items in the vat containing mutton.
The taste of the mutton curry at Ezhuthanikada is like none other, something many customers vouch for.
The restaurant may look small from outside, but then it is reasonable spacious. Very roomy and airy. There is no exact count anyone has made on the number of visitors at Ezhuthanikada on a typical day that spans from 8 in the morning to 10:30 at night. A certain Meera Sahib founded the establishment; today his son runs it. Besides idiyappam and porotta, dosa-egg curry is a much-favoured combination here.
Time hasn’t managed to dilute the taste of items at Ezhuthanikada. The septuagenarian joint continues to woo people across generations and regions through the sheer charm of the taste of its food items.