The other day I overheard some people discussing the prices of food in various restaurants in Thiruvananthapuram and other parts of Kerala. They were of the opinion that all the food and its ingredients are the same everywhere and the only different is the cook, who makes the dishes, and the ambiance of the restaurant. As a person who has been in the restaurant business for the past several years, I was really surprised and sorry to hear that. Of course the taste of the food and the ambiance are really important factors that determine the acceptance of a restaurant; but there are hundreds of other small and seemingly unimportant things that makes a huge impact in the successful running of a restaurant.
On this occasion, I would like to enlighten you about some of the routine followed at Vazhiyorakkada. We have been successfully running this family restaurant for the past 18 years and I would like to share with you some of the topics about food and its ingredients and preparation that we have followed over the years.
No Menu Card
Those who have visited Vazhiyorakkada might have noticed the absence of menu card on the tables. The reason why there is no menu card in our restaurant is that we prepare only the items (vegetables, fish, and meat) that are available in the market on a particular day. Usually in other restaurants fish and meat items are purchased in bulk and refrigerated for 2 or 3 days, and served/prepared as per the requirement. But we are against using refrigerated products as it is not tasty and not good for health.
Another reason for not providing menu card is that if we prepare a menu card with 40 to 50 items and do not provide all the items, it will have a bad impact on the customers. So, we are not risking to provide a partially available menu to the customers.
No Use of Broiler Chicken
At Vazhiyorakkada we do not use broiler chicken for making dishes. This is because we believe that genetically modified chickens are not healthy and does not give the taste of the traditional curry. We have never used broiler chicken in our restaurant. Instead, we only use ‘naadan’ chicken mostly purchased from local poultry farms that we personally know. The ‘naadan’ chickens altogether have a different taste and flavor, and is the best choice for making the traditional Kerala chicken curry. I do not think that there are many restaurants in Kerala that strictly provide dishes made with naadan chicken. This is one thing that makes us different from other restaurants.
Use of Milk Purchased from Local Farmers
Milk for the use at vazhiyorakkada is sourced locally from farmers, which is readily available at Kilimanoor and nearby places. Since it is sourced directly from farmers, we can made sure that all the milk are completely natural and no artificial preservatives are added to it . This milk is used for the preparation of tea at our shop and is also used for making curd. This curd is processed without using water for the preparation of ‘pulisheri’ and other dishes made with curd. We do not use packaged milk or curd for use in our shop.
No Reuse of Cooking Oil
Cooking oil is an important factor in the preparation of any food item. The taste of the food depends on the quality of the oil used. If we do a little research about oils used in restaurants, we can understand that there are many types of oils available in the market. There are first quality oil, second quality oil, and even recycled oil that is available at half the rate of normal cooking oil. However, we have only been using ‘chakkil attiya velichenna’ (traditionally refined coconut oil), sourced from a local shop, for the past 18 years. Even though its price is about 15 to 20 Rs higher than normal, we still use it since it is our policy to give only the best to our customers. Actually, it is the choice of the shop owner as to what ingredients that he should use for making food in his shop.
It should also be noted that we do not reuse cooking oil used in our shop. After using oil for frying and other preparations we discard the oil and never reuse or sell it.
Hygienic Processing of Poultry
Another thing that we follow at Vazhiyorakkada is the way we process poultry at our restaurant. We source the chicken from local farms, and ducks directly from Kuttanad in Alappuzha. We bring live poultry from these places and keeps it in our farms, and then process them as needed. The processing of these poultry is done by following certain steps. The birds are killed only 30 minutes before the need at restaurant. In most of the restaurants all the poultry are processed in the morning and refrigerated for later use, but here we do not do that. First we kill these birds and then remove the feathers after dipping it in boiling water.
Later we dip it in turmeric water and then apply turmeric paste and then heat it. We then cut it, wash thoroughly and then added directly to make the curry. The whole process takes about 25 to 30 minutes. Although it cost about 3 times the normal rate, we still follow it so that the customer get the best food. We have been following this since the beginning of our restaurant and never used any broiler chicken even where there was scarcity for naadan chicken.
Effective Waste Management System.
Every restaurant should have an effective waste management system and it is a really important factor in maintaining the cleanliness of a restaurant. We are proud to inform you that we have a very effective waste management system in place at vazhiyorakkada. We make sure that all the waste produced at our restaurant is disposed at our premises and nothing goes out except non-biodegradable waste.
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