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Cuttack- Land of Aloo Dum Dahi Bara

Cuttack – Land of Aloo Dum Dahi Bara

By Anubhav Sapra

Cuttack Street Food Tour YouTube Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX53yAbir7c&t=43s

Cuttack – a city of 52 markets and 53 streets is one of the twin cities of Odisha (the other being Bhubaneshwar). Cuttack is also the second largest city in eastern Odisha. Recently, I went on a food exploration in eastern Odisha covering 4 cities – Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Berhampur and Puri.

trinath aloo dum
Trinath Aloo Dum Dahi Bara

Cuttack should be known as the land of aloo dum dahi bara. A plethora of  dahi bara stalls can be spotted everywhere. Dahi (yoghurt) and Bara (lentil dumplings) are served with a thick potato curry, a startlingly unique combination if we compare it to the northern style dahi bhallas. The baras are served soaked in a thin runny chaas (buttermilk) kind of dahi, tempered with spices. 4-6 pieces are put in a dona and topped with aloo dum. The exact preparation varies from stall to stall. The timings of the stall also change from one vendor to vendor.

The most popular dahi bara stall is Raghu’s Stall- a 45 years old shop in bidanasi. The baras are served with aloo dum, sprinkled with red chillies and salt. Even though slightly spicy for some, they also sell cuttack peda at the next counter in case the spices get you in a hustle. Raghu comes every day and sits at the corner to oversee the preparation. It is so popular that they are sold out within one hour from 5 pm to 6 pm.

Next, we went to Trinath Dai Bara shop. The baras here were topped with thick and super spicy aloo dum, ghugni, sew, onion, sweet and spicy chutney. It was delectable, with the pinch of spice. This was the only place in the whole of Odisha where I had hiccups after having his dona of dahi baras.

We also tried the dahi bara at Puniya, available only in the mornings– served Raghu style but comparatively less spicy, and Eshwar dahi bara at Biju Patnaik Chowk. My personal favourite was Eshwar dahi bara because of two reasons. First, Eshwar was the most humble person whom I met in Odisha. He started selling dahi bara at the age of 13 on a cycle and now owns a cart. Second, the dahi bara was spiced perfectly. He also adds a sweet bara with the salty one and tops it with aloo dum, ghugni, sew, onion, chutney. I loved the preparation and the love and warmth with which he serves his customers.

Dahi Lassi
Dahi Lassi

Dahi sharbat and rabdi sharbat are the two most popular beverages of Cuttack. The process of making them is quite simple, but the preparation is exquisite when finished.

At Sen and Sen shop (near chandi mandir), which is 50 years old- sugar syrup, yogurt, grated coconut and rabri are layered and the essence of pineapple and jamun is added as a finishing touch. They are not mixed together. Small pieces of ice can be tasted in between while you drink the sherbet.

At Dil Bahar sherbet shop in Baxi bazar, they blend the mixture with ice completely and top it with essence of pineapple, jamun and small pieces of cashew. I like the one at Dil Bahar because everything was blended together with the shaved ice.

The preparation style of chai and taste changes from one region in India to another. In Odisha, the chai is pre-made at most of the street side chai stalls. On one big giant pot, the tea is brought to a boil, with all the spices and some thick omfed milk. Then, in a smaller pot the chai is strained and served. The chai is thick and delicious. At Monu tea stall in baliyatra padia, the warm hearted owner adds ghee in the tea. Known as gua ghee tea, it tastes good.  The tea shop is very popular during baliyatra.

Chakuli Mousi – Annapurna Devi

Mausi chakuli shop in Nandi Shahi is a hot spot for breakfast in Cuttack. 76 years old, Annapurna Devi runs a morning breakfast dish- chakuli with red hot spicy chutney. She wakes up at 4:30 am,  does all the preparation and sets up her shop at the narrow entrance of her house. The steamed fresh chakulis are cooked in a traditional way with the batter spread over a piece of cloth on a boiling pot. The batter of the chakuli is made with rice and white lentils (biri). It’s a close cousin of dosa and idli. At Mausi chakuli shop, the chakulis are served with spicy red garlic chutney. This was one of my best experiences in Cuttack. It was again more of the warmth and affection of Annapurna Devi that made the dish and the whole experience special for me.

Naya Sadak is a hotspot for breakfast in Cuttack. The food carts sell chakuli with ghugni (chickpeas), coconut chutney and red chilly chutney. One can top it with pyaazi- onion fritters. The interesting part is that the plates have to be washed on your own.

For evening snacks, Kalia chops and babu bhai chops shop in Professor Pada are widely known. Kalia and Babu bhai, both are bothers and run the chop shops adjacent to each other. Both of them sell prawn, liver, mutton, and chicken chops. At babu bhai’s junction, the devilled egg was excellent. The boiled eggs were filled with minced meat, wrapped in mashed potatoes and covered with powdered biscuits. The chops are deep fried in oil and served crisp with chilly and tomoto chutney.

The last stop in Cuttack was biryani at Girija Hotel. The biryani is served with runny onion and tomato raita. Cuttack style biryani is a mix of Awadhi and hyderabadi style. It is light on the spices with a hint of kewra, layered, and cooked on dum.

The other landmarks on Cuttack-Bhubneshwar highway are Nana hotel, Phulnakhra and Pahala. Nana means elder brother in Odisha. Famous for their mutton curry with rice, the typical dhaba style set up is enticing at nana hotel. The food is served on an eco friendly dried leaf. A plate of mutton curry and rice costs INR 120. This was my next favourite meal in Odisha. I loved the spice level, soft and succulent pieces of mutton, and not so thick mutton gravy.

