Cooks usually don’t have much time at home. I live in a family home in Bengaluru and spend a lot of time with my parents. It gave us the time to connect better.
We cook traditional Coorgi food at home. My mother is the expert when it comes to that. I help her, improve (my skills) and am practical like never before.
My father cooks every now and then. He has his typical dishes like pork ribs. He didn’t have the time and we don’t get things very easily. So we’re trying to cook with what we have and what we’ve saved instead of trying to buy things.
The best-known Coorgi staple is a pork dish called Pandi Curry, which I’ve been preparing for some time. There are also a lot of travel companions, for whose perfection we need a little experience.
There is a flat rice cake called Paputtu. It’s like Idli, but made with coarser rice grains and topped with freshly grated coconut. We did that for breakfast. Then there is a rice ball called Kadambuttu that we make at home.
We had preserved some small mangoes (Sakkare Guthi Variety) in the freezer. We do it as a family; We get them in season and keep them for the whole year. So we made a mango curry with some mustard, curry leaves (just a simple one Tadka) with a little jaggery and some spices.
Every now and then I whip something with what we have at home. I recently had a pack of instant noodles; I think it was a very mild taste. I had some moose sausage in the fridge to make the noodles a little deeper. I had done it before; it turns out to be great. I think a friend bought me the sausages from Germany a long time ago. The stuff is nuclear war safe. Nothing happens (laughs).
Akki Roti with eggs and vegetables
- Ingredients: 2 eggs; 1 cup of cooked rice (a day old is fine too); 1/2 cup rice flour; Salt to taste; 1/4 bunch of spinach (can use any local green); 1/2 sliced onions; 1 dried red chilli; a pinch of mustard; 2 tsp oil; 5-6 chopped cashew nuts; 1 dry red chili; 5-6 curry leaves; a pinch of mustard; 2 tsp ghee
- For the Akki Roti: Mix the cooked rice and rice flour (in increments) to get an evenly mixed dough where you can still easily see the rice grains. Make small rotis with a roti press and cook on a tava and finish on an open fire to get the char.
- For sautéed vegetables: heat the oil in the pan, fry the mustard, onions and chill. Add the green, cook until done.
- For tempering: heat the ghee in a small pan, add the mustard, red chillies and cashew nuts. Heat until the cashew nuts turn slightly brown and crispy. Add the curry leaves and finish.
- Finally, make a soft scrambled egg with the eggs once all the other components are done. Assemble the green and stir on the Akki Roti and garnish with the cashew temperament.
- Recipe from chef Kavan Kuttappa
In terms of work, we had just finished testing and were about to start a new menu in The Permit Room, and then this happened. So I’m just spending time documenting. As chefs, we don’t like to sit down and document recipes, but I got more time, so I focused on that.
A big focus was also on the care of the employees, which I think is very important.
Overall, our company (pH4 Food and Beverages) employs around 450 people. In Bengaluru, The Permit Room employs approximately 50 people who live in staff accommodations, and Toit, which is owned by the same company, employs over 100 people.
The employees live in accommodations that the company provides. We cook and deliver meals (rice, dal and vegetables with egg) for them every day in the restaurant. They are not hungry if nothing else and they have a roof over their heads. [Ensuring] This was a huge responsibility and task.
In this series, India’s popular chefs and restockers share their lockdown cooking habits and recipes with us.