THERE ISN'T A PALETTE MORE DIVERSE THAN AN INDIAN ONE. AND YOU'D BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND THAT KIND OF VARIETY FROM JUST A SINGLE SECTION OF THE COUNTRY ANYWHERE ELSE.
One of the earnest ideas behind The Permit Room is to introduce people to the sheer variety of traditional South Indian cuisine, but with a modern-day take on it. Essentially it's recipes from your ajji's (Kannada for grandma) kitchen, but served in a rather modern, and also cocktail-friendly form. Your ajji may or may not approve.
Thindi Tales is an attempt to take you one step deeper, the equivalent of getting you to eat meals with your fingers, and hopefully help you appreciate south-indian cuisine in all its gastronomic glory.
If you’re from Kerala, or anywhere in the world really, (most notably the Middle East), there’s a good chance you’ve heard about this dish. Tried it even. And also been given the history behind it as well.
Well, we’d like to add our two baits (see what we did there...ok you did)—presenting the Meen Moilee Kappa.
The main thing you need to know (and the only thing that really matters) is that this dish is 100% straight up mallu. (#represent)
That's why you have to roll that tongue when you say 'moilee' and make sure you stress on the double-p in 'kappa' to ensure you sound like you know what you're talking about.
The dish itself is a famous fish curry in that area of the south, and has kind of been around in the kitchens of Kerala since fish have been in the sea. (We exaggerate. You get it.)
So, to break it down, ‘meen’ is Malayalam for fish, the word ‘moilee’ translates to stew, and 'kappa', which is the other ingredient in our version, is nothing but tapioca. (also a cool substitute for more things than you’d imagine.)
A Little History
The origin of this dish can be traced back to when the Portuguese occupied the coasts of Kerala.
It certainly explains the mild flavouring of the dish, belonging to an otherwise flavour-heavy cuisine.
Believed to be a typically Syrian Christian dish, the traditional method of serving this dish used to be in an earthen vessel, with some appam on the side, you know, for touchings. (Literally.)
At The Permit Room
Our Moilee is basically a mild coconut-milk based stew. We keep it mild so that the focus stays on the flavour of the fish.
You can use pretty much any kind of fish for this dish, but at our place the fish of choice is a poached brown Grouper Fish served as a fillet, on a nice, big bed of tapioca mash.
Our Chef Says
“Our Meen Moilee is one of those delightfully mild dishes, which while not being too heavily flavoured, still has a whole bunch of gustatory delights within it. It goes great with everything from rice to appams to idiyappams, and is definitely a must-try for anyone who claims to love fish.”
***A Cool Maccha Fact*** (look out for these, like, a little)
Another cool kappa connection with Kerala is Kappa TV, a Malayalam television and YouTube channel, where a whole bunch of local South-Indian (and other) local bands are featured and promoted. There! Take it and go.