There are two variants or rice available here- Usna and Arwa. Based on the taste preference, one can opt for any of them.

We also tried mutton at Nanda hotel. Nanda Hotel’s mutton curry is full of fat and a layer of fatty oil can be seen floating on the top. Even though tasty, Nana Hotel wins this round for their delicious mutton!

Not far from cuttack is a landmark in Indian sweets history- Pahala, known for rosgullas. I am sure everyone in North India would have grown up eating thande thande rasgulle. But here the rasgullas were warm and fresh, straight coming out of the boiling chashni. I loved it to the core.

Pahala Rosgulla

The step by step preparation of rosgullas was interesting to observe. To prepare the dough, chhena (cottage cheese) is mixed with suji (semolina) in the ratio of 1 kg of chhena to 50 gms of suji. After the dough is kneaded, it is filled with khoya or dry nuts and boiled in sugar syrup on a wooden fire. The piping hot rosgulla has different colours based on the hours of boiling. The ones that are boiled for longer duration are brown in colour and the others are white. The rasgullas were super soft and not extravagantly sweet. The syrup was thin.

There is another variant of rasgulla in Odisha of Salepur. Half an hour journey from Cuttack is a town called Salepur famous for Bikalananda Kar’s rosgulla. Kar’s rasgulla were brown in colour, and sugar syrup was thick. I met the second generation owner, Mr Pramod kar who showed me the processing unit of the rosgulla. They are quite mechanised and use the standard assembly line of production. Electric boilers are used for making the rosgullas of different sizes. Based on the size, the price is fixed, ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 25. Rosgulla’s costing Rs 25 are quite big in size and have cashews in them. At the entrance itself, pots of rosgullas are lined up with each having a different size of the sweet delicacy.

A taste of this ‘hatke’ style of rosgulla was indeed the experience of a lifetime!

 

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Kerala Food Journey- Kozhikode/Calicut

Kozhikode/Calicut

By Anubhav Sapra

Marco Polo described Calicut as the greatest province in Malabar. Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama first landed on Indian shores in 1498, in Calicut, paving the way for the spice trade between Europe and Malabar. Calicut emerged as the Centre of spice trade, that brought the Arabs, the Portuguese, the English, the Dutch and the French closer to the Indian subcontinent.

Hence, not surprisingly, the food of Calicut is heavily influenced by the Arabs. The intermingling of Arabian food with the local spices and cooking techniques came to be known as Moplah cuisine. Moplahs are the Malayali speaking Muslim community in Malabar.

Hotel Paragon
Paragon fish mango curry

Calicut or Kozhikode is one of the most foodie friendly cities of Kerala. Interestingly, almost all of the food joints are right next to each other and can be easily covered in a day’s time. We stayed there for 24 hours and managed to taste the food at all the iconic places.

The journey started with Hotel Paragon beneath U.H. Flyover on Kannur road. The iconic restaurant is in existence since 1939 with branches in Calicut and Dubai. The restaurant is known for its yummilicious Dum Biryani, Fish Mango Curry and Vellappam. Fun fact, in Malabar region, the quality of rice is completely different compared to other parts on India. They use a special variety of rice called Jeeraksala rice- a small grained rice known for its delicious aroma and taste. The Biryani was lightly flavored, cooked using Jeerakshala. The accompaniments that are served with Biryani are Raita, coconut mint chutney and lemon pickle. There is no concept of salan in Kerala. To our surprise, the fish mango curry was creamish in texture and quite similar to a Delhi styled Butter Chicken gravy. The only addition was the raw mango slices. The smooth creamish fish curry complimented the Vellappam quite well.

Dancing tea/biryani tea
Dancing tea/Biryani chai

Most of the restaurants in Kerala serve tea with all the meals. The tea glasses and the style of making the beverage are uniform all across the state. At hotel Paragon, I tried the ‘dancing tea’ aka biryani tea. The tea was layered in style – tea, with milk and foam on the top. The layers were easily noticeable and the movement of different layers added a twisty surprise to the flavours of the beverage. When stirred with a spoon, it becomes a normal milk chai.

Milk Sharbath shop

Opposite to Hotel Paragon is Kerali Chips Corner, famous for fresh banana chips. The assembly line production and processing of banana chips are interesting to observe. The bananas are peeled – cut into pieces, washed, and fried in coconut oil. The fresh and crispy banana chips are a must-have snack at this place.

Next to Hotel Paragon is Bhaskarettante Kada or milk sharbath shop. This shop, although only half a decade old, is the most popular joint in Kerala. They have a pre mix of sugar syrup and essence of Nadan Nannari plant which is added to milk along with crushed ice. The same syrup is used for making other sharbaths. In lemon soda they also add a tablespoon of mint chutney in the sharbath.

with Mrs Ameera Shafi

As the day wore on, we were fortunate to get a home cooked meal at Mrs Ameera Shafi’s home. A housewife with great interest in cooking, she cooked for us to taste some of the most traditional and authentic dishes of Malabar. At her wonderful home, we got the chance to savour dry Mutta Mala, Pancharpatta, Chicken Stew, Ari Pathiri, Buff Fry and other dishes. But the highlight was Mutta Mala and Pancharpatta; a traditional dessert in Malabar not easily available in the shops and streets. It is said that this dish, entirely made up of eggs, was brought to Malabar by the Portugese. In Portuguese they call it Fios De Ovos. The Malayalee word ‘Mutta’ is used for eggs hence can be called ‘egg garlands’. The egg white and yolk are separated before cooking and boiled in sugar syrup. The other dish, Pancharapatta is different layers of eggs cooked in hot oil, on a slow fire, to be devoured with mashed bananas and powdered sugar. It is rightly said that there is no food close to home cooked food.

