Kerala – Part 3 – The delight that was the stay!
A fair warning before I go on, this is going to be a fairly long and drool worthy post; but, there is also a couple of surprises at the end of the post, so read on (don’t just scroll to the end man, that’s kind of disrespectful, and truthfully you’ll regret it.).
So, once we reached Thrissur, obviously my mom-in-law was all geared up with all things we love to eat. Once we were past tea-time and gorging on snacks, in fact, while we were still at it, we made dinner plans! Yeah, we do that. Before the food is even chewed and into the realm of the digestive system, we plan the next meal. Not because it would take time or effort, but just because we are all that desperate and anxious about our next meal. It’s a good thing though, we are never not prepared.
So, for dinner we decided, we’d pick up an assortment of food jewels from around the places in close vicinity and eat them all. We each decided to pick one item that we really wanted to eat (we were 8 of us, to it was quite an eclectic array of flavours and food) and went out and gathered the food. I say gathered, because we had to go to 6 different places and get the food. Now that can’t be defined as ‘ordered out’ or ‘take away’, that is an act of accumulating/ gathering food. The menu was (take a deep breath) beef chilly fry, tandoori chicken, chicken biryani, fish fry, fish curry, a dry preparation of pork, chicken curry and chicken cutlet! Now if that wasn’t a treat, what would be. By the end of the meal, we were all talking in mumbles and gurgles but happy to the core. This meal was just the tip of what was to follow in the coming days. So, brace yourselves for the spicy journey ahead (while I cry my eyes out, because I so miss the awesome food and the pampering).
The next day was Christmas! And we celebrate Jesus’ birthday with more excitement than we celebrate our own! While Christmas lunch consisted of leftovers, because the food was so good we just had to polish it off. Here’s a little secret, if you make slow cooked meat, or in this case ‘acquire’ it, trust me, it tastes even better the next day. Also, a small tip, please don’t heat the food in the microwave, take some effort, heat it on a low heat over the gas stove, with a dash of water, and cover for about 10 mins. Stir it when 5 minutes are up, and cover again (see, I told you there are little gold nuggets right in the post, so read all of it!). Dinner though was one of those pleasant roller coaster rides, where you are flying with the adrenaline rush, but you are stressed and having fun at the same time. We ladies in the house donned the aprons and pulled out the steely knives and created masterpieces. Yeah, that’s what we do, and we aren’t very modest about it. Because, we’re good!
The menu consisted of slow roasted pork that was marinated in soy sauce and a number of Asian spices and cooked for 3 whole hours. Then came the coconut chicken curry that was succulent and tender and cooked with a dash of minimalistic spices. That with rice tempered with ghee and jeera (cumin) just made a bowl of the most delectably comfort meal. But sure, that couldn’t be enough na. So, we had a bowl full of a black chana with shredded coconut, a preparation that my husband really likes; and to make sure the kids eat their vegetables, coconut tempered beans and carrots. Now I am all for kids only tripping on non-vegetarian food. But when you have kids as picky as the ones we have at home, it is imperative that you dramatize the vegetables to an extent that they seem irresistible, or they will never touch it. Of course, all of this food was accompanied by pickles, and poppadums, and salads. But they are like the junior artists and deserve to be mentioned in the credit titles at the end (okay, that is mean, but true.).
If you have been reading the earlier posts from the series, you would remember that I said I’d share a recipe for egg sandwiches that we munched on during the drive. And here ladies and gentlemen, comes the part which happens to be the surprise element! Now I am really excited about this part, because the recipes are simple as are delicious. But if you think, this woman has gone loony, then just give it another thought, because, someday, somewhere you will be in my situation and thank me for these surprisingly easy recipes.
Look now, the morning after Christmas is always sunny and joyful and all of those things. And with the scrumptious feast the night before, one needs something light and unforgiving. At least in my case I do. So for a long drive or for the time when you need something light, here goes the recipes for the two simplest egg sandwich ever (long drives), and banana pancakes (light breakfast).
The Egg Sandwich
Eggs – hard boiled (1 per portion)
Bread slices – 2 nos (per portion)
Butter – to spread on the desired number of slices, and some extra to spread on the pan.
Cheese – grated (about 1 tbsp per slice)
Salt – to taste
Pepper – to taste
- Now here’s a trick. To hard boil eggs, add the eggs in a pressure cooker, add some salt and cover the eggs with water. Fasten the lid and cook for one whistle. Trust me, they are actually done to perfection.
- Peel the eggs (obviously) and chop them fine.
- Add salt, pepper and grated cheese to taste, and toss well with the eggs.
- Put a nice slathering of butter on each slice of the bread and add the egg stuffing, cover it with another slice and press gently.
- In a pan or sandwich maker, add some butter and just lightly toast the sandwich on both sides, done!
- You could just easily boil the eggs, and let your kids do the rest. In fact, you don’t even need to toast the bread, you can just add the stuffing and have a delicious sandwich.
- Whenever you season anything, make sure you add the seasoning from at least a foot above, this helps spread the seasoning evenly. Do move your hands in the all directions of the respected material to be seasoned though, or it would be a failed cause.
- This is a perfect sandwich to take on trips and picnics because it doesn’t get soggy.
Now for the simplest pancakes ever. This is actually my tribute to the most favourite and widely available fruit in Kerala. So, here you go…
This recipe will yield about 4 pancakes. Increase the recipe proportionately to make more.
Bananas – 1 no.
Eggs – 2 nos
Salt – one pinch
Oil – to grease the pan
- Break the banana into big chunks and just blitz it in the mixer with salt.
- Add the two eggs and blend it for like 30 seconds. Batter done!
- Put a pan on medium heat, add about a tsp of oil, spread it, add a dollop of the pancake mixture (don’t spread it), cover and cook on medium heat.
- Once you see the top go whitish, turn the pancake, and cook on the other side. It takes about a minute and 10 seconds on each side, once the pan is hot. Repeat the same process for the other pancakes.
- Serve them with a generous helping of butter and honey or maple sauce. Yum, yum, yummmmmmmmm!
- If anyone told me pancakes could be simpler and more delicious I would never believe them.
- I would suggest you get your kids to mash the bananas well and whisk the eggs equally well to put them to work. If you aren’t engaging any more hands in the recipe, then follow the cheat method that I suggested, (I have stated I could be rather lazy, especially if hung over).
- Make sure you don’t ever rest the batter for long, because you’ll have a blackish batter that you wouldn’t want to look at.
So, both these recipes can be achieved without too much of your supervision, while you sip on your morning cup of coffee and get everyone in the house excited about making a sumptuous breakfast that make them feel like achievers, but also let you have the pleasure of the wicked smirk (on the side). Trust me it’s worth it! As for the Kerala adventures, it’s not over. And coming up next it the rest of the trip and the drive back with a superb fish recipe, and a slow cooked pork recipe. I am sure you will look forward to it. Also, be kind and follow me on Facebook and Instagram. You never know what surprises I might have in store there!