Recipe- Makki Di Roti & Palak Subzi

No, you read it right. We had Makki Di Roti & Palak Suzbi. I know the traditional combo is Makki di roti and Sarson ka saag, well, we don’t get Sarson ka saag [the Mustard greens] in Chennai and so this alternative πŸ™‚

When we had visited Delhi earlier this month, when i mentioned i like this combo, my aunt asked her maid to make it. Mom & I walked it down to this cool organic store called The Roots and bought Maize flour.We devoured the rotis and the Sarson ka saag, and mom decided she wanted to make them once we were back in Chennai. Since there was a packet of flour leftover, we brought it with us and yesterday mom made it for lunch.

She had asked the maid how to make [in her broken hindi] and managed to make a few small rotis, invited me over for lunch excitedly πŸ™‚

What you need:
Maize Flour – 2 cups   

Salt -to taste
Ghee – as required to knead the dough

How to make:
1. Add salt and ghee to the flour and mix well till becomes a nice soft dough.
2. Make balls or divide the dough into portions
3. Take a plastic sheet and pat the dough on it, making it into a roti [dont make it too thin, it will stick to the sheet]… Alternatively you can roll out each ball between the folds of a greased plastic sheets.
4. Heat a tawa and cook the roti on it till both sides are done.
5. apply a dollop of butter or ghee and serve hot.

Palak Subzi that mom made was the usual subzi you make for rotis and it did go well with Makki di roti…

What you need:
Palak/spinach leaves – a bowl of chopped leaves
Onion- 1
Tomato- 1
Green chilli- 1[optional]
oil- as required
Salt- as required
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Cream/milk/curd- 1 tsp

How to make:
1. Boil the palak leaves with a dash of salt and make a puree
2. In a pan, add some oil and saute the onions & green chilli, once they turn golden brown, add the tomatoes and saute for a few more minutes.  [you can blend these if you wish]
3. To this add the spinach puree, salt, garam masala and allow it to cook
4. Add some cream/milk/curd just before you serve…

You can add palak to make it Palak paneer or potatoes if you desire. 

Bon Apettit!!

Thiruvathirai Special

Thiruvathirai, a star, also a festival celebrated in the marghazi
masam [Dec-Jan] is a day when we celeberate the
thandavam (cosmic dance) performed my Lord Shiva. Another side to this day is that it is Lord Shiva’s star birthday today, the star being arudhra. The one thing i remember about Thiruvathirai is lunch menu, unfortunately it consists of items i dont like, well, these days i have a nibble and dont grunt as much. What is on the menu? Kali and Thalagam.. Sounds greek and latin, well, not really, but it is a wierd combination and mix of flavours.

We were in Delhi recently, and mom made Kali cos my uncle loves it and well, that was probably the 1st time i ate some on my own [with no one breathing down my neck] and actually liked it.. Hmm… so, today at lunch, i made myself some rotis and had a spoonful of kali as well πŸ™‚ [Good girl i am]

Kali is a sweet dish, while Thalagam is a graavy made using 7/9/11/13/15 vegetables [something like a heavy duty sambar] 

How are these made? For the 1st time, i paid attention to mom and gramma when they explained the dishes. So, here goes..

Kali
What you need-
Raw Rice – 1 cup
Mung dal – 1 tbsp
Jaggery- 3/4 th cup
Butter-2 tbsp
Water – 2 to 3 cups
Coconut- 1 tbsp grated
Cashewnuts- fried in ghee
How to make Kali-
1. Wash and dry the rice 
2. Dry roast the rice and daal till the rice turns light golden.
3. Grind to a coarse powder or finely [depending on your preference]
4. In a kadai, add 2 cups of water to the jaggery and let it come to a boil. When it does, run it through a sieve to make sure there were no dust or foreign particles in the jaggery
5. To this liquid, add the rice – daal and coconut. Keep stirring and add water if you feel the mixture is too thick. Like Sooji upma, the rice will absorb the water, so dont worry if it looks runny. 
6. Stir for a good 15- 20mins till the rice cooks and starts releasing ghee around the corner. 
7. Sprinkle the fried cashewnuts and serve. 

