Can the Calicut Heritage Forum preserve the best of Malabar food?


(Photo of Malabar Prawn Biryani, from Eastern Spices)

Ever since Sunita’s family introduced me to the absolutely crazy food in Calicut (Kozhikode), I consider myself a staunch honorary citizen. If luscious food weren’t enough, Calicut is also one of India’s ancient cities; the centre of the old world’s spice trade, particularly Pepper trade. So, it has Food & History going for it, which is two strong strikes for that city.

So, when I heard that the good citizens of the city have set up a Calicut Heritage Forum, I was very pleased.

Given Calicut’s ancient links to the larger world through the spice trade, the local cuisine is probably one of the world’s earliest ‘fusion cuisines’, what with its influences from the ancient Tamil Kingdoms, the Arabs on their way to Malacca and later the Mulsims from Central Asia via India’s north. Maybe someone can help document and develop this aspect – say, The Top 100 recipes of Malabar. Maybe someone could even set up a ‘School of Ancient Malabar Cooking’!

I for one, will feel happy contributing time, effort and resources to this noble cause. In the meantime, if any of you get to Calicut, please do check out the Malabar Biryani & the Prawn Fry at Paragon restaurant under the flyover in downtown Calicut.

You might want to check all my other Calicut posts before you go.

Or maybe read my posts on Kerala.

Or, all my posts on Food.


7 thoughts on “Can the Calicut Heritage Forum preserve the best of Malabar food?

  1. Calicut cuisine, perfected over centuries by adopting the best of Arab, Tamil, East Asia, Sinhalese and some Mughal practices (‘dum pukht’) deserves to be preserved and popularised as a key ingredient of the composite culture of Calicut.
    Paragon is easily one of the best specimens of authentic Calicut food. But there are other joints like Asma Tower and Sagar ( both on Mavoor Road) and the one and only Zains ( off the beach road, opposite the Fire Station). The last one specialises in Calicut Muslim dishes and is a homely place where the owner attends personally to each customer!
    Sorry, vegetarians!

  2. Dear Doc – welcome to my blog. Glad you gave the heads up for Paragon too. I am pretty crazy about their crispy fried prawns. Incidentally, I have just got back a packet of fried dry prawns from Thailand and the similarities are interesting.

  3. dear hari

    out here in Al Ain which is sandwiched between Dubai and Abudhabi 2 cities with plenty of choices the choice here is limited to lot of small time keral eateries and pak ones with some posh one sbut none making good biriyanis

  4. Great Post!. but did you know the biryani you get in calicut itself is of different types ?. I mean the preperation is totally different in different parts of calicut. I still dont know how authentic it is

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