If you’ve seen the Malayalam movie, Thanmatra – one of Mohanlal’s hits – you might remember the particular scene where Nedumudi Venu (acting as Mohanlal's father) and Mohanlal are in the kitchen, where he tries to recreate a dish which Mohanlal's deceased mother character used to make.
In that scene, there’s a dialogue, that strikes a chord with me. When they talk about her cooking, Nedumudi says “ruchiyum manavum onnum aarum koode kondu pokunnilalo” (nobody takes along their tastes and smell when they leave this earth).
The above sentence is really true in the case of this recipe. This is Jose's paternal grandmother's recipe. Ammachi passed away when Jose was a kid. Though I've never met her, I feel like I know what she was like because every time, we have Ethakkappam, Jose says his Ammachi used to make the best ever Pazham Boli (that's what he calls Ethakkappam) and that conversation leads to other stories of her and so on. From what I've heard she was a very active person, an amazing cook and she liked to chat a lot :) Even after so many years since she left this place, she is very much remembered through the wonderful tastes that she left behind.
For that matter, I've never met my paternal grandmother, she passed away even before I was born. I consider it as one of my life’s misfortunes. More than her food, I've heard from Appa about my resemblance to her! I still remember, Appa holding one of my wedding photos and kinda looking lost. I asked him what happened and he said that photo of mine reminded him so much of his mother!
Different things can remind us of our dear ones, it can be a song, a painting, a film, book etc; But I think the one that strikes the most emotion is food. I often receive mails, saying how the taste of a particular dish or a food pic brought back the memories of their loved ones. Food has the power to open up our carefully bottled emotions in a whiff, what do you think?
So here is the recipe for this absolutely delicious Roasted Cashew and Coconut Chammanthi of Jose's Ammachi (God bless her soul). I've a soft corner for any kind of Thenga chammanthi and this one takes it to another level. Whether you are on lent or not, this Chammanthi is a good option for your lunch menu. Just try it with rice and some plain yoghurt. I also like it with Dosa and Idli.