Hotel Sagar, Calicut
Hotel Sagar

The next morning we started our food exploration in Calicut with Hotel Sagar located at Mavoor road, near KSRTC bus stand. For brunch, we had Ghee rice with Meen curry. The Meen curry was sour and tangy, flavoured with tamarind. It complemented the ghee flavoured Jeerkasala rice perfectly.

Next we headed to Hotel Rehmath on A.G. Road. Established in 1961, the restaurant was started by Kunjahammad. It is said that Hotel Rehmath was famous for its beef biryani, popular in Calicut. We reached the hotel around 1:00 pm and within few seconds there was a long queue even before the hotel opened its doors for us hungry souls. The restaurant has mutton, chicken, fish and Kada (quail) Biryani. The biryani, prepared with raisins, was a bit greasy compared to other biryani joints we visited in Calicut.

Hotel Rehmath, Calicut
Hotel Rehmath

Located at a walking distance from Hotel Rehmath is SM Street known for Top Form Fish Biryani and numerous Calicut halwa shops. A food pilgrimage to Calicut is incomplete without getting the halwas packed for home. The different flavours of halwa range from a myriad of fruits to a variety of vegetables. Some of the common ones are coconut, banana, jaggery, mango, and tender coconut. The main ingredients of this delicacy are refined flour, sugar and coconut oil. We got our loot for home from Sankaran Bakery, recommended by a fellow foodie friend on Instagram.

Adam Chaikada
Adam Chaikada

Adam Chaikada or Adam’s teashop is a new entrant to the food scenario of Calicut. Hardly a year old, this restaurant has now become a popular eatery in the city. Modeled on a Portuguese heritage property, the place retains its old school architecture. It is no less that any upscale restaurant in any of the big cities in India. The walls are adorned with paintings of localites cooking Malabari delicacies, with a few cooking utensils in display. The menu has been curated keeping in mind the younger generation, adding the perfect twist to the Malabari dishes. They currently serve more than 100 varieties of fried chicken. We tried a small platter and were blown by the creativity of the chef. We also tried a mocktail made up of green mangoes and green chilies. The concoction may give you hiccups but it is really a refreshing drink.

Hotel Zains, Calicut
Hotel Zains

Across the main junction of Adam Chaikada is Zains Hotel known for Malabari snacks. The restaurant is located at Convent Cross Road behind the beach fire station and the bright red colour of the building makes it look like a cottage. The restaurant was started by a lovely lady Zainabi Noor, 30 years back. In Malayali, she beautifully narrated the story of how her restaurant started. She only speaks Malayali, hence one of the servers from UP helped us in the translation. Noor’s husband, from Afghan, was working in Gulf for 15 years. Both of them decided to open up a restaurant in Calicut so that they can stay together. Her exceptional culinary skills helped in curating the menu and training the staff members. The kitchen at the restaurant is clean and well maintained. The walls of the restaurant are decorated with press cuttings and pictures of Noor Mohamads’s sporting days, from when he played Football for Kerala. Some of the Malabari snacks which are difficult to find at other places are available here like, Mutta mala (described above), Unnakaya (mashed boil bananas stuffed with grated coconut, raisins, cardamom), different varieties of stuffed breads known as Pathiri, which could be beef, chicken or fish.

Hotel Bombay, Calicut
Hotel Bombay

The last stop in Calicut was another iconic restaurant established in 1949- Hotel Bombay located at Silk Street, started by Kunjahamad. This two floored restaurant still has an old world charm attached to it. A restaurant synonymous with Moplah biryani and Malabari snacks, people in Calicut still vow to their Biryani. The Biryani that is served with Date-chutney and Raita has a distinctive flavor in comparison to all the other places we tried. Tasting a bit artificial, this one didn’t please our palette as much as we would have hoped.

Some of the Malabar snacks on offer at Hotel Bombay are Kozhi Porichathu, Mutton Cutlet, Elanchi, Unnakaya and cakes. One of the most revered dishes here is the Ela ada. The main ingredients of Ela ada are rice powder, jaggery and coconut. With no usage of oil, the mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf or plantain, and steamed. This is another place where one can try the Biryani tea. As it takes lot of time to make biryani tea, they only serve it before 3 pm and after 8 pm. Another kind of tea popular in Malabar region is Sulaimani chai- a black tea preparation with cardamom, ginger and lemon.

Of all the cities we have been to in Kerala, this was one city that had a long affair with its Biryani. All the restaurants have their specialty as Biryani – be it hotel Rehmath, Zains, Paragon, Bombay or Top form. In fact, it was more of a kind of Biryani trail for us; our favorite being the Hotel Paragon. The lightly flavoured, non greasy Biryani served with Raita and chutney was delectable. Calicut is, and should be rightly called as the food city of Malabar.

   

 

 

 

 

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Kerala Food Journey- Kannur and Thalassery

Journeying further into the God’s own country, we reached Kannur and Thalassery.

In Kannur, even though we could not visit a lot of different places, we had our hearts’ fill at Hotel Odhens on Odhens street, known for its fried sea food delicacies.

