God’s Own Country – Part 1
The Journey Towards
So ever since I understood basics in life, I loved to travel. The mode of transport didn’t quite matter. Although I until this day prefer travelling by rail or road, eventually, flights got cheaper and I earned more money, so well, my privileges got better of me, just for the want of taking less time to travel to my desired destination.
But the older you grow, and the more you see life, you figure that small things like changing of the geography while you travel across the length and breadth of India or the world, with a mode of transport that lets you explore and enjoy the same, is unparalleled! So, over the years of comfortably subjecting myself to my flying like a bird syndrome, I have realised that either the road or the rail route is something that I really love. Yes, I know, simple pleasures in life take a while to realise when you are blinded with the shimmering high-class travel options, but trust me, there is nothing like when you hit the road.
For the longest time my parents, me and my dogs travelled all the way to Kolkatta by train. In those days, it took a good 3 days, and boy, the travel from the West to the East was such a pleasure. I remember, sticking my head to the grill of the windows and looking at every inch of the surrounding that passed me by. Also, my father getting off at every station where the train stopped for more than 5 minutes, and having a smoke and the local “chai” that vendors sold on platforms.
Fortunately for me, my husband also comes from similar and humble experiences as I do. So, this year, we thought, instead of taking the 2 hour flight to Kerala for Christmas, we’d drive there.
A bit of a background; my in-laws live in Kerala, and every year we make sure, we spend at least the Christmas and New Year holidays with them. Well, knowing how parents can be, their reaction to us driving all the way from Mumbai to Kerala, wasn’t well received, but well both of us (my husband and me), have a Che Guevara streak to us! So, we rarely pay heed to advises that don’t suit us. And we did the same, this time round.
We left from Mumbai and drove to Bangalore, before taking a nightcap. And then the next day we drove from Bangalore to Trichur in Kerala. And through this drive, all I was amazed about was the beautiful topographical delights and the diversity of food that the terrain offered. 4 states, 2 days and a wonderful experience later, we reached home, at Trichur. Man, I could almost see the car smiling! Well, we sure were!
Because this is only the tip of the iceberg of our road trip, let me tell you, along the way we ate some really simple, but amazingly flavourful food. Sure, we did pack our doggie bags of egg sandwiches (very simple recipe, which I will share at a later date), to a flask full of warm water and freeze dried instant coffee, so we could have our fix whenever we wanted; but the joys of eating a chicken curry with rustic roti at a small joint with just 4 bamboos holding the roof up, and a trunk that doubles up as a table is unparalleled.
Our first official stop was at a makeshift homely restaurant kind of place near Chittradurg Karnataka. While on the topic of Chittradurg though, oh boy, you’ve got to check out those amazing windmills there. They are so so massive, soothing and actually quite a fantasy. Coming back, this “dhaba” like I said was just a makeshift place where people could eat. I don’t know what made us go there, but it sure was rewarding. They had 5 things on their menu: Biryani, chicken masala, chicken fry, dal fry and well, just dal! Of course, with an accompaniment of rice or roti. We decided to go for the chicken fry and dal fry with rotis. You know the best thing about these homely places who cook great food but barely have footfalls given the appearance, is that, anyone who goes there is treated like royalty. Sounds like a total diversion from those humanitarian/non-pretentious cause you signed up for, yeah well, these people are hoping hipsters don’t matter much and earn a delicious living with real food.
Enough gyan. Anyway, so when the food arrived at the table, trust me they could have given a Michelin starred chef a run for their money. Because it was so so SO good. I eat very small portions (not because I care, but just because my size allows me to only do this), but, by the time I was out of there, I was 2 people. No kidding!
The chicken fry was delicious as hell, with free range chicken, cooked to perfection and not overcooked. With the right hit of spices and seasoning, OH MAN! And something as simple as a dal fry, with homemade butter and homegrown spices, was a pleasure to all my culinary senses. It was subtle on the spice, bold on flavours without being overpowering. Just look at the pictures, wouldn’t you fall in love too?
That was the first day of our journey. Yes, I do owe you a recipe for the egg sandwich, which I will share soon, but my satiated tummy and satisfied food senses will continue to take you on a culinary and adventurous tour from the west to the south of the amazing country called India.
This post is only the tip of the iceberg. Wait for it…