Rocky Singh's Expedition: Mandi Finds A Place In Kerala's Heart
Image Credit: Instagram/rockyandmayur

Rocky Singh travelled around Kerala in search of more delicious food. Through their television programme, "Highway on the Plate," food enthusiasts and friends Rocky and Mayur Sharma had already discovered lesser-known restaurants, well-liked cafes, and regional specialities throughout the nation, assisting in the growth of street food culture. Currently, the host of a popular TV show, #RoadTrippinWithRnM is in its seventh season, allowing them to discover and revisit lovely and amazing restaurants along the way.

On July 17, he set out from the Kovalam beach in Thiruvananthapuram, where he intended to discover the many culinary options in Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, and Palakkad. Rocky would frequently post three to five videos a day, each one showcasing a different cafe or restaurant in one of these places. Rocky also included games and quizzes in the show.

The mandi, a Yemeni delicacy Rocky tried at Kubaba in Alappuzha, was one of the delicacies that he identified as new in Kerala. He explained how an eight-foot-deep pit of embers was used to cook the spicy rice. The chicken and mutton were supported by a wire mesh that was positioned above the rice, which allowed the meats to cook through a combination of steam from the rice and heat from the embers. According to Rocky, the rice's flavour was enhanced by the barbecued meat's drippings.

A Brief History Of Mandi

Mandi's origins may be traced back to Yemeni culture, which is well ingrained and reflects long-standing culinary customs. It has considerable historical significance and has its roots in Yemen's Hadhramaut region in the southern Arabian Peninsula. Mandi first became popular with Bedouin tribes, who relied on it while travelling nomadic through the parched desert landscapes.

The meat was carefully cooked over hot coals using a special cooking technique that featured a tandoor oven buried in the ground, producing tender and tasty bits. Mandi grew over time to become an essential component of Yemeni cuisine, standing for principles like hospitality, generosity, and community.

Today, Mandi has gained popularity outside of Yemen, spreading across the globe. Mandi has become a widely sought-after meal thanks to Yemeni populations and restaurants in a number of nations, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom, and others.

Mandi has gained popularity among fans of Indian cuisine, especially in Kerala, where it is known as "kuzhimanthi." Numerous restaurants selling Arabian food in the area use the traditional preparation method, which involves cooking it in a pit beneath the ground that is heated with charcoal.

The year before, Rocky travelled to Kerala for a show about Kerala duck and its different recipes. He saw a change in Kerala's gastronomic scene. In the past, foods like shawarma and Kerala chicken fry were seen as recent additions to the local cuisine. The availability of Arabic food, he noted, has increased noticeably and now includes a wide range of dishes, from sweets and appetisers to major courses. He emphasised that Kerala's continued openness to absorbing and integrating components from many culinary traditions has improved the state's culture.