More good eats on our houseboat in Kerala…

It’s a little embarassing that it’s taking me two posts to write about everything I’d crammed in during my stay on the houseboat in Kerala, all in a span of less than 24 hours. I’ve already described the best thing we’d tasted on the boat, freshwater scampi for dinner, as well as our lunch feast on my previous post. So here’s everything else that Chef B (our personal chef on the houseboat whose name I’ve totally blanked on) cooked for us during our tour of the backwaters in Kumarakom…

In addition to scampi for dinner, we also had Chinese fried rice and my all-time favourite, Chicken Manchurian with its characteristic soy-sauce flavoured gravy.

And then as icing on the cake, Chef B even brought out a…well, a cake. The cake was part of the discounted ‘’honeymoon’’ package that Yin and I had conveniently signed up for in our quest for a cheaper deal (thus also scandalizing the entire resort crew when us two single ladies first arrived. Who says honeymoon packages are only for married couples?) The cake was rather anticlimactic, somewhat stale-tasting and oozing with sugary cream…I wasn’t at all disappointed, this just meant that I had more tummy space for round 9 of scampi.

Prior to this feast, Chef B got out some tea-time munchies so that we could eat while we were waiting to be fed again for dinner. (maybe Chef B had some sinister plan to stuff us like geese and serve us as foie gras to the next houseboat guests…?) Troubling thoughts aside, we crunched through a giant pappadum sprinkled with a pungent peanut masala, full of roasted peanuts, tomatoes, onions, chillies, pepper and lemon…

…and fried and battered bananas. It was such fun to bite through these fritters and lap up the sweet cooked banana that squished out of the yellow batter casing. Just the kind of sugary yummy thing that toothpaste should be made of.
All washed down with a cup of deep, earthy South Indian filtered coffee. I so need to get me one of those South Indian filter coffee machines in Dubai – every morning would be such a pleasure to wake up to.

My tummy was still somewhat fatigued the next morning from all the eating the day before (rare case, but Chef B managed the impossible). I skipped over the standard bread, butter and jam to avoid wasting whatever tum space I had left in me, and made for the real Kerala breakfast deal – appams, made out of rice batter and grilled into the shape of bowls, with a creamy vegetable curry full of softened carrots, onions, beans, and coconut milk. All that, with some freshly squeezed sweet mosambi juice, and I was set to climb a mountain that day (actually, we ended up lazing around the resort, strolling through a bird sanctuary, and then sleeping on the plane ride back to Hyderabad thereafter. But if push came to shove, I’m quite sure I could have climbed that mountain.)

Yin and I literally rolled off that houseboat ready to burst. In less than 24 hours, we’d shamelessly consumed enough food for an army of those spindly boatmen we saw rowing across the backwaters.

If you’re looking for a destination food vacation, I’d highly recommend giving Kerala’s backwaters a prime slot on your itinerary.
(PS. In case you’re confused at my mention of a ‘destination food vacation,’ that concept actually exists…I didn’t pull this one out of my strange foodie fantasies. In fact, an ex-colleague and friend has an entire website dedicated to planning such food-filled vacations for the ‘gastronomic traveler.‘)

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

3 thoughts on “More good eats on our houseboat in Kerala…

    1. iliveinafryingpan says:

      Thanks Elaine, it was really memorable! Would definitely recommend throwing in a 1 day houseboat trip in Kerala if you ever plan a tour in India at some point :)

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