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The “Kappa, Meen Curry and Kattan Kappi” memories

Nancy Vijo Wednesday, June 2, 2021
The “Kappa, Meen Curry and Kattan Kappi” memories

The steam wafted up to my nose as I lifted the lid of the fish curry that bubbled and boiled in the clay pot – bringing nostalgic memories of my home back in Kerala. I held both sides of the clay pot and gently moved it in a round motion, carefully copying the movements taught by my papa in law – so the fish pieces are stirred and still intact in shape. On the burner besides the fish, I was frying red shallots and curry leaves to garnish and mix in the boiled tapioca. I poured it hot into the ready tapioca and covered it with more tapioca to lock in the flavor and the aroma – again another trick taught by my papa in law. On another burner, chicory coffee simmered and I added the sugar. The smell was heavenly. Vijo kept popping in and out of the kitchen with THAT grin on his face. Don’t get me wrong, that’s the grin of the promised prospect of “kappa, meen curry and kattan kappi” (Malayalam : Tapioca, Fish Curry and Chicory black coffee). As I covered the fish again and lowered the flame to let it simmer a bit more, a smile caught my lips. For in my mind’s eye – all I could see is the black tempered glass teak wood table that could seat around 12 people - full in capacity - when all of us are back home. I could hear the laughter and the small talks, I could hear the clanks of the plates against the glass top as we passed on the “kappa and meen curry”. Kappa and Meen curry was a common breakfast / lunch / dinner at my inlaws. Kappa and Meen Curry was served when we have guests at home. It had to be coupled with hot, sweet, steaming chicory black coffee. That made the complete meal. Kappa and Meen Curry wasn’t just a common dish for us, it was everything. It symbolized togetherness, it symbolized our love and family times, it symbolized our heritage and culture.

I kept the clay put loaded on a steel holder to diffuse off the heat on the table, brought in the kappa and served them on the plate and poured chicory coffee into the cups. I dint have to call Vijo to come for dinner, he was already seated at the table with the same sparkle in his eye and the smile that caused the wrinkles around his eyes (one of the many features I love about him). Little Ezza was trying hard to climb up on the chairs and onto the table so she could happy dip her little fingers into all our plates. Eva sat across and next to her “Appa”, ready for our dinner time conversations. As we sat down to eat, we spoke about everything under the sky. The spice and tanginess from the fish curry were watering my eyes, but as I looked across the table over to Vijo, he was happily in conversation with Eva, relishing the dish. I had my family around me, but yet; there was this deep sense of “missing”. I missed my Brother in law Tom and his wife Rini and my neice Dhanu with whom we used to have this dish when they were in Kuwait. I missed my Brother in law Jovi and his wife Anjaly and my newest nephew Nathen and the times we gathered around to have the same dish back at their home in Chennai. I missed my mommy, my papa and Kichu as we sat around our 30 year old table back in Thrissur to have kappa and meen on special occasions. I missed my papa in law and the big black tempered glass table around which all of us gathered during vacations and laughed and shared moments while we passed this very dish around. I could hear the sound of the pouring rains, I could feel the wind bringing in droplets of rain onto the table and I could feel the coolness. Memories…memories profound, all brought in by this one dish – Kappa and Meen Curry.

It’s funny how one dish can make you miss a hundred people at the same time. It’s astonishing how one dish can bring back such nostalgic memories that all you want is to just go back home just to have those moments again. It’s amazing how one waft of this dish makes you miss your homeland and your family. It’s mind blogging how one dish can arouse all your senses, throwing you into the past, into memories and times that are deeply embedded in your hearts.

I’m sure we all have that one dish that brings back a plethora or memories for you, right? That one dish that reminds you of home, your families and everything that you hold dear? Which is that dish? What memories do they bring you? In these times where we are unable to visit our loved ones, I guess all we can do is share that dish and the memories that they hold, so that we may find comfort in another, that we may find this sense of happiness in reading your moments, that through this; we build an invisible bond - of food, friendship, positivity and memories.

Nancy is a creative art person,a writer and a motivational speaker. After almost 7 and a half years of her career in HR and Corporate Training in various hierarchical levels; she decided to turn to Applied Behavioral Therapy, trying to make a difference in the life of Autistic kids. She loves designing and choreographing and has anchored various shows in an out of Kuwait and India. She believes in Karma - that what you give is what you get. She writes with the belief that if her writings brings about a positive vibe in the life of a person who reads it - even if it is for a fleeting moment - she would be blessed. Being a vivid observer, she only writes on true experiences.
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Thejeswi Menon
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Beautifully a favourite delicacy brings in so much flavour on your pallet along with umpteen cherished memories.......

Thank you for penning down this delicious treat ....keep going...😃

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