The peculiar restaurant opens only for lunch between 12 noon and 3 pm. The mad rush of people standing next to the tables speaks quite well of the popularity of the place. We ordered a fish curry meal that was served on a banana leaf, and tried fried squid, fried prawns and fried mussels known as kallumakkai or ‘fruit on the rock’ in Malabar. Kanji vellam or rice water is the drink served with meal.

The last city of our 9 day food sojourn in Kerala was the biryani capital of Malabar- Thalassery. Thalassery is synonymous with Biryani. The city is easily accessible by local buses and trains from Kannur and all the food joints can be covered in a few hours. The two iconic restaurants here are Paris Hotel- not to be confused with France and Rara Avis. Rara Avis is near the New bus stand, AVK Nair road and Paris Hotel is in an old heritage building at Logan’s road. Interestingly, the building used to be Kerala’s first printing press. Both of them are known for the Thalassery style Biryani. There are two styles of cooking biryani in India- Pakki and Kachi. The Kachi Biryani is of Hyderabad – they call it Kacche Ghosht ki Biryani where meat and rice are cooked together. In Pakki style, both the main ingredients are cooked separately, meat and rice are layered and put on dum. This can be called dum biryani as well. In Thalassery the Biryani is Pakki Dum style Biryani.

Coming to the quality of rice, most of the North Indian states use basmati for making biryani. However, in Thalassery they use Jeerakasala rice. The rice is small grained and full of aroma. The Biryani is devoid of colours. The accompaniments are onion Raita and pickles. There is no concept of salan in Malabar, as the biryani can be relished in its own flavours itself.

We tried the biryani at Rara Avis. It was simply delicious. The flavours of the rice were excellent. We also tried the rice pooris called Ney pathiri, served with a small portion of chicken curry..

Our last stop was the newly opened restaurant, Sea Park Views with Ari Orotti and chicken stew tingling our taste buds and leaving us with dreams of visiting again, and experiencing this, and much more, over and over again!

 

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Kerala Food Journey- Alleppey

 Kerala Food Journey- Alleppey

YouTube video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi1JEBSiFQ0&t=1s

 

The city of Allepey is known for its backwaters and houseboat tourism. We drove on a scooter from Cochin to Allepey, exploring the local cuisine along the way.

An eatery on Alleppey Thannermukkam road at Pathiramanal junction, Kaipuram, just a few kms away from the city was our first stop. The restaurant, called Vaidhyarude Kada is known for more than 40 odd varieties of fish. It has another outlet right across the road by the name Hotel Smitha, where the owner himself cooks and serves the food.

Vaidhyarude Kada is run by his wife. The eating area is in the huge verandah of their house, where fried fish, rice and other dishes are lined up on a table. Revered dishes here are the fish head, tllapia fish curry and fried fish dishes like lobsters and crab.

We reached Allepey and hired a houseboat for the on-boat food experience. The houseboats are well equipped with a kitchen, bed room, dining area, and everything you require for a comfortable ride. Most of the houseboats have two staff members- a captain who steers the wheel and an in-house cook who cooks dishes based on the preference of the guests. We hired the boat and headed straight for the fish market to get some tiger prawns and crab. The dish was cooked in less than an hour by the in-house cook. He marinated the fish in Keralan spices and fried the crab and prawns. The fried crab and prawns were truly delicious. This was indeed, the experience of a lifetime. 

 

 

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Kerala Food Journey- Kollam, Kottayam and Cochin

Kollam

YouTube Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX9R2W6JmlU&t=4s

We began our food journey in Kollam, with Fehalwan Hotel. Fehalwans are professional wrestlers. In north India, they are colloquially called Pehalwans. The walls of Fehalwan hotel are adorned with the pictures of Md. Kunju, dating back to his wrestling days.  It is said that Md Kunju used to bring professional wrestlers to the city and and the ground behind the restaurant was a hub for wrestling matches.

There are private cubicles in the hotel, where one can relish the food with their dear ones. Visiting during the morning hours when breakfast was on in full frenzy, we tried Appam with spicy fish curry. Another popular favourite amongst the locals at Fehalwan Hotel is the Mutton Biryani. Served only during the lunch hours, this delicacy gets over in a matter of hours, as crowds throng to get a taste of the same.

Not too far from Fehalwan is a vegetarian restaurant named Guruprasad. We decided to give the Vegetable Biryani a try here. The biryani is served with Raita, Papad and pickles, and garnished with fried bread crumbs which give it a crunchy, munchy flavour. Lucky for us, we managed to try the local dessert in Kerala, the renowned, Jaggery Payasam, as it was a Sunday.

For lunch, we were recommended to try Ramees restaurant. At Ramees, we had Chicken Firecracker, Mutton Roast and Ari Pathri. The boneless chicken was marinated in local spices and wrapped in pandan leaves, and deep fried. It was truly delicious. An equivalent of Rumali Roti in North India, Ari Pathiri, the thinly made rice flour breads are cooked and dipped in coconut milk to make them softer.

After a sumptuous lunch, we decided to visit the beaches of Kerala, to explore the snack options available there. We entered a hub of stalls serving chana tossed with red chilies and spices, coconut water, roasted peanuts and mango slices and amla pieces dipped in salt water (Uppil ettah th ). The mango, pineapple, cucumber slices are eaten with red chilly chutney.

