Maundy Thursday is remembered by Christians world over for the last super before the crucifixion. The bread and wine shared by Jesus with his disciples as body and blood is the basis of the Holy Sacrament.
Malayalees, including me, observe this on the Maundy Thursday dinner time, when the head of the family cut a special appam called INRI Appam and a juice like preparation called Paal and distribute among the family members.
INRI is the inscription on the Holy Cross as an abbreviation suggested by Pontius Pilate. The appam is pronounced in Malayalam as ‘Indry’ and it was only recently that I realised that it’s from INRI.
Sunu, my wife used to make them for all the past years and this year (yesterday) I volunteered. It turned out well, except that the kitchen was a real mess.
While making, I was thinking of the tradition and how Keralaits evolved this variation which now is made on the exact consistency and taste by Malayalees the world over.
By the way, we place a cross made from the palm leaf we receive from church on Palm Sunday. The one I have on the appam is from the Catholic Church in Gold Coast, Australia where we went on Palm Sunday. The tradition has to be followed!
The most common bread for the Malayalee is appam, a rice powder based preparation. Even the Malayalam translation of the Bible has bread mentioned as Appam.
But appam is fermented. Also wine for a Malayalee is alcohol and it’s fermented. Then how can we have fermented appam and alcoholic wine for a sacred remembrance!
Here I can see the influence of women in Kerala and the result is the INRI appam or the pesaha appam and a wine looking preparation of jaggery and coconut milk, named paal which is milk and not wine.
The combination is unique and of excellent taste.