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Another taste of Kerala


Kerala
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On 7/16/2022 at 7:50 PM, TicTac said:

Would love to hear more about the prep and spices used on your new favourite squid prep!

 

Looks awesome. 

Sorry @TicTac

I've been away a couple of days, still on holiday. I asked my mum. The squid is coated in "a little" chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, salt and ground black pepper, then shallow fried in coconut oil. A neutral oil like sunflower would be fine.

I think the secret, though, is in the freshness of the squid and the judgement about doneness. Apologies for stating the obvious.

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Posted (edited)

IMG_20220714_180320.thumb.jpg.70861d72f44af794e2312c544aee9485.jpgWe were sitting around at a loose end and my brother in law had a brilliant idea-"Come on guys, let's go to the toddy shop!" IMG_20220714_180305.thumb.jpg.89960bd3e12467d51a444ac288f03f58.jpg

It's not quite like popping down the pub. There's a disreputability and dissolution associated that's still not shaken off despite my brother in law's protestations. "Oh, no, it's not like that anymore! People go there nowadays  with their families!" He's ten years older than me, retired from a career in international banking, but he still avoided answering my father who asked where we were going. "Just heading out!"

IMG_20220719_214531.thumb.jpg.bdaac4c116be0f392b839e4ab670cb20.jpg

Toddy (kallu) is a beer from the sap of the coconut palm. A cut made at the growing tip of the palm drips sap into a pot overnight. At dawn a man shimmies up the palm and collects the toddy. At this point it is sweet, effervescent and already 1-2% alcohol. Perfect for providing the leavening for appam, the rice flour pancakes that go with istew for breakfast.

IMG_20220718_151431.thumb.jpg.2b2a3d017fd31822e21a92a7e8b05150.jpg

This picture of appam borrowed from later events.

By the afternoon it's about 4%, by the evening maybe 6-7%. By the next day it's 10%, and apparently no higher as it is illegal to sell at a higher strength! We had the 1 day brew which was sweet and somewhat yeasty, and the 2 day brew, which was noticeably stronger with a more pungent taste, like an very strongly flavoured craft beer. Or like licking an unvarnished wooden table. IMG_20220714_165552.thumb.jpg.fac1f79dff3ad071d7498f55d7e0a57d.jpg

Toddy shops have a reputation for cheap but authentic Malayali food. The expectation is also that the food will be hot, to cut through the booze. Drinkers who were traditionally poorly paid manual workers would come off shift, have a drink then six, spend most of their daily wages and go home to be obnoxious at home. Hence the bad reputation.

The picture above shows tapioca, absolutely traditional, withIMG_20220714_165602.thumb.jpg.a97932dabaf2ea50c295a38c90be8ab7.jpg

chicken pepper fry and

IMG_20220714_165557.thumb.jpg.34285175d0b8ea768ef430c7e0fd172b.jpg

duck mappas, a milder curry. No cutlery, but we had access to a tap to wash our hands. IMG_20220714_180024.thumb.jpg.ced1d5f146f806eb7e4be2c203acf54b.jpg

We got through four 600ml bottles between four of us, working up a pleasant but definite beer buzz. Then home like schoolkids who'd just smoked a toke.

IMG_20220721_161127.thumb.jpg.146b3e5af9a9d477e8f205fa81654f4e.jpg

 

Edited by Kerala
Pics, spelling, grammar. (log)
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That is funny abut old ideas lingering around toddy shops  "shh don't tell dad"

 

The food looks great especially the appam.

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 A home breakfast. IMG_20220714_085917.thumb.jpg.d5b4c5a46b272a583e80d21e423c19e1.jpg

Masala dosa with chammanthi and sambar. The dosa is not as grand as a commercial one. The skills and prep for getting all that, including the masala stuffing, ready for 7am - I won't be doing this back in England. Will miss it for sure.

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Chammanthi is grated coconut ground with shallots, chillies, ginger and other herbs. It is served with dosa and idli. Sambar is a lentil and vegetable stew with a distinctive spice mix which includes cumin, coriander and fenugreek. If you like vegetarian food (and spice) I recommend seeking out a Tamil or Kerala restaurant.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, KennethT said:

@KeralaHow do people make the batter for dosa/etc.  They're ground, right?  Is it typical to do it by hand or do people have the mechanized wet grinders like this ?

Oh, you're asking a person who eats this food but never makes it. So I asked an expert, my mother. Bless her, it's my last night in India on this trip, and she offered to make me dosa as I was asking.

We used to grind the grain by hand using an aatukallu.

Thankfully these granite mortar and pestle are mainly ornamental now, as they require a huge amount of manual labour. We have one in the house, but it's no longer used.

In our house in India we soak the urad daal and rice then use a mixi or a grinder like the one you linked. Electromechanical, in any case.

My sisters in the UK use preground flours, readily available in Asian shops in most cities. I'd be lying if I said I could taste the difference.

Edited by Kerala (log)
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On 7/19/2022 at 7:05 PM, Kerala said:

IMG_20220714_180320.thumb.jpg.70861d72f44af794e2312c544aee9485.jpgWe were sitting around at a loose end and my brother in law had a brilliant idea-"Come on guys, let's go to the toddy shop!"


Fantastic … you would not know what I would give to join in on such a place. Cheap & local drinking places like that are just heaven. Thanks for that 🙏

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Posted (edited)

The fish lady came round again. My mum went a bit crazy with the squid after all the positive feedback.

2 kilograms of squid. IMG_20220722_101210.thumb.jpg.548d26ea74331fcd07369659d57867ea.jpg

She's making way too much food. Here's dinner:

IMG_20220722_103346.thumb.jpg.a95aea5f4359ef0c0c43c51e0487fb7a.jpg

Prawns, fried.

IMG_20220722_104256.thumb.jpg.6fced9e29bf53f7ff3230235f0c24282.jpg

Daal.

IMG_20220722_104347.thumb.jpg.b2c08b2947222665ef0ce2e6e8b1996c.jpg

Chicken curry-quite hot this time.  IMG_20220722_101955.thumb.jpg.cab4cb7b524b0300256a07f0545f3f06.jpg

Beans thoran.

IMG_20220722_102046.thumb.jpg.34f751970a3f829fc7e622fcee8decae.jpg

Avial with moringa pods. I've only ever heard these called "drumsticks" in English, never "moringa," even though the Malayalam is "muringakaa" literally "moringa pods." IMG_20220722_102136.thumb.jpg.42a89a18dec7a7bd6416b8f5aaf5996d.jpg

(Some of) the squid.

 

Edited by Kerala
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A couple of late additional photos of our breakfast at Guruvayur after the rice feeding. These were just WhatsApped to me.

IMG-20220722-WA0042.thumb.jpg.d49ab0375f090fc072e69f14ed96d293.jpg

Puri with a potato curry.

IMG-20220722-WA0043.thumb.jpg.e112d0a3bc615c413fcb85fb70481e5b.jpg

Ghee-roast dosa. Extra ghee, I guess.

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Paper dosa. Just paper-thin. IMG-20220722-WA0044.thumb.jpg.af9337a59cd54117f2f025ccf893ac93.jpg

I'm back in England as I write this. Possibly for the first time in my life, I'm nostalgic for vegetarian food.

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2 hours ago, Kerala said:

A couple of late additional photos of our breakfast at Guruvayur after the rice feeding. These were just WhatsApped to me.

IMG-20220722-WA0042.thumb.jpg.d49ab0375f090fc072e69f14ed96d293.jpg

Puri with a potato curry.

IMG-20220722-WA0043.thumb.jpg.e112d0a3bc615c413fcb85fb70481e5b.jpg

Ghee-roast dosa. Extra ghee, I guess.

IMG-20220722-WA0045.thumb.jpg.1595342023918881446549d4f75f04fa.jpg

Paper dosa. Just paper-thin. IMG-20220722-WA0044.thumb.jpg.af9337a59cd54117f2f025ccf893ac93.jpg

I'm back in England as I write this. Possibly for the first time in my life, I'm nostalgic for vegetarian food.

Oh my gosh, those drumsticks. We have tried growing them here, not successfully yet. It’s been too wet.
Umm, also those dosas look fabulous.

Edited by sartoric
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I know you are in the UK, but don't know where. But I'm betting you know Drummond Street in London. Vegetarian Indian food central.

I studied then worked at University College London just across the road for years and Drummond Street was my canteen! And I'm not even vegetarian!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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There's just a bit more to come! I thought my last post might imply the end of the blog, but no. I am back in the UK in real time, but a few days left of the trip to report!

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Posted (edited)
On 7/23/2022 at 12:47 PM, liuzhou said:

I know you are in the UK, but don't know where. But I'm betting you know Drummond Street in London. Vegetarian Indian food central.

I live in the Midlands, @liuzhou

I don't know Drummond Street, but I know UCL. I will bear it in mind.

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Posted (edited)

Lunch at home, rather fancy presentation.

IMG_20220724_113446.thumb.jpg.d83bdfcea5ea6e48789013d2c879a5ae.jpg

 

Prawns with fried rice

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Fried mackerel

IMG_20220716_124840.thumb.jpg.c8c312f3a756fc8dc0d8b9a20056edd1.jpg

Raita.

Quite mild in spiciness for my family.  Lovely meal for us before we headed off for a mini-break within the holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Kerala (log)
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Posted (edited)

After several hectic days, we went off to an Ayurvedic spa beach resort, The Niraamaya Surya Samudra. IMG_20220718_130153.thumb.jpg.b455a38d7252aad2d76447fbe416b334.jpg

Sometimes it's nice just to stop.

IMG_20220717_150836.thumb.jpg.465c90de18aa83b893df3fbd1a50229b.jpg

Kingfisher lager, 8.7%. It's got a little more body than lager sold in the UK, and I don't think that's just down to the %. I rarely drink lager in England. I prefer ales and such.

IMG_20220717_152941.thumb.jpg.f84707085f4581e5dd529f154bec2bad.jpg

 

Chilli chicken. Self explanatory!

IMG_20220717_152743.thumb.jpg.106704d3a1d66b09ce502c98a88b0e07.jpg

With chapati.

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My youngest daughter had a chicken and celery soup. Delicious. She'd had enough curry, bless her.

IMG_20220717_153105.thumb.jpg.a96269ac8ec9aafd33457ade3dc13afa.jpg

My eldest had appam and stew, again a mild option. Conventionally breakfast food, but, on holiday, so go wild! IMG_20220717_152932.thumb.jpg.36510767cb0ceca8adeeaff75703051a.jpg

My middle daughter went for a grilled chicken and apple salad. Not overcooked, always a risk with Western dishes in India.

I think it's safe to say my family have had their annual quota of curry.

IMG_20220717_140214.thumb.jpg.bcf868f0d1c0851337f0469046bf7abe.jpg

Our cottage, built to look like a traditional village house, but with air conditioning, running hot water and WiFi. IMG_20220717_162420.thumb.jpg.85a243c94888ebe4944f8394b4dc2480.jpg

 

Edited by Kerala (log)
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Posted (edited)

I had a big plate of fruit at breakfast. Light and refreshing. Bananas, water melon, papaya, pineapple. The lime really lifts the fruit - I've never tried that before. IMG_20220718_102109.thumb.jpg.f7144b6b075f47f1ef975d839ca7297c.jpg

Also chicken sausages, scrambled eggs and toast, which all looked as you would expect. The eggs were overdone, which is standard in India.

Edited by Kerala (log)
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30 minutes ago, Kerala said:

I had a big plate of fruit at breakfast. Light and refreshing. Bananas, water melon, papaya, pineapple. The lime really lifts the fruit - I've never tried that before. IMG_20220718_102109.thumb.jpg.f7144b6b075f47f1ef975d839ca7297c.jpg

Also chicken sausages, scrambled eggs and toast, which all looked as you would expect. The eggs were overdone, which is standard in India.

Putting lime on fruit is really common basically everywhere I've been in SE Asia.  It makes dragonfruit taste great!  Another good thing is a little dish filled with salt/chilli.  Or what they do in parts of Vietnam - make a paste out of lime/salt/chilli.

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