Posts for Food Category

On the Food Trail

Blog, Food - GoroadTrip - December 16, 2016

Food is customarily an integral part of every travel plan. But for those foodies who unapologetically dine, gobble and stuff their way through all travels, their trips should be planned around food and more food. And our country does indulge you with so many signature dishes of different states.

Idli and Dosa, Karnataka:

Idlis are a south Indian’s staple diet. Karnataka especially Udupi, serves this famous preparation in different avatars; kadubu, moode or gunda, using banana or jackfruit leaves for moulds. Dosa also takes on interesting appearances with the most favoured one being the commanding Masala dosa. Stuffed with potato masala and served with sambhar and chutney, this dosa roasted to an attractive brown and glinting with ghee/oil is definitely a head turner.

Pongal, Tamil Nadu:

Pongal or VenPongal, is Tamil Nadu’s baby and also a favourite south Indian breakfast item. It has both a spicy and sweet version.The spicy version is best eaten with sambhar and chutney while the sweet version is offered as ‘naivediyam’ for most festivals.

Aviyal, Kerala:

Fresh and ‘coconutty’, the Aviyal is prepared with a variety of fresh vegetables, curd and coconut flavoured with coconut oil. Aviyal is omnipresent in the Kerala menu for all festivals and occasions.

Hyderabad Biriyani, Andhra Pradesh:

Cooked in a ‘dum’ the world famous Hyderabad biriyani retains all its spices, aroma and flavour that escapes to tease the senses when served. With a side serving of mirchkasalan, raitha and gongura pickle, it is an entire meal in itself.

Vada Pav, Maharastra:

This snack can be had any time of the day. VadaPav is presented with a dumpling of potatoes in gram flour sandwiched between two buns. The taste of VadaPav is accented with chutneys and deep fried green chillies.

Doi Machh, West Bengal:

For Bengalis fish curries and milk sweets go hand in hand. Any place you visit in Bengal, you are sure to get the local delicacy Doimachh which is a fish curry with rice and the hamper of sweet milk delicacies of Sandesh, Rasgulla and Mishtidoi.

Dhokla, Gujarat:

Every Gujarati dish maintains a balance of sweetness and spice. Several Gujarati dishes like Thepla, Khandhvi and Dhokla find a place in stores all over the world. For its delicate taste and easier cooking style, Dhokla is the show stopper here.

Daal-baati, Rajasthan:

Rajasthani food is as colourful as its people and culture. Many pulses are used in the dishes. Daal-baati is one of the kind. The Daal-baati is served with churma, a sweet dish. Rice or chapatis eaten with this will disappear in no time!

Makkai-ki-roti, Punjab:

Rich with corn fields, Punjab produces the most delectable corn breads or Makkai-ki-roti. This is served with a gravy prepared with locally grown mustard leaves, sarson-ka-saag which is a delicious accompaniment. Include other Punjab delicacies like Rajma-chawal, Chole-batura or Amritsarikulchas and Malailassi in your platter and you will do a round of bhalle-bhalle when you are finished with this sumptuous meal.

Paranthas, Delhi:

Delhi has many ‘parantha wale gallis’. The paranthas of Delhi are a huge attraction along with its chaat. Non-vegetarians will also love the Makhani chicken and Tandoori Chicken which are Delhi’s own production.

Kalaadi cheese, Jammu and Kashmir:

Made from cow’s milk, the Kalaadi cheese is a native dish of the state. The other local favourites made from produce from the state’s hills are Rogan josh, Yakhni, Haaksaag and Gustaba.

Tungtap and Jadoh, Meghalaya:

Another state that is partial to fish dishes is Meghalaya. Tungtap is the accompaniment served with Jadoh which is the flavoured rice. Individually the two dishes do not taste great but eaten together, they are a delicious treat.

Lucknowi Dal and Kebabs, Uttar Pradesh:

From this biggest state of India, we get many royal or ‘Nawabi’ dishes. Lucknow is in the forefront with its exotic Lucknowi dhal which has a texture than none other owing to milk being one of the ingredients. The famous kebabs that are the saviour of any tapas bar and dhabas are a heritage of Lucknow.

Khechadi, Orissa:

With one of the largest kitchens in the world in the temple of Puri, Orissa serves around 10,000 devotees with Prasad every day. One popular dish prepared as Prasad is the Khechadi which is Orissa’s version of the typical Khichdi. The dish is prepared steaming soaked rice and lenthils that is garnished with spices fried in ghee, making the Khechadi a filling and aromatic dish.