However, our highlight of the Kerala food journey was Ezuthaniyil Tea Shop in Keralapuram. A shop with no name plate and a hut like structure, that is immensely popular for its mutton curry, mutton roast and cake nuggets. Established in 1948 by Meera Sahib, the place is flocked by crowds from far distances for mutton curry and special cakes. The raw spices are freshly ground and used to prepare the spice mix to add to the mutton curry. The onions that are used to cook the curry are small madras onions, which bring in their own unique flavour. We devoured it with the flaky and perfect Malabari Parottas. The special cakes, which are also a revered delicacy, are prepared using refined flour, duck eggs and sugar.

Kottayam

In Kottayam, we decided to visit the Karimpumkala Restaurant, known for its sea food. The restaurant is located at Pallom on M.C.Road. We tried the regular fish curry meal with karimeen polichathu, which is a black pearl fish marinated in different spices wrapped in banana leaves and deep fried.

From Kottayam, we headed to Kumrakom, a beautiful place famous for its bird sanctuary and houseboats. We visited Kumarakom toddy parlor. There are separate compartments where one can sip toddy, the local mildly alcoholic beverage made from coconut palm trees. The dishes that accompany toddy are typically spicy and fried dishes.

Hopping on and off the local buses from Kumarakom to Cherthala and then to Thoppampady, we reached the tourist destination Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin

YouTube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I_-HsbENas

Fort Cochin is a thing of magnificence, and a popular tourist destination. In order to experience the local culture, we booked a homestay and hired a bike to explore the city. At Fort Cochin, the sight of Chinese fishing nets being used to catch the fish greets you, and one can ride the jetty to cross the sea, parking their cars and bikes on the jetty itself. On the beach, the concept of ‘you buy and we cook’ is extremely popular – you can buy the fish as per your taste preferences and ask the small eateries to cook using the local spices.

We started our day with Kayees Restaurant in Mattancherry known for its Mutton Biryani. This lightly flavored Biryani with no colours and onions is cooked using Dum style. We took the jetty ride to Ernakulum city to Mullapanthal Toddy Parlor. The toddy parlor has both individual rooms and a common area. The parlor is flocked by people from different age groups. Perhaps, Kerala is the only place where the restaurants serve both beef and pork under one roof. We tried the pork fry. Slightly on the spicy side, it goes well with the toddy. Another interesting Chakhna (snacks served with alcoholic drinks ) served with the toddy here is Chamandi – a paste like consistency with the main ingredients being red chilies, garlic, onion and coconut oil. It is served with tapioca.

While returning, we stopped at Sri Muruga café at Poonathara near Thripunithara. The café is decorated with bananas hanging from the roof. Sri Muruga is famous for Pazham Pori with Beef Curry. Pazham Pori, a common snack available all across Kerala is made up of ripened banana wrapped in the batter of all purpose flour and deep fried. Most of the Malyalees eat it with a cup of tea or as a snack. We also experienced the unconventional and unique taste of spicy beef curry with sweet banana fry.

For our dinner, we headed to Dhe Puttu, a restaurant run by Malyalee actor Dileep. Unlike the controversies faced by the actor, the food here was nothing but a delight. In fact, it was the most expensive meal we had in Kerala. On the recommendation of the server, we ordered Red snapper fish and multi layered puttu named Ezhusundhara Rathrikal. The multi layered puttu had prawns, chicken and pork in it. It was truly delicious. The snapper was first deep fried and then a layer of onion masala was spread over it.

The last meal in Ernakulum was at Puttu Kada. The eatery is located at Pallikadavu, Kumbalam near St. Mary’s church. Out of all the places we tried in Kerala, this was the most interesting to dine at. The operating hours of the restaurant are from 8 pm till the stock lasts, usually till 2 am. The eatery, initially started for fishermen has slowly become popular amongst the locals as well. The menu is quite simple – beef curry, mutton curry, chicken curry, fried chicken, boiled duck eggs and puttu. A simplistic place with only a few tables and benches as the main architecture, here the food speaks for itself. We tried the chicken curry with puttu and were impressed with the preparations. The chicken was cooked with lot of onions and special spices. It was a great end to our Cochin food journey.

Before leaving for Calicut, the breakfast at Ifthar restaurant was of typical Malabar dishes. Both the banana based dishes Kayikritha, Pazam Kuzachath are fried using ripened bananas and mixed with eggs, sugar, cardamom powder, and dry fruits.

All in all, it was a truly a journey equivalent to culinary heaven.

 

 

 

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Trivandrum Food Journey

 

Trivandrum/Thiruvanthapuram Food Journey

By Anubhav Sapra

YouTube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCkNfCU5UE&t=2s

 

Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram is an old city located on the west coast of the state of Kerala. This grand city is the capital as well as the largest urban metropolis of Kerala.

In Trivandrum, we started with Mani Mess, a vegetarian restaurant in Manakkadu, near Sreevaraham temple. Since its inception, 37 years ago, this restaurant is run by Krishnamoorthy and his sister Thankam. As you enter the restaurant, there is a waiting area lined up with chairs for seating. Tokens are issued and the guests are asked to sit and wait for their table. The popularity of the restaurant can be gauged from the fact that the customers are generally asked, albeit politely, to finish their meals in fifteen minutes. Just like all other places in Kerala, this too is adorned with a sign outside saying ‘Meals Ready’ (or in some cases ‘Biryani Ready’, which is promptly removed the moment the offering gets over.

Their standard lip-smacking meal comprises of rice, Sambhar, Thoran (stir fry vegetables ), Avial (vegetables and shredded coconut), Pachadi, Achaar (pickles), Olan (pumpkin and grams cooked in a gravy of coconut milk) Rasam (soup made with tamarind, pepper and other spices), More (spiced buttermilk) , Parippuvada (lentil fritters) and Papad. The meal is served with red coloured padumugam powder and lukewarm water. The homely food along with a variety of delicacies in one plate is sure to tickle your taste buds.