Thalagam
What you need-

Vegetables of your choice- Today gramma used 15 veggies- Carrots, yellow pumpkin, beans, potato, sweet potato, arbi, butter beans, snake gourd, flat beans, string beans, brinjal, chow chow, raw banana and so many more…. [typically Indian veggies are used] – Chop them up into bite sized pieces.
Dry red chillies- 5 to 6 [depending on how spicy you like the dish] 
Toor dal – 1tbsp
Rice- 1/2tbsp

Coconut – 1/2 cup grated

Black Sesame seeds- 2tsp

Tamarind- the Size of a small lemon

Gingely oil- 2tsp

Mustard seeds- 1tsp

Salt- to taste

 

How to make the Thalagam-
1. Just like you make sambar, soak the tamarind in a cup of warm water for 5 – 10 minutes , squeeze and set aside the tamarind juice. 
2. In a pan, heat some oil, add the mustard seeds, allow to splutter and set aside. 
3. In the pan, add some more oil and add the toor daal, red chillies, rice, coconut and sesame seeds. Saute them till they all turn light brown colour and then grind to a fine powder. 
4. In the pressure cooker put all the chopped vegetables, tamarind juice, some salt and cook till they are tender. 
5. Now add the ground powder, and water if required. Mix and allow to cook well.  
 Note: The mix should not be too runny or light, it will be like a gravy/koottu. 

In with the new, out with the old at Tuscana in Chamiers

“hum chup nahin bait sakthe [we cant sit quiet]” is what Vipin says leads to such new concepts… The reason why they keep innovating, rolling out new dishes and coming up with interesting dishes. This time around, they have literally revamped their entire menu- adding a few new dishes, removing some and making sure customers are spoilt for choice. Oh, and did i mention there is a slash in prices as well? yep! There we were at Tuscana in Chamiers Road, with Chef Willi greeting us and ushering us in. Vipin explained the whole process of how their menu has changed, the new software they are creating in house which will keep track of stock, making it easy to monitor and audit and of the new plans they have for the days to come. 
But wait, you need to wait till Saturday before you can taste the new dishes. We got a sneak peek into what is to come and must tell you, some of the dishes are a treat for our senses.  After gulping down a glass of Orange-Cranberry juice, i was chatting away with Vipin and others in his team to understand the new menu and the changes to expect. 
The table was set with a few bowls of different kinds of Olives, some were stuffed while others were plain, few bread sticks and two martini glasses- Hummus and Salsa. The Hummus was divine, and i loved it with the bread stick.
The food began to arrive within minutes and the 1st plate to land on the table was Bruschetta- Crisp slices of bread with mushroom and assorted pepper topping, fresh and full of flavours. The next in line were the sinful  Cheese veg tarts- with cauliflowers, leeks and bell peppers, it was just amazing. 
And then came the much awaited, spoken about dish that Tuscana is famous for- their Pizzas. Apart from the plain white flour pizza, there were also a few Gluten free pizzas that came out of the kitchen. What else is new? Well, they are launching a range of Multi grain pizzas- quite good i must say. Was a bit skeptical, but i quite liked it- the texture, the flavours and the light base. I tried a slice from each of the pizza, and loved the one with the Broccoli on it. 
Just as the conversation flowed without a pause, so did the trays of food. The last to arrive were the dessert- coffee panna cotta [tasted a bit like instant coffee & was a tad strong] and vanilla panna cotta with blueberry compote[was yumm, but different from their usual panna cotta].  
We left the place wondering about the dishes that were going to disappear from the menu and of those that were making an entry.  As i walked down the spiral staircase, conversations flowed and so did the food from the kitchen…. 

Wishing Tuscana all the very best!!!