Travellers who think with their tongues and act with their taste buds can set out on many food trails in our country; any choice will be delicious.

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Meals Ready

Blog, Food - GoroadTrip - June 13, 2016

‘Saapadu tayaar’ or ‘Meals Ready’ is a common board found all over Chennai and Tamil Nadu from 7a.m. till late at night. These boards, very often a small blackboard with chalk writing and the day’s menu scribbled on it, informs the consumer what he can eat that day in that eatery. This custom of eating a full-blown meal early at the beginning of the workday is uniquely a Madras..okay…Chennai… habit and its inhabitants carry it with them where ever they go.

South Indian Meals

The lady selling idli or aapam (rice savoury cakes and crepes) on the pavement was an early morning occurrence. Many families boast of their hotel businesses beginning that way. It was always more economical to buy a couple of idlis with coconut chutney or an aapam with coconut milk or paaya kari (mutton curry) and begin the day, than for a household to cook the dish at home. The physical and strenuous process of grinding the dough, letting it ferment and then making the idlis on firewood was a time consuming affair for the common woman. She had to be at work early in the morning to decorate the front yards of houses where they worked for a living.

Elite society would patronise the Connemara Hotel or the tearooms of the Gymkhana, Madras Club or Cosmopolitan Club. That old lady in Luz, the Mylapore Club (their dosai and badam halwa is still ranked number one in the city) was the hang out for the law fraternity. The common man went to the ‘messes’ and even today the Karpagambal Mess in Mylapore, retains its old world atmosphere with banana-leaf meals and no-frills tiffin.

The two kinds of small eateries that came into being were the suddha saivam or vegetarian hotels and the Muniandi hotels that served non-vegetarian food. The latter began to be called military hotels because men from the Armed Services used to eating non-vegetarian food, patronised these establishments when they visited home for vacations.

Muniyandi Vilas

On arriving at a restaurant, the server would serve water and the customer’s first question usually was and still is, “Sooda ennappa irukku?” (What items are available hot?) The server’s talent at reciting the menu — some twenty to thirty items all in one breath could set the epicures saliva flowing and take your breath away at the same time. He used to be dressed in white or beige with a cap on his head. Today the server quietly places a menu card and whispers, “Mineral water, Sir?” Many restaurants boast of having well-dressed stewards or hostesses to seat you, take the orders and finally give you the bill. Theme restaurants with the employees in matching clothes, the cutlery and plates fitting the décor and ambience, has become a common phenomenon.

Korean, French, Continental, North West Frontier pakhwan, Calcutta meals, Punjabi dabhas are all in the business of catering to the eclectic tastes of the city. Home delivery meals, catering for parties and special offers like price per gram of cooked food are innovative offers by restaurants to catch the hungry tongue.

Like any other city in India Chennai caters to every pocket, taste and preference. You can eat the kalavai saapadu or mixed rice that the ladies with a basket on their heads take to the offices, bus terminus, auto stands etc. You can stand in front of the corner tea shop and have a porai biscuit with your hot tea or kapi. You can eat at fast food outlets with a plate of food in your hand. You can sit at laminated tables and plastic chairs in shops, on pavements, under tin roofs, in poky rooms. You can be seated in upholstered sofas in AC comfort and order gourmet food.

The number of eating places, the choices, the tastes catered to and the ambience of the Chennai restaurants are multifarious offering a mind boggling choice to its regulars. The Amma canteens spread all over Chennai serves a mixed clientele at very reasonable prices. You will see the rag picker and autorickshaw driver eating a plate full of sambhar rice next to a ID badge garlanded IT geek…both relishing the simple but yet healthy food.

With all this food around….Burp! I think I have indigestion.

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South Indian Breakfast

Blog, Food - GoroadTrip - April 6, 2016

Breakfast is the most important meal, since you break the night long fast.

Nutritionists all over the world believe that it is important to eat like a King at breakfast. It kick-starts your metabolism, and gives you energy to cope with the hard days work ahead.

Traditionally, in south India, previous day’s left over rice used to be soaked in water overnight. Next morning, the water drained, a little salt added and the rice mixed with buttermilk is eaten as a breakfast. This was known as ‘pazhayadu’ and considered to be very nutritious. This practice is still prevalent in some homes today.

With education people started going out to cities to look for work. To make life easy, people started eating full fledged meals by 9 a.m. in the morning, before catching a bus or train to work. This meal normally consists of rice with sambar, rice with rasam, and rice with curd accompanied by a side vegetable poriyal and a curd pachadi. Even today some families have meals resembling lunch in the morning in place of breakfast.