After a perfect start to our foodie expedition, in the state of spices-Kerala,our next stop was Kochanan Sahib’s restaurant, a peculiar place without a nameplate. Standing tall since 1964, Kochanan Sahib is located at Karamana Junction near ICICI bank’s ATM. This place serves the best mutton curry, mutton roast and mutton biryani in Trivandrum. The mutton roast was cooked in thick gravy to be eaten with Parottas. The meals are served on the traditional banana leaf. Alongside is the typical Kerala accompaniments with the Biryani, onion Raita and lemon pickles.

For evening tea, we went to a popular tea shop nearby, Chaithanya Tea Shop, located in Sasthamangalam. This little tea-snack shop has a large variety of delicacies to die for- cakes, Pazham Puri, Bhaji and many others. We had a cup of tea with banana fry commonly known as Pazham Puri.  Horlicks and Bournvita have also gained immense popularity as a beverage here, and in all of Kerala.

Zam Zam restaurant, opposite MLA hostel in Palayam was our quick stop for Al Faham (Arabian grilled chicken) and Shawaya (whole grilled chicken).

As you head forward, Buhari hotel in Attakulhangara is another renowned food joint known for their mutton chops, mutton roast and mutton brain roast. The restaurant was started in 1956 and caters to its customers till midnight. The chops were cooked in thick gravy with lightly flavored spices and served with crispy parottas. Buhari Hotel also runs a delicious juice and shakes parlour, which has turned out to be a popular hangout place for youngsters. One can relish khammam and Sharjah milk shakes here. The tender coconut malai is crushed in coconut water and mixed with dry fruits- almond, figs, cashews with frozen milk to give it a thick consistency, making it an immensely refreshing drink. Another popular joint for shakes is Chithra shakes near Law college junction. Their herbal drinks are a must-try!

The hotel manager guided us to a local eatery named Hotel Krishna, a bit far away from the main city at Kattachalkuzhi in Balarampuram, close to Coconut Research Centre. The restaurant started by Krishan Kutty, 22 years back is now managed by his son Shahji. The place is known for its Chicken Perattu and Chicken Thoran. As you enter the shop, you notice a group of ladies cutting and chopping ‘Nadan’ chicken; which is equivalent to desi or country chicken. It is further marinated in local spices. The pieces are then fried in coconut oil with local flavours and spice mixes. A dry preparation, the chicken is served with meals that has tapioca, rice or puttu.

After having our fill at Hotel Krishna, we moved on to Hotel Rehmaniya (Kethel’s) in Chalai market road. The restaurant since its inception in 1949 is known for a single signature dish- fried chicken. The small sized chicken pieces are fried in coconut oil along with red chillies. The seeds of dried red chillies add a crunchy taste and texture to the chicken making it lip smackingly delicious. Fried chicken is served with Chapathi and the left over chicken pieces are converted into curry and lemon pickles. They also serve fresh lime water with the meals.

The two day food-journey in Trivandrum ended at Kovalam beach with the classic beach snack- Uppil Ettath – mango and gooseberry slices in salt water and green chillies. A joyous day, indeed!

 

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Dettol Delhi Street Food Awards 2018

And the winners are-

  1. Aloo Tikki: Natraj Chaat, Chandni Chowk

Having served generations of Dilliwaale since 1940, Natraj Chaat is one of those places in town that has managed to retain its authenticity throughout the decades. It is only with them that simple chaat delicacies like Dahi Bhalle and Aloo Tikki have managed to become almost a heritage item in the heart of Old Delhi.

  1. Gol Gappe: Ashok Chaat Bhandar, Chawri Baazaar

You cannot talk about food in Delhi without talking about Gol Gappe, and someone who’s the best in the city for this snack is Ashok Chaat Bhandar. It serves up some of the most delicious mouthfuls of this tangy delight that you can find in the National Capital Region.

  1. Papdi Chaat: Shri Balaji Chaat Corner, Chandni Chowk

Located in the heart of the bustling streets of Puraani Dilli, Shri Balaji Chaat Corner’s Papdi Chaat is just the right kind of crunchy with balanced sweetness and their Dahi Bhallas are beautifully done, melt-in-mouth satisfaction. All in all, their dedication to doing simple things right wins hearts!

  1. Samosa: Chaina Ram Sweets, Chandni Chowk

Come holidays, and you see rows and rows of people lining up in front of this legendary outlet for their (extra) ordinary samosa! While this place is mostly known among the locals for its perfect sweets, the occasional passer by knows that their samosas are to die for.

  1. Banta: Vedprakash Lemon, Chandni Chowk

No matter what age you are or what the weather is like, whether you’re a regular visitor or a first-timer, Vedprakash Banta brings relief the tired body like nothing else. This drink is best enjoyed in the scorching heat. Their unique masala combination pumps life into the hustle-bustle of the city!

  1. Momos: Dolma Aunty, Lajpat Nagar

It is said that Delhi’s favourite street food, momos, came to the city with Dolma Aunty, and since then, the humble street-side vendor has established what a happy plate means to us.  The chutneys with the momos are particularly zingy and spicy. Dolma Aunty’s momos will always be the city’s first and last momo love.

