Have I told you about the Kerala restaurants in Bahrain? I dont know how I missed telling you about it… Anyways, there are so many Kerala restaurants here starting from our typical chaya kada (tea shop) style ones to upmarket Kerala theme restaurants. Our friends who left Bahrain for good say that, the one thing they miss most about this place is the Kerala restaurants here. Ok, I’ve also come across a few who dont appreciate the food in these places. But I should say, it’s a minority. If you are so particular about the qty of ginger, garlic, curry leaves in your dish n how it is chopped/sliced, those sort of things, then I think those places are not meant for you :) If you ask me, some of them do a real good job and you get to taste home cooked style food at a very reasonable price.
Do you remember the “meals ready” board that used to be displayed in front of the hotels back home? You can see that here, also the Malayalam version of “uunnu thayyar” (meals ready). Yeah, that’s another thing I like about living in this part of the world. You dont miss home much :) I’m sure back home this boards are replaced with flex boards n stuff. It reminds me what some people say… if you want to see the real Onam celebration these days, you should go to Dubai ;)
Ok, let’s come back to what we were discussing, Kerala restaurants. Since I make Kerala fare regularly at home, we are not frequent visitors of these hotels. But if I’m in a mood to have an elaborate lunch, I mean the typical Kerala style lunch, we head to one of the these restaurants. For a decent price, you get a wide variety of spread with 2-3 non veg items and 4-5 veg items and dont forget the payasam in the end!
I had this dish for the first time when we had lunch from one of these places a few months ago. I had had potato mezhukkuperatti before, but the combination of kaya n potato was new to me. I liked it so much and concentrated my whole appetite on this. In the end the waiter started giving me a weird look, because I just had a spoonful of rice and almost a plateful of this! From that day onwards I wanted to try this at home.
So, I finally tried this dish at home, if you are thinking whether I got the recipe from the chef… no. It’s a very simple one, you could actually taste all the ingredients and it’s no rocket science. The only difference I felt between my version and the restaurant one is in the looks. While mine had a mat finish look, the restaurant one had a glossy look. I couldn’t bring myself to add that much oil. You can make it either mat finish or glossy, obviously the glossy one is more tastier.
Here you go…
Cook potato and raw banana separately, with salt. heat oil and splutter mustard. Add sliced onions, salt and curry leaves. Cook till the onions start changing the colour.
Add minced/crushed garlic and cook for 2-3 mins. Add all the masala powders and cook till the oil starts appearing.
Add water and let it boil. Add cooked potato and raw banana and mix gently. Continue to cook on low flame for a few more mins.
- Potato – 2 medium – big, cubed
- Raw Banana (pacha kaya) – 2 big, cubed
- Small onion – ¾ – 1 cup, sliced (I used around 20)
- Garlic – 2 – 21/2 tsp, minced/crushed
- Chilli powder – 1½ – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Fennel powder (perumjeerakam) – ¼ tsp
- Garam masala – ¼ tsp
- Water – ¼ cup
- Mustard – ¼ tsp
- Coconut oil
- Curry leaves
- Cut the cleaned potatoes and raw bananas into bite size cubes. Cook potato and kaya separately, with salt. Keep it aside. Make sure that you do not over cook them.
- Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard. Add sliced small onions, salt and curry leaves. Fry till the onions start changing the colour. Add crushed/minced garlic and cook for 2-3 mins. Add the masala powders and fry till the oil starts appearing, around 2-3 mins.
- Add water to the masala and let it boil. Reduce the flame and add cooked potato and kaya and mix well. Make sure that you mix it gently, taking care not to mash it. Add a little more oil and continue to cook on low flame for 5-10 more mins. Drizzle some oil in between, if it appears to be dry.