Masala Dosa

With westernization and modernization some of us have taken to eating a proper breakfast. Our breakfast tiffins are popular not only in south India but all over India. Most popular tiffin is the idly sambar with vadai, which is not only nutritious, but also easy on the stomach. Today this tiffin is served on board an aircraft, on trains and it is available in most restaurants all over India. Other popular breakfast tiffin is the dosa, masala dosa, oothappam, pongal, uppuma, appams and idiappam. There are innumerable ways of making these breakfast items to prevent boredom.

Visit restaurants in Chennai to taste the popular breakfast tiffins.

A heavy, tasty and a nutritious breakfast like a south Indian one will definitely see anyone through the day! From south India comes a hearty breakfast that is favoured across the country.

Make a visit to Chettinad if you are a die-hard non-vegetarian!!

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Sweeten the Tongue

Blog, Food - GoroadTrip - November 26, 2015

India has an amazing variety of sweets and all Indians love their meal with something to sweeten the tongue and the side effects of spicy food. Every state, town and village and even the villages have their own special court. Many are Pan Indians, while others are regional specialties. The quality of the candies depends on regional ingredients such as water, milk, flour, rice, sugar, gur or molasses, ghee and oil. While Kolkota can be famous for its milk-based sweets, Delhi and Punjab rest their laurels on the sheer quality of ghee and wheat. The south has many sweets made of rice and more than sugar, it is the natural gur that plays a predominant role.

Many places in South India are associated with a certain sweetness. Tirunelveli Halwa is known worldwide for its viscous elasticity and dripping ghee. The word Halwa comes from the Arabic word Hilwa, which means sweet. Halva are usually sweet, rich and full of nuts and nuts. This sweet can shut up! If you put a piece on it, you first fight with its pulling and stretching force and then you really have to chew it! Among the famous creators of Tirunelveli Halwa is the “Halwa Iruttu Kadai” .. literally the halva of the dark shop. This store opened in 1900 and sells the Halwa for a few hours after dark. People are waiting in the queues to buy this sweet and often the stocks of the store are over when you reach the counter. The recipe is a well-kept secret!

Another test that can literally break or break the reputation of a cook and the teeth of his family / guest is Mysore Pak. Made with just three ingredients: Besan or Gram flour, sugar and an infinite amount of pure ghee, you need great expertise to make this modest appearance look sweet. If it does not come out of the wok and fire at the right time, Mysore Pak can become the Rock of Gibraltar! A good confectionery manufacturer from Coimbatore-Krishna Sweets has reinvented and popularized this candy as “Mysorepa” – in fact it is none other than the Besan Ka bartender from northern India with a consistency softer and melting.

The Darward-Peda has risen because of the mass production of this lump of milky pleasure by the Dairy Cooperative of Karnataka. Sweetened milk is reduced to a brown consistency and rolled into balls and squeezed with the thumb. The shelf life of this treatment is longer than that of most dairy products.

Payasam – Sanskrit for milk – is a traditional sweet milk pudding and can vary depending on the terrain. It can be rice, milk and sugar or Chana / Moong Dal, Gur and coconut milk. For any occasion or family event, the banana leaf or plate is first served with a spoonful of Payasam. The Ambalapuzha payasam of the Lord Krishna Temple in Kerala is an incredible dish of sweetness and worship. Vermicelli and Whipped Rice are modern variants added to Payasam or Kheer. The cooks began adding fresh fruit to the milk preparation.

Poli comes from Thanjavur. Polished Pooran is a thin crepe filled with dal and sugar and pureed Gur and flavored with cardamom and nutmeg powder. This dish was introduced to the south by the Maratha invaders and became an integral part of South Indian cuisine. In the border areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, near Kerala, there are pancakes filled with Ubbuttu or Coconut and Jiggery. Po-Pois-Poal-fried in a reduced milk-rich sauce is a variation of this polish.

The flat rice and jiggery paste flattened and fried into balls, the adirasam is also a dish shared with the marathas. It takes an important place in religious celebrations. The Somasi or Gujjia or Karjikkai Fried Crescent is filled with the sticky mix of dal, sugar, nuts and raisins – is another sweet Indian pan that is famous all the southern states.