  1. Chole Bhature: Chacha Chole Bhature, Kamla Nagar

Oh how we envy North Campus, Delhi University student but for a very specific reason! Chacha Chole Bhature has been a local favourite amongst Kamla Nagar residents and DU students, but when it comes to taste, nobody makes this North Indian fried favourite like them.

  1. Rajma Chawal: Jain Chawal Wala, Connaught Place

Rajma Chawal is very close to the hearts of those from Delhi, and always has some homely nostalgia and love attached to it. This lovely little street corner in the colonnaded centre of the city brings us a hot plate of nutrition and protein to us and makes it always feel like a Sunday afternoon at home.

  1. Bedmi Poori: Shyam Sweets, Chawri Bazaar

Bedmi Poori might be easily available but not everyone can get the sort of freshness with the dal-stuffed poori and the tanginess of the aaloo as Shyam Sweets. They have been bringing the perfectly authentic taste of Bedmi Poori to the heart (or stomach?) of Delhi since decades.

  1. Nagori Halwa: Shiv Mishthan Bhandar, Chandni Chowk

The only disappointment this legend holds is the possibility of its beloved Nagori Halwa, made freshly every morning in massive amounts, running out by noon! Have a hearty breakfast with the piping hot Nagori Halwa at this lovely restaurant and you will be left craving for it every morning.

 

  1. Parantha: Moolchand Paranthe Waala, Moolchand

How to make staple food like paranthas mind blowing? Moolchand Paranthe Waala is able to accomplish precisely that. Their crispy layers of scrumptiously buttered paranthas have made them a popular present day legend when it comes to authentic Delhi food.

  1. Kulfi: Roshan Di Kulfi

Karol Bagh – For anyone who has to face the blatant rush of Karol Bagh at absolutely any time of the week, the thought of Roshan Di Kulfi stands out like a calming consolation. Served perfectly with Kesar Rabri, this place is a go-to even in the coldest of the weathers.

  1. Nihari: Kallu Nihaari, Turkman Gate

Kallu Nihari overlooks the magnificent Jama Masjid and the Nihari looks deceptively like a simple dish garnished with shredded ginger and sliced green chilli, but the first taste of it will make you realise the reason behind the hundreds of people patiently waiting everyday for this difficult-to-be-perfected delicacy.

  1. Paan: Gupta Paan, Connaught Place

Gupta Paan, popularly known as Odeon Paan, has changed the way the city has looked at paan over the years. Introducing Ice Paan, Fire Paan, Chocolate Paan, and various other paan variations, Gupta Paan is not your average street-side tobacco seller.

  1. Seekh Kebab: Qureshi Kebab, Jama Masjid

Think of Qureshi Kebab and the immediate picture in your mind is that of biting into a juicy, tender, perfectly cooked piece of kebab. Located amongst a throng of excellent kebab-sellers, Qureshi Kebab is yet another outlet which wins over because of their effort and ability to leave a tummy happy.

  1. Chai: Singing Tree, CR Park

Delhi stays alive because of its tea sellers, and Singing Tree, CR Park, is a breather for anyone who happens to pass by. With tens of variations of street-side tea on the menu, this humble chai stall is a manifestation of all that a chai-break is meant to be: conversations, music, coming across acquaintances, the shade of a tree, and delicious, delicious tea.

  1. Kachori: Fateh Ki Kachori, Civil Lines

The name of the place itself is love for us. Again, something as central to street food as kachori is difficult to make in a way that it sets itself apart, and Fateh Ki Kachori, in all its humility, has done it for so long and for so many with its tasty topping of chole and chutney.

  1. Pakode: Khandani Pakode Wala, Nauroji Nagar

Khandani Pakode Wala does not only bring a twist to the regular pakoda by introducing varieties, but also makes sure that their food carries with it, a sense of homeliness and warmth. It is, truly, “khandani”, and has many a person’s evening on a rainy day or Monday.

  1. Chole Kulche: Lotan Kulche Waala, Chawri Baazaar

This vendor has been running on generations of love for the quintessentially Delhi dish – Chole Kulche. It embodies everything that the authentic dish is supposed to be, while also catering to an everyday Delhiite’s taste buds with its uber spicy chole and soft, heavenly kulche.

 

Special Category Awards

 

  1. Hall of Fame: Old Kheer Shop, Chandni Chowk

The name of this place carries with it, not just the thought of the sweetest dessert, Kheer, but also its tradition. You can taste generations of effort and love put into making this sweet dish so central to North India, in their little bowls of happiness!

  1. Women Food Entrepreneurs: ILHAM Afghan Cuisine

ILHAM is an initiative to provide financial stability to Afghan women who have settled in Delhi as refugees from Afghanistan. Supported by ACCESS, the venture has been received warmly by the public in the nearly one and a half year since its inception. Besides catering for events and other orders, these women also bring their extensive Afghani culinary knowledge to the table. They have been trained by ACCESS in entrepreneurship, and their story is as inspiring as it is heartwarming. We can’t wait to see how successful these ladies will be in the future!

  1. Best Street Food Fusion: Rajiv Bhai Ke Special Pizza Omelette, Palam Extension

This East meets West combination is as delicious as it is Instagrammable! Combining the desi street-side omelette with pizza toppings, makes this fusion dish unique, appetising and pretty perfect.

  1. Trending Street Food: KB Chaat’s Moonglet, Karol Bagh

When it comes to innovation, KB Chaat has made sure that street food does not only represent the usual varieties, but also always evolves with times. The Moonglet, a Moong Daal Omelette, is a fluffy dish stuffed with a variety of vegetables. This place is a saviour for creating a vegetarian omelette, making it the talk of the town.

