Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboodiri, the celebrated chef of Kerala, is on cloud nine. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Namboodiri and his son Yadhukrishna after partaking of the Onam sadya (feast) they had prepared at the BJP national council meet in Kozhikode. "Sadya gambeeram (excellent feast)", said Modi, in Malayalam, to Namboodiri, and patted him.
Said Namboodiri to THE WEEK, “I was so happy after the prime minister congratulated me and my son. The prime minister was served traditional Kerala food on a banana leaf and he didn’t waste any dish that was served to him. He especially liked a few dishes—like kootu curry and pineapple pachadi—and asked for a second serving. He liked the payasam (kheer). He said he relished the palada (rice condensed milk-based) payasam more than the godambh (wheat) payasam.”
Namboodiri said that Modi, Arun Jaitley, L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and a few other BJP leaders had lunch in a separate chamber in the hall, while the other delegates had Onam sadya in the common hall.
“The Special Protection Group had imposed restrictions. So we couldn’t make the PM have everything we had planned for the Onam sadya. The SPG commandos tasted the food before it was served to the PM,” said Namboodiri.
The state BJP general secretary M.T. Ramesh introduced Namboodiri to the PM.
“All the other delegates also liked the food I had prepared for them. For many, it was a first-time experience with traditional Kerala food,” said Namboodiri.