Location:
Tuscana
Chamiers Rd, Nandanam  Chennai
Adj to Park Sheraton Hotel, few doors down from Amma Nana Store.
Ph- 044 45038008
 
The 2nd outlet is 
Wallace Garden 3rd Street, Aayiram Vilakku  Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034
Ph- 044 4500 0008

[Recipe] Pottukadala Chutney

I wanted to make something for the Dosa, but was unsure what.. Couldnt make onion based as grandparents dont eat, so waited for gramma to return from temple visit.  Asked about chutney/thogayal options and she suggested making this with pottukadala..

What you need:
Pottukadala[broken roasted gram] – 1 cup
Thengai thuruvinadhu [grated Coconut] – 1/5cup [or more]
Puli [Tamarind]- a small ball [size of  the new Rs5 coin]
Pachai milagai [Green chilli]- 3
Ennai [Oil]- 1 tsp
Kadugu [Mustard seeds]- 1tsp
Broken uluthamparuppu [urad daal]- 1tsp
Uppu [Salt]- to taste
Thanni [water]- to grind

Variation:
Poondu [garlic] -3 pods
Varutha Verkadala [roasted peanuts] – a handful

How to make:

1.In a pan do the tempering- add oil, mustard seeds and broken urad daal- let them splutter
Also add the green chillies, saute them slightly.
2.Remove the green chillies and add the other ingredients to it- pottukadala, coconut, tamarind, salt, and water [this is also when you add the garlic pods-no need to saute them]
3. grind to a paste [ texture depends on your preference, i like it a bit coarse]
4. Pour the tempering on top and serve

                                                Left- Garlic chutney and right is the plain one
Tastes yumm with Dosa, idli, poori, and even pongal.

Loi Krathong – Festival of Lights,Benjarong

Coinciding with our Karthigai deepam was Loi Krathong, the festival of lights for those in South East Asia, primarily Thailand. And in lieu of this festival, Benjarong is hosting the Loi Krathong Festival.

An elaborate spread reflecting the true flavours from those regions and showcasing some of the interesting ingredients they use in the cooking. A journey that began with a beautiful deep violet orchid flower all the way to the Lemongrass ice cream, it was quite a treat, for the eyes, stomach and the soul.


While we waited for the rest of the invitees to arrive, the chef laid out the specialties on a table along with a traditional urn. Two gold runners running criss cross added the glitz to the wooden table. The walls adorned with simple art work, few of which were made of paper, resembling those used in the puppet shows, were all reflective of the strong culture of the region.

A tall glass of Wild orchid [a mocktail- blend of lychee, guava & orange] it was quite a refreshing drink. There were two menus, one vegetarian and the other non vegetarian. The only thing common were the salad and dessert.

While the CEO and Chef spoke to us about the festival, and the recipes, we were served quite a few varieties of appetizers, sala and the soup. We had

Hed Tohy tod namprik pow – Crispy fried mushrooms & bean curd[tofu] tossed with roasted chilli paste & thai sweet basil.- Quite light and filled with flavour, it gave us a sneak peek into what to expect.

Satay je- a mix veg satay on a skewer- pineapple, mushroom, bean curd and assorted peppers.

The salad was Yum hed hoo noo- cucumber, celery, carrot, and black fungus tossed with sesame seeds – it was very nice, and easy on the palate. The one salad that i have enjoyed in the past is the Raw papaya salad, which i recently made at home as well.

The veg soup was Gaeng Som phak- a sour & spicy sooup with mix of vegetables along with lemongrass, galangal and other thai herbs. It hit right at the edge of the throat and was quite spicy & pungent as well. Needed a few glasses of water to get over it πŸ™‚

Phew, i was stuffed.. But wait, there is more. The beautiful thing about Thai cuisine is their use of various flavours and textures. The main course blew me away….

Phad woonsen phak- Glass noodles cooked with exotic vegetables- This was my favorite of the entire menu. The noodles had a lovely texture, and the chef told us they just had to be dunked in hot water for less than a minute and tossed in vegetables. It had brocolli, zucchini, capsicum, onion and spring onion as well.

Another dish that had me surprised was Makeow yang pahd namprik pow[i know, imagine trying to order this in a restaurant, i’d die of starvation before i get it right]- this is a grilled sesame aubergine tossed with roasted chilli paste & thai herbs.- The brinjal melted in our mouths, and it had a hint of sweetness to it. I also tried a small piece of the omlette, simple & fluffy, it went well with this dish.