Photo Album- https://www.facebook.com/pg/DelhiFoodWalks/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1766752270075313

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Lotan Ji Chole Kulche

Chole Kulcha is a very popular street food item one can find at every nook and corner of Delhi. Delhites love to relish this chatpatta street food snack for breakfast, lunch, evening hunger or early dinner.

Lotan Kulche Wala is a popular Kulche wala situated in the chawri bazar. This small joint offers the best of chole with kuchle that are flavored with spicy sour chutney and chillies, which gives it a unique taste.

The combination of boiled chickpeas and a soft kulcha is garnished with chopped onions, tomatoes, powdered spices and a generous squeeze of lime. The Cholas are made in a copper vessel and topped with aloo and red spicy masala, which has to be the show-stealer here. Especially for those who love all things spicy and greasy. You can choose less spicy or extra spicy according to your taste.

The vendor has been sitting at the particular place for quite some years and anyone who is familiar with the area can guide the food enthusiasts to this eating joint. Mahaveer, the grandson of the founder, Mr. Lotan sits in Chhatta Shah from 7:30 am to 10:30 am. So try to reach here before 10 o’clock or you might turn back empty stomach.

This delicious recipe for chole goes back eighty odd years. The shop is run by the fourth generation of the family. Mahaveer is carrying forward the legacy, with the very same recipe and serving people with best Chole Kulche in town.

Along with chole-kulche, this shop also serves chana soup, with a cube of butter added giving an extra flavor to it. There is no proper sitting arrangement but one can find a patient crowd around Mahaveer, eagerly waiting to get their hands on the tasty Chole Kulche.

The dish is highly recommended for the chole kulche lovers. It is nothing like anything you have had before.

 

Location : 2358/108, Chatta Saahji, Dharam Pura Rd, Nai Wala, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006

Cost for Two : Rs 100

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Shiv Misthan Bhandar

It is said that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and Delhi has no dearth of options when it comes to sizzling breakfast options. Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian, you would find it all in this walled-city. So one day I went around old Delhi in search of some good vegetarian dishes, and was instantly recommended Shiv Misthan Bhandar’s bedmi aloo.

Shiv Mishtan Bhandar is one of the legendary shop in Chandini Chowk. Established in 1910, by Shri Mohar Singh Yadav, Shiv Mishtan Bhandar is recognized for a wide range of sweets and snacks of Rajasthani cuisine. Shiv Mishthan Bhandar is known to serve its customers with heavenly delights prepared with pure desi ghee.

If  you are there in the morning, you can dish on nagori halwa, a delicious dish, which consists of  small puris which you stuff with halwa or relish their famous bedmi, a delicious meal of two big puris stuffed with a dal mixture, which is served with potato sabzi and chole. Flavorful methi chutney and pickles are also served alongwith.

Apart from bedmi aloo, they have chholey bhature, kachori and samosa . They sell six kinds of sweets : jalebi and imarti, gulab jamun, suji halwa, mung dal halwa and malpua. Shiv Misthan’s jalebi is juicy, yet crisp.

Earlier, one had to stand and eat there, but now the place has expanded and remodeled with a decent seating space. If you are eating there, bearers keep filling your plate with sabzi at regular intervals.

There are only 11 items on the menu but Shiv Misthan keeps a strict check on quality. Few of its signature dishes are must try, like Bedmi Poori served with Aloo ki Sabzi along with spicy Methi ki Chutney & Choley, Halwa Nagori with Crispy Poori, Jalebi, Imarti.

When visiting Shiv Mishthan Bhandar, you are ought to leave your calorie conscious mind back home to fully enjoy the of taste and tradition of old delhi. My craving for bedmi aloo has been met, when are you going?

 

Location : 375, Kucha Ghasi Ram, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi

Cost of Two : Rs 100 (Approx)

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Haji Mohd. Hussain Fried Chicken

Jama Masjid is quite a delight for people looking for authentic street food of Delhi. The aroma of different kababs, parathas, mithais have served as crowd puller since time immemorial and one such gem of Old Delhi is Haji Mohd. Hussain Fried Chicken. Since 40 years, the modest eatery is serving some of the finest fried chicken in Delhi.

The mouth-watering Mughlai preparations are every non-veg lover’s dream come true. The chicken is first marinated in different spices, and then half-fried. The marination lends the perfect balance of spices in the juicy and tender chunks. The person who fries the chicken legs even checks the chicken piece with his hands to ensure the piece is well- fried and not undercooked.

When served, the portion comes with spicy chutney, green chillies and raw onions. The chicken has a crunchy outer and is super-juicy inside. It is complemented well with rumali roti, onions and tangy chutney.

 

For maximum crispness, the chicken is cut into small pieces to be fried in huge pan of boiling oil. They fry the half done chicken again before serving. Double frying the chicken results crunchy outside and moist and tender inside.

Don’t expect a very hygienic environment or an upscale service, as it serves in a small shop but offers lip smacking food at reasonable rates. Haji Mohd. Hussain Fried Chicken lies in the vicinity of Jama Masjid and opens by 11 in the morning and serves till 11 at night.

There is no seating available. One has to stand and eat or mostly people prefer to get these delicious treats parceled for home. The moist and tender delight would is sure to impress all chicken lovers in town.

A must try dish for all.

 

Location : 113, Matia Mahal Road, Bazaar Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid, New Delhi

Cost for two : Rs 300