On December 10 in Kannur town, and on Friday in Malappuram, people on the streets were served Malabar biriyani, the mouth-watering dish from North Kerala. Though it was delicious, the taste was different because the dish had no onions in it.
The exercise was part of a protest led by the Kerala Cooking Workers' Union (KCWU) against the hike in the prices for onions and other groceries in the country.
More than 1,200 people were served biriyani in both Kannur and Malappuram.
The protesters cooked the biriyani on the street and distributed it to the public.
"Ever since the onion prices surged, we had days without work. People are postponing their functions due to the high prices. Usually, in the months of November and December, we used to get a lot of work. But now we have no income," Haneef VC, KCWU Kannur district secretary, told TNM.
He also said that by this protest, they wanted to proclaim that soon, there will be a time when the common people start cooking without onions.
"It has been just a few decades since we started using onion in all our dishes. Earlier, we did not use it. So soon, we will have to go back to the old era," he said.
The protesters used carrot, tomato and other spices - all except onion to cook biriyani.
Haneef also alleged that onion prices are increasing as the middlemen get a huge profit. The protesters also mentioned the price surge for biriyani rice as well as drumstick.
"Earlier, biriyani rice was Rs 70 per kilogram. Now, it has increased to Rs 115. How will we manage? The price of drumstick is also increasing. So, we will have to learn to make sambar without drumsticks," Haneef said.
In Kannur, the protest was at Caltex junction and in Malappuram, it was near the Collectorate.
"We don't want to trouble anybody by blocking the road or conducting violent protests. We just know to cook and we protest through that. We don't know any profession other than this," he added.