Chettinad has a traditional and rich cuisine. Their paniyaarams have many avatars and small dumplings dipped in a sweet sauce, coconut milk and paal paniyaram milk is a pudding to dying. Padirpheni is a local paste of angel hair that is crisp until a mixture of almond milk is poured on it. Phathirpheni is especially popular in Karnataka. He is also called Chirotior Surul Poori. Pathiri is the version of Kerala.

Kozhukkattai in Tamil Nadu is immediately associated with Lord Ganesha. It is a momo or a sweet dumpling of rice flour and stuffed with a walnut

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On the Fruit Trail of India

Blog, Food - GoroadTrip - June 24, 2015

When you take a bite of an apple or peel off an orange, do you wonder where they come from? Which part of India are they grown, how much they have travelled before finding themselves in your fruit basket? Almost every state in our country is home to one or morevarieties of fruit and specializes in its cultivation. Orchards, vineyards and fruit groves of our country produce some of the finest varieties of fruits which are supplied not just to India but many parts of the world.

The Abode of Some Fruits in Some States are:

Apples, Himachal Pradesh:

Kotgarh in Himachal Pradesh is known as the Apple Bowl of India. The apple orchards run for several acres and are about 80 kilometres from Shimla. Walking through the orchards dotted with red apples, breathing in the apple scents that are mixed with pine from the surrounding forests makes you forget the rest of the world.

Oranges, Maharashtra:

Known as the orange city, Nagpur is famous for its mandarin oranges. Recently awarded with the geographical indication (GI) tag for the use of the name ‘Nagpur Orange’, this variety is exclusive and sought after the world over. While you pick a box of these juicy oranges, spend a lovely time in this green city of India which is also our country’s winter capital.

Pomegranates, Maharashtra:

Yet another fruit that the state of Maharashtra is home to, in Solapur, is the red and pearly pomegranate. Solapur not only cultivates the fruit but also conducts research on it in the National Research Centre.

Alphonso Mangoes, Maharashtra:

Widely popular as ‘Ratnagirihapus’ this king of fruits is grown in the port city on the Konkan coast, Ratnagiri. Alphonso mangoes are the most superior variety of mangoes and hence the royal title. No summer should pass by without a taste of this delicious golden yellow fruit!

Pineapples, West Bengal:

The Bidhannagar area in Siliguri, Bengal, is the largest area growing pineapple.Siliguri is located at the foothills of the mighty Himalaya and the banks of River Mahanadi. Enjoy biting into delicious chunks of the native juicy fruit while you take in the beautiful scenery of the Mahanadi River and the Himalayas.

Bananas, Tamil Nadu:

Although the top position keeps hopping between states, the highest number of bananas are produced by Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and several other states. It is no wonder that India is the largest banana producing country in the world.

Papaya, Andhra Pradesh:

Along with sweet orange, Anantapur in AP, is one major fruit production area. Anantapur is earning the distinction of being the fruit bowl of AP and flourishing with the launch of National Horticulture Mission.

Guavas, Uttar Pradesh:

If oranges are Nagpur’s pride, Guavas are Allahabad’s. Owing to the many distinct varieties of guavas grown here, Allahabad is often referred to as ‘The City of Green Gold’.

Custard apples, Telangana:

Also called Sitaphal, this favourite fruit of the people of Karimnagar, Telangana are grown in large quantities on hillocks and small forest areas.

Grapes, Maharashtra:

Nashik, known as the ‘Grape capital of India’, produces more than half of the total grape cultivated in India. The grapevines are spread at the foothills of the Sahayadri. The climate and location results in the freshness and juiciness of the fruits and is therefore in great demand around the world.

Strawberries, Maharashtra:

Popular for berries, Mahabaleshwar is an ideal location to grow them owing to the hilly Western Ghat ranges present in the place. The favourable climate and hilly terrain grows the best strawberries, pink, sweet and juicy.

Litchis, Bihar:

Known as the Litchi kingdom of India, Muzaffarpur is famous for its Shahi litchis. Muzaffarpur is responsible for the export of the fruit to almost all the big cities in India.

Peaches, Kerala:

Kanthalloor is famous for a wide variety of fruits, especially peaches. This place is on the eastern side of the Western Ghats and the cool climate is ideal for the cultivation of some of the best varieties of fruits.

Plums, Himachal Pradesh:

Best grown in cooler climates, the plums are the pet fruits of northern states like Himachal, Uttrakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

Pears, Jammu and Kashmir:

Primarily grown in Jammu and Kashmir, pears also grow well in Himachal Pradesh. Since the fruit can adapt to subtropical temperatures it is also grown in the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

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