As we sipped on lemongrass tea, the chef requested we try some Khao nung [Steamed rice] with Kaeng bamaa phak [ red curry with vegetables that had a bit of Burmese influence as well]- this was zero spicy, which the chef mentioned was because of the Burmese spices added to the red curry paste.

This menu sure is a burst of flavours. But from the time i walked in and saw the menu, the one dish i was dying to try was the dessert- lemongrass ice cream. Lo behold, out came a long plate with a bowl holding the ice cream and a sticky rice topped with Coconut custard [with a hint of cardomom flavour] The lemongrass ice cream was a delight, such a refreshing flavour. Teppan[upstairs] serves Wasabi ice cream, which is yet another unique dish that i am yet to see on another menu.

Before i bit the team at Benjarong goodbye, i was asked if i wanted to light a candle and let it float in the pond they had created? Ofcourse, i jumped on it. Made a wish for myself & for the hotel, let it float and hope all dreams come true!!

This festival is from 27th Nov to 9th Dec, so if you want to bid goodbye to your past and make a fresh start, join them in the festival of lights and bring joy to your lives!!  πŸ™‚

Ambiance: 8/10
Food- 8/10 [spice factor is the only thing that stops me from giving them a higher rank]
Price- 7/10- A meal for 2 in this festival will cost about Rs2000/-
Overall- 9/10

Address:
#537/146, T T K Road [on the road leading to Adyar Park hotel],
Alwarpet,
Chennai- 600018
Ph: 044 24322640

Brunch with friends at Madras Gymkhana Club

What can be better than spending a few hours in the company of good friends , food and fantastic conversations!! That is exactly what we did on Sunday…. The venue was decided as the Madras Gymkhana Club and we had decided to land there by 1pm… And for the 1st time, there are no photographs, that is how busy we were catching up and yapping away, in between mouthfuls of food.

The spread was quite good-
Mulgitwany soup
Different kinds of bread
Salads- russian, pasta, mix vegetable
Onion raita
Thayir vada
Papads

Freshly made hot crisp dosa with chutney & sambar

Veg buffet-

Veg biryanu
Dal makhani
Panneer butter masala
Bhindi sabzi
Salan Bhaingan
Aloo fry

Continental dishes– 

Mash potato baked
Mix veg augratin
 
Others
Plain white rice
Garlic rasam
Curd rice+ pickles

In nonveg

Chicken biryani
2 side dishes
A chicken dry item
And 2more (will ask friend what they were and update)

Desserts:
Strawberry mouse
Vanilla ice cream
Vanilla-mango cake
Gulab jamun

Total value for money
Food- 8/10
Service- self service
Ambiance-its huge hall, open space, plenty of natural lighting..

Address:
Anna Salai Mount Road, Chintadripet  Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Ph: 044 25368160

Only catch, find a friend who’s a member!!
The Veg buffet is Rs250 while Non veg is
Rs350.. I guess this is between 12noon to 3pm, we were there beyond 3
and the staff had begun cleaning the space..

During weekdays, the buffet is upstairs in Buttery ball (kids below 16yrs not allowed as they serve alcohol)

Chao, T Nagar

“Chao”.. well, it means hello in Vietnamese and to think Ciao means Bye in Italian.. One word, so many meanings. Similarly, Chao, the restaurant has many faces, many avatars so to speak. It offers an eclectic blend of interiors, a menu that takes us on a journey from Vietnam to Singapore, China to Thailand….
Spending a few minutes exploring the venue, I discovered it was on two levels, the basement bigger than the ground floor. it also included a Lounge-a private dining area… The walls are adorned with various figurines and pieces made of wood, a tree stump leading to a light fitting under which sits a majestic Buddha. A narrow winding staircase tucked away in a corner. The ground floor offers a few cabin like settings, two small and one large. Glass, wood and light is what catches your eye as you step into this swanky restaurant that is just a few weeks old. 
Situated on north Boag road, almost opp the Singapore Consulate, adj to Coffee Central, the restaurant belongs to Ramesh & his partner Jagadish. Ramesh, being an architect has spent quite a bit of effort in decorating the place and it is quite visible.

Greeted with a cup of hot Lemongrass tea, I chatted with Shalini Muthukumar [Ramesh’s sis in law] who also owns the label “spice dip”. Pretty soon, the table was full, and Chef Dhiraj started bringing out plates of food… not only did they look good, but tasted delicious as well. He was kind enough to remember the vegetarians from the non veg clan and patiently answered my 1001 questions.


Starters:

Green Mango Salad

 
Corn Tartlets – Tartlets filled with crispy corn kernels
Devil’s potato – Crispy fried and sauteed potato wedges

Veg Dim Sums served with garlic sauce
Mushroom Pepper Salt – Crispy & juicy mushrooms tossed in pepper, chili flakes and garlic and served on a bed of fried noodles’

Rice wrap rolls served alongside Lemongrass dip – Rice wrap sheets stuffed with raw vegetables and tofu rolled up.

 

Devil’s
chicken

Chao Thai Grilled Fish – Boneless fish fillets marinated, grilled and served on skewers
Wasabi Prawns – Crispy fried Prawns tossed in smooth Wasabi mayo.
 Satay Prawns – Juicy prawns marinated, grilled and served on skewers


I spent quite some time sampling the dishes, trying to figure out the spices, method of cooking, sorting through my curiousity and i noticed another array of dishes coming towards our table. They were the main dishes announced Shalini.

Thai Veg Green Curry- It was very different from what i’ve had, was surprised to find Brussel sprouts in the gravy
Jasmine Rice- A rice cooked with jasmine infusion though with no jasmine flavour[thank god]
Singaporean Bee Hoon – Fine Rice noodles with bean sprouts[ this was the best of the lot]

Cashew Garlic Garden greens – Stir fried vegetables mildly cooked with Garlic sauce and cashews

 Sambal fried rice- Non veg
Basil Chicken – Fine Minced tender chicken served in hot basil sauce




And finally, as i flipped through their extensive menu card [which has been beautifully separated into 2 sections- Veg & Non veg], i spotted quite a few familiar desserts. The ones we got to taste were

 

Tub Tim Grob
Water chestnuts in coconut milk served with crushed ice

Pumpkin custard with Coconut ice-cream- This was an afterthought of sorts. I noticed it on the menu and requested Shalini to serve us a plate or so. and no sooner there were more than one plate of this dessert served up, but they kept disappearing…
















It was one fun evening… As always…. If you are driving down the road, and feel hunger pangs kick in, then pull over and do try the restaurant. 


Price- A meal for 2 will roughly cost around Rs1500 – 2000 

Address:
#49, North Boag Road,T. Nagar address 044 65555553, 044 65555554
[Opp Singapore Consulate and Adj to Coffee Central] Drive down from Residency towers/10D towards GN Chetty road, and you will spot this restaurant on your left.

This was part of a CFG Showcase that I attended and was conducted by Chennai Food Guide.

Disclaimer:
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience.
Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time,
so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while
visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon AppΓ©tit  πŸ™‚


[Recipe] Raw Papaya Salad… Som Tam

We have a Papaya tree in our backyard and today morning i noticed granpa asking the gardener to bring in the only papaya fruit on it. It was raw and green, but he said we can make a dish out of it and so had asked the gardener to pluck it. But then, gramma said lunch menu was already set and cant add one more dish. I spotted it a while later and immediately bells went off in my head. I was transported to Benjarong and the plate of Raw Papaya Salad that i love having there. Called “Som Tam”, this is a popular Thai salad. It has all possible textures and flavours, and is quite light as well.

So, here is how i made the salad.

Ingredients:
1 small raw [green] papaya
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 tomatoes- remove seeds and cut into thin long strips
1 cup blanched green beans  
1 carrot grated/chopped lengthwise, same as the papaya   

 1/2 Green capsicum- cut same as the papaya


Optional-  
Spring onions & some crushed garlic
1 red chili, sliced, seeds removed (optional)  
Few Basil and Coriander leaves.

Salad Dressing- 
2 tsp. soya sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil/peanut oil
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp salt

  Preparation:  

  1. In a bowl, add all the vegetables and mix them well.. 
  2. In another cup, mix all the dressing ingredients, stirring till sugar dissolves and the dressing becomes one uniform liquid. Taste and adjust depending on your preference. 
  3. Pour the dressing on the vegetables and toss till well mixed.
  4. Finally, put in fridge, add a liberal amount of peanuts and serve cold. 

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 10mins [ blanching beans]
Serves: 3-4  

Marrybrown, Ispahani Center, Chennai

Ispahani center, a place that i wish existed during my college days. A place that had quite a few interesting stoes and coffee shops, a place that was among the 1st mall to enter the city, a place where i used to work out. Today, it is a mall, rather so called mall that has quite a few eat outs and a few shops, but is pretty empty most of the time. Looks like Express Avenue has taken over, it is now the new honeycomb attracting all the bees…

As decided, I arrived at Ispahani center before 7.30pm only to see the others already there, well almost all of them. There were a few new faces, but familiar names and we said Hi hello and connected. Soon, the table was full and one of the staff brought over a hand written menu. It contained a list of items that they had on their menu, most of which were new. He was going to give us a taste of as many as possible. For once, i noticed the number of Vegetarian items beat the Non veg ones hands down. Whoopie.. [ya ya, small pleasures]

So, what did i like the most of the stuff i tasted?

Jigger Fries – these are french fries with a difference- there are two flavours- Mexican spice and Sour cream & onion. Reminded me of the popcorn in Sathyam cinemas where you can add flavours to the popcorn. Only suggestion was to not dunk so much of the spice in the fries and maybe to add this to some of their other dishes as well.

Chilli cheese poppers- These were like mini bombs, mini chilli cheese fried starters that were quite good. Served alongside a tangy spicy mayo sauce, they were quite yummy

Xtreme burger- Yep, I had a burger after what seemed like ages. This was a simple veggie burger with corn and black pepper [the pepper hits you on the 1st bite and it was different, the patty had a nice crunchy exterior and the bun was also nice & soft]. The burger was easy to eat, it dint have mayo oozing out of the sides or lettuce/onions slipping out as you struggle to take a bite πŸ˜€

Mango Shake- This was quite thick and quite nice, refreshing. It was made with mango puree and vanilla ice cream blended together. They have now introduced not one or two but 6 flavours in this πŸ™‚ 

Few other dishes that were served up for us veggies were,

Veg Chilli poppers- these were little nuggets made with veggies and
chilli flakes, served with basic mayo sauce – was quite bland, couldnt
feel the heat of the chilli flakes

Smileys- umm, the usual smileys, McCain?

Cottage cheese burger – forgot the name, it was ok, since we were full, I
brought it home and felt the patty was mushy and bland.
  

 

What? you are bored of reading all the veg dishes? well, you have to wait your turn. For those on the other side of the fence, that is, the non veg eaters, they got quite a few options, but most felt the dishes all tasted similar, and were quite bland… What did they gobble up?

Chicken Poppers
Buffalo wings
Chicken lollypop
A tub of what looked like fried chicken drumstick/wings and
Hottop burger
anything else? you should check Divyan’s blog post

No desserts? Damn, nothing gets past you eh!! Well, we did get 2 different desserts, but unfortunately they were no great shakes.
There was the jello with ice cream and Brownie with ice cream. The former was ok, esp since i like jello but the Brownie was just weird- it was hard, dry and tasted like Threptin biscuits. I did see a spoon break and another little piece fly towards a customer… Looks like they need to relook at the recipe or look at an alternative.
Overall rating- 2.5/5
Will i go back again- Not really, not unless there is a kid or someone who demands a burger or french fries when am wandering around Ispahani or near a Marrybrown….
Address:
Ispahani Center, 123-124 Nungambakkm High road, Nungambakkam, Chennai
Phone: 044 28332922, 42032923. 
They also have branches across the city. 

Disclaimer:

This was part of a CFG Showcase that I attended and was conducted by Chennai Food Guide.
The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience.
Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time,
so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while
visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon AppΓ©tit  πŸ™‚

Kuttanadan food fest at Ente Keralam

Do you like Fish?

Do you like Chicken?
Do you also like Crab and every other sea food available?
Do you like Aapam, Puttu, and Parotta?
Ok, ok, one final question- do you enjoy Kerala cuisine?
If you answered YES to all or any of the above, then you can hop skip jump this post and head straight to Ente Keralam and enjoy their Kuttanadan food fest. No, there is no point in you going next week.Why? Because the fest ends on 11th Nov. 
What is special? Well, there is an elderly couple who have come down from the Kuttanadan  region and have designed the menu. The lady Mrs Mariam [forgot her surname] is such an adorable lady who loves food, and it shows in the way she talks. She sat next to me, spent a few minutes and literally rattled out all the recipes. I managed to understand most of it, and some missing pieces were fitted in by Chef Jaishankar [hope i got his name right] who was with Ente keralam.
The Chef was stumped that i was there for the fest but I was vegetarian, but he smiled and said he will serve us all the veg dishes they had.. The meal began with a version of Tender Coconut Water [ tender coconut water, mint, splash of 7up, and a pinch of sugar]- I wish they had kept it as nature made it… 
Following suit was a Tapioca Cutlet and Vazhapoo vada, served with beetroot sauce and coconut chutney resp. The sauce was interesting, the vada was crisp and both dishes tasted of coconut oil. Everything here is cooked/fried in coconut oil [takes some getting used to]
I ordered aapam which was served with mix veg stew and then i had the most divine dish called Pineapple Puttu, which was served alongside kadala curry[black chick peas]. The Aappam was sweet, while the puttu was yummilicious. It had pineapple juice and pieces, and melted in your mouth[ I infact told the chef to include pineapple puttu as part of their regular menu]. You dont need a curry for this dish. I also tried a few spoons of Ghee rice with Kadala curry and quite enjoyed it. The main fest was filled with Plenty of non veg dishes- ranging from karimeen moilee to prawn polichadhu and several other fish and chicken dishes. They also had a few duck based curries and one with Clam.The Chef said clam was not common here in Chennai and again it was an acquired taste. 
The desserts were not very impressive- I was served a plate with 2 small cups- one had ada pradaman [ a payasam with little pieces of jelly like things made with milk] and a jaggery based payasam[ milk, rice and jaggery]. Loved the latter, while the former was not really my thing.  They also have a selection of ice creams and tender coconut payasam on their main menu which is available during this fest as well. 
The elderly couple came and spent some time talking to me, and she then sat next to me and said a prayer – thanking the Lord for bringing her to Chennai, introducing her to me and others, giving her the opportunity to show us what their world was like and prayed the Lord to take care of all of us and grant us all our wishes. I was so touched! She then said “I am going to go eat in the other room, you come sit with me if you want”. What a sweet lady. The man remained silent. She mentioned she cooked to earn a living, while he cooked for friends, and in temples for free, as a service. I was served a glass of strong tea with cinnamon to help cleanse the palate and help digestion before I bid adieu to the team and the couple.
Well, if you do visit Ente keralam before 11th, and are there for lunch, make sure to say a Hello this lovely couple.
Ambiance: 8/10
Food: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Price: 7/10 [ meal for 2 costs between 800 to 1300]
Locations:
Ente Keralam
AC-61, 5th Avenue, Shanthi Colony, Anna Nagar
Chennai
Tel 044 43500181

1, Kasturi Ranga Avenue 1st Street, Poes Garden, Kasturi Estate
Chennai
Tel 044 4232 8585

Old No.60,New No.115,
Kasthuri Avenue, MRC Nagar
R A Puram Chennai 600028.
Tel.: 32216590.