Kumarakom: Appam, puttu, aviyal, olan...President Pratibha Patil and her family are apparently enjoying the best of Kerala cuisine and the chefs at the Taj Retreat here are taking every care while churning out the gastronomical delights.
The hotel is whipping up its best vegetarian dishes as Patil and family are strict vegetarians, a top official of the resort told reporters.
"The feedback we have got is that our VVIP visitors have loved the Kerala food and with Onam round the corner, we are concentrating more on the typical Onam dishes like aviyal, olan, drumstick thoran and kallan to name a few and it has been received well," the official said.
But for hygiene reasons, the traditional Onam curries are not being served on plantain leaves, as is the custom on festive occasions in Kerala.
The president and her immediate family arrived here Thursday afternoon and will be here for three days.
She is scheduled to attend two programmes in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram and be the chief guest at the famed Nehru Boat Race at Alappuzha Saturday. But her base is Villa No.24 at the Taj Garden Retreat overlooking the Vembanad Lake.
Though her official butler is touring with her, he doesn`t have too much work on his hands in the kitchen.
"Of course the official butler does prepare dal (lentils) and sabji (vegetables). That is kept as a stand-by in case the president and her family prefer to have their own cuisine...But since yesterday (Thursday) dinner onwards and till she leaves tomorrow (Saturday), all the Kerala vegetarian dishes would be showcased," the resort official said, not wanting to be named.
"Today`s (Friday) breakfast menu included the traditional puttu and kadla (steamed rice cakes and black gram curry), appam and vegetable stew, and iddiappam (springhoppers) and coconut milk. They enjoyed every bit of it," he added.
And for the chefs, preparing food for the president is not difficult as she likes it with less oil, less spice and low salt.
"She is now in Thiruvananthapuram and will return for lunch and we have prepared around 24 vegetable dishes and it represents dishes from north to south of the state. Dinner would be more or less the same," the official said.