I went to India not knowing what to expect in terms of food. Actually, I went with the intention to be very careful about what I eat because I wanted to avoid an upset stomach at all costs.
Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. The food there was fabulous!
And I managed to complete my holiday with no ‘food incidents’ – thank God!
Here are photos of some of the things that I really enjoyed:
There were so many kinds of bananas in Kerala I was spoilt for choice! Bananas were all I saw on the street corners, on the beach, and everywhere (that and coconuts!).
One day, I decided to get all the different kinds of bananas and sample each one. Obviously I didn’t get the regular yellow bananas that we always get here; I got all the other kinds.
The baby yellow bananas were very sweet and delicious. They are just the right size for the amount of sweetness because bigger would probably have been too much sweetness. The green banana was very interesting. It had a banana taste to it with a tiny hint of bitterness/lemony flavour. The brown ‘temple’ banana was very mild; it was a nice blend between the two tastes. Not too sweet, not too bland, not too banana-ey. It is something that you could have as a meal, I guess that would explain the size. I paused for a moment when I was done. I decided that I liked the green banana most; to me it was the most exotic tasting. And I would probably have the temple banana as a meal if I was really hungry. In fact, I think it’s even used in a few South Indian dishes (with coconut, etc.). Overall, ‘yum’ rating was very high for all the bananas, especially because they were fresh.
I guess I knew that India was the ‘land of spice’ but I really saw it for myself this time. There were spice shops everywhere in Kerala (no really, EVERYWHERE!). I loved how you can see the plants that these spices come from.
The photo above is of fresh peppercorns. It grows on a huge climby tree. You taste one of these cute little things and you die. The sweet taxi driver that showed me the plant also demonstrated eating one. His face changed colour and he was coughing and clearing his throat all the way home! Imagine what would have happened to me if I had tried it!
The spices are apparently ‘organic’, although I don’t know enough about organic laws in India. The local fresh Kerala spices and herbs included black/white pepper, nutmeg, curry leaves, dried tamarind, and beautiful vanilla pods. YUM!
South Indian Cuisine
The South Indian cuisine really suited me very well. I loved everything about it!
I had dosa for breakfast (see above). I love dosa and I even try to have it here in Bahrain at home (see my dosa party from a few weeks ago). The dosa in the first picture above is a Masala dosa and it was to-die-for! It is a rice-based ‘pancake’ with potato filling and a lentil curry-like dip.
The other dish in the photo is called Thoran. I got introduced to it on this trip and I loved it. It’s basically a mixture of coconuts and curry leaves with any vegetable such as cabbage, etc. The one you see here is made with green beans. Very mild and absolutely lovely.
All the South Indian dishes that I tried were great. Fish dishes were abundant and delicious. On my last night I tried a local fish served in coconut curry on banana leaf. It was so good I still dream about it sometimes.
The only time I encountered a problem was when one of the waiters thought I was from India (which they often did until I correct them) and was very generous with the chilli factor 🙂
Ayur restaurant in this photo serves organic ayurvedic dishes. An ayurvedic dish, I was told, is cooked with ayurvedic instructions (but I didn’t ask further) and with ayurvedic herbs and spices. The result is very often delicious. Here is the onion dosa with coconut chutney and the ayurvedic banana stem juice that I had there.
Can’t forget the coconuts!
I can’t end this blog post without mentioning the coconuts. Kerala might as well have been called the ‘land of coconuts’. I have honestly never seen so many coconut trees in my life!
Coconuts are on the trees, on the beach, on the street… everywhere. You can just have one cut open for you and sip it as you stroll down the beach. Very very refreshing. And the best part? coconut water seems to somehow stay cool inside the coconut, so you get a cool refreshing drink in spite of the heat and humidity.
That’s not all!
I have so much more to tell you! Stay tuned for my upcoming posts about my Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment in Kerala and an audio interview with the ayurvedic doctor himself!
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