Monday, June 05, 2006,8:24 PM

This is something new to me, Ragi Puttu. Had this for breakfast at my friend Mathew's place near silent valley. He is an Ayurvedic doctor, I'll write about him and his research work in Ayurveda after seeking his permission, He'd be too glad but still have to seek permission.
I have not seen Ragi puttu anywhere else. Crush it with banana he said, but I preferred onion curry with it. It was really filling and very tasty. He told me how healthy ragi is and narrated its great virtues which I forgot the very instant. I'll get you details if you want.

Plenty of fruits this season in Kerala. Other new item I had was a jack fruit Applam and jack fruit payasam at my friend Ramesh's in law's place in Angadipuram. Terrific it was.

these are jack fruit chips, you get them everywhere, shops trains buses. I was munching very little actually. Can't have too much of it, have no money for doctors. I don't want to solve problems, I want to avoid problems. Can't take chances away from home, very tempting though.

I did not buy any halwa here, bought the yellow one, just before I boarded the train back home, just one kilo for my nephew niece and sisters, Tempted to buy the red and the black one too, but the bag was getting too heavy for me to carry. All have different taste. All cooked in coconut oil

See the arrow below? I love this stuff, don't know what its called, its sweet, you get these things in Railway stations too. I buy a packet when I have no time to have a regular meal and rushing to grab a window seat.

Now we come to banana chips. These are big banana chips. Other name for Kerala should be bandh nadu or chip nadu. