Culinary Innovations in Malayalam Cinema

If you’re both a foodie as well as a movie buff like me, then there’s nothing more enticing than a movie that deals with food and cooking. Of course, watching this doesn’t fill your tummy but it sure does fill your soul. While full-fledged food-based movies are still limited in Malayalam cinema, there have been many movies that portray wonderful moments highlighting the importance of preparing, relishing, and bonding over food. There are also those movies that give a twist to regular cooking (with an element of fun or with a veritable story behind it) which even results in culinary breakthroughs, disasters, or even romantic hookups/breakups. Here are some of the culinary innovations we’ve come across in Malayalam cinema:   

Stuck in a lift and hungry? Mister Butler tells you what to do!

Kitchen maestro Gopalakrishnan from Mister Butler does not only have unique recipes like Alfaniya Kuchu Mahai up his sleeves but also some handy survival hacks to fight hunger when stuck in a lift. The scene where he prepares vegetable biryani for the heroine using a portable Japanese stove that he carries in his bag in a matter of just minutes is fun to watch. A pack of basmati rice, a bottle of water, a carrot, a cucumber, and a tomato are all that is needed by this pro to whip up this feast without getting his hands dirty.

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Thattil Kutty Dosa and Rainbow Cake can bring two hearts closer

Thattil kutty dosa was one of those varieties of dosas that shot to fame through the delightful movie, Salt and Pepper. While a dosa made on a thattu is a pretty common cuisine in Kerala, I think the first reference to it as “Thattil kutty dosa” was borrowed from this movie. The other one-of-its-kind dish that you encounter in this movie, which will get you all drooling, is Joan’s rainbow cake. This multilayered Strawberry-Pista-Orange cake topped off with melted chocolate and the heart-warming history behind it was all it took for love to bloom between two of the lead characters.

It’s a Dosa. It’s an Idli. It’s…Doddali!

By the sound of it, it may appear to be a dish from Karnataka. But no, I’m referring to the outcome of a culinary adventure undertaken by Abhirami, a hopeless cook, in the movie Njangal Santhushtaranu. While the lady hoped to cook up a storm in the kitchen for breakfast, it ended up being an utter disaster. Her dosas which ended up looking like a hybrid of Dosa and Idli became a laughing stock at the dining table and was mockingly called Doddali.

Rosapoo Chammanthi and Rasam to stay sane

Annie’s experiments in the kitchen date back to one of her early movies, Mazhaethum Munbe where we see her serving a portion of chutney onto Mammootty’s banana leaf. We see the poor dude wince at the discomfort caused to his tastebuds as the aftermath of his first taste of this chutney. When asked what this dish is, she enlightens him telling that Rosapoo Chammanthi would extremely benefit him in keeping his blood cool, so he can stay calm. Mammootty retorts to this by highlighting the therapeutic properties of Rasam, one of the many dishes on the table, in maintaining mental health and pours the entire bowl over her head.

Watch from 3:52 for the scene!

Love Sambar? Love Chicken? Make Chicken Sambar!

True, variety is the spice of life. But what is variety if you keep adding the same spices in your chicken curry? Remember Ashtamurthy telling his head chef that he wanted to get creative in the kitchen by tweaking the chicken curry recipe and adding some Sambar Podi? While this sounded quite unorthodox back in 2003, later this was adopted by a few of Kerala’s well-known chefs.

Invisible Pazhamkanji – the perfect nutrition fix for a preggo

Pregnancy and cravings go hand in hand. Trust me, I’ve not seen a woman who’s been carrying and has never had a sudden craving for some sort of dish. When a pregnant Urvashi expresses her desire to gorge on confectionaries and savouries in the movie Kalippattam, Mohanlal brings her to a table laden with parippuvadas, jalebis, chips, and bananas . When she loses appetite after the initial relishing, he gives a mouth-watering description of a preggo’s go-to nutrition fix – pazhamkanji. The imagery it creates in our minds as he describes tossing in some tangy mango curry with sliced green chilies, dollops of curd, and thale divasathe maracheeni will make us slurp!

Watch from 1:52:36 to see the scene!

Cook and lose a guy (or two!) in 20 mins

They told us that the way to a man’s heart is through his belly. So if the result of your cooking gives him a Delhi Belly, then do you lose him? While you keep wondering about that, go ahead and watch Juhi Chawla preparing a wholesome chicken curry to which she gives an extremely fiery twist and an excessively salty twist to traumatize the respective palates of her two prospective grooms.

Watch from 1:52:02 for the scene!

Get the chicken to do a warm-up before cooking

We’re sure the chicken curry that Mohanlal ended up making in Boeing Boeing was a lot healthier than an average chicken curry. Of course, a chicken that did a few stretches would have had made a nourishing dinner than an obese one. This evergreen comedy scene where Mohanlal sets out to prepare a chicken curry by listening to the recipe on a radio, which at one point gets swapped by a fitness show, is sure to throw you into a fit of laughter.

Crossbreed our Kerala Porotta with a Spanish Omelet

You know you’re in for a treat when the hero of the movie is a chef. Ustad Hotel is a gastronomic odyssey that has its fair share of food moments to have you smacking your lips. Your joy only gets doubled when Faizi, the young chef introduces a brand new delectable fusion food entrée by pulling together the classic Kerala Porotta and an exciting Spanish omelet. Of course, when we see the flavors exploding in the mouth of his superior, we make a mental note of this in our to-cook bucket list.

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