Old wine in a new bottle seems to be the trend in the food industry these days. I stumbled upon this place called ‘Chellammal Man Paanai Samayal’ (Chellammal’s mud pot cooking – the literal translation) in Trichy. Initially, I was skeptical to give it a shot as they’ve been around only for a few years now and not for several decades like the several others I’ve visited. But what really stands out is the menu, the way they make their food and the concept of the restaurant.
I am welcomed by Chellammal, the lady running the place. They are open only for lunch serving 30 different items. One can see 5 different types of kuzhambu, 5 rasams, 10 poriyals, 5 spinach varieties and 5 sweets on the menu that changes daily. Cooking out of a mud pot fueled by firewood, hand pounded spices, cold pressed sesame oil , masalas made using a grinding stone and serving these in small mud cups are the culinary secret weapons of this place.
They’ve recreated the grinding stone (ammi kal) using technology. To do justice to the food served, requires a detailed story on its own. But do check out the video that takes you through the kitchen and menu. Some of the specialities that stood out were the vazhai poo urundai kuzhambu (banana flower dumplings in a tamarind gravy), Mochai poritha kuzhambu, Ponnankanni keerai, pulicha keerai (topped with cold pressed gingely oil and shallots), Vendhaya keerai (fenugreek leaves cooked with lentils), Poonkaar arisi saadam (a local red rice with a nutty flavour and a beautiful texture) and the payasam made with ragi aval.
The Kuzhambus , Sambars and Rasamsa for the day. How beautiful does that look? L-R from below - Sprouts salad, Potato roast, Karamani, Menthiya keerai (fenugreek leaves), Avarai, Ponnankanni Keerai, Pulicha Keerai (with cold pressed sesame oil and shallots - my personal favourite), Kovakkai, Pavakkai (bitter gourd) and Vazhaikkai (raw banana). — at Trichy Tamilnadu.
Various types of spinach, vegetables cooked using cold pressed sesame oil served in mud pots. — at Trichy Tamilnadu.
To be honest, the concept behind the restaurant blew me away and trumped even the good taste! . These guys clearly have a vision and are onto something big. If you’re in Trichy, do give this place a try.
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