Begum Abida Rashid is hosting a Moplah Food Festival at the Square, Novotel Bengaluru Techpark. Explocity does an exclusive interview with her.
Tell us about the Moplah cuisine and culture
Moplahs are North Kerala’s Malabari Muslims. They trace their roots to Arabs who came to trade here centuries ago in spices and silk and stayed on to take Kerala brides. Moplahs look, to some extent, like Indian Arabs! The men are large and blustery, or small and dark, the more traditional among them dress in white. White lungi and shirt with a turban on the head, and leather sandals on their feet. The women wear scarves. There might not be sandstorms in Calicut, but the turban and the white apparel keeps the Moplah cool in Kerala’s hot and humid climate.
Authentic Moplah cuisine is one such in great demand. This genre of cooking, a harmonious blend of various cultures, is exclusive to the Malabar coast, with accent to the tastes of the belt comprising Kannur, Thalassery, Mahe and Calicut. It includes a variety of seafood delicacies, rice dishes including biryani, and lip smacking delicacies such as pathiri, idiyappam, puttu, malabari paratha, kozhi nirachathu and the very distinctive chatti pathiri. What is unique is that the Moplah style is very receptive to gastronomic preferences, even as the tradition is closely guarded.
What is your favourite dish?
I always like the Meen Mulakittathu and Puttu which my mom cooks. It has a different taste and it always stands out from all the food she makes.
What makes your mom’s food special?
The memory about her is that she is a very hard working lady, and while it comes to cooking there is a lot of love and passion she puts in it which makes her food special and also I always see her cooking only in traditional form and she always makes sure that the food she makes is always made with all fresh ingredients and in her matka pot.
18-27th May, lunch and dinner buffet, The Square, Novotel Bengaluru TechPark, Marathahalli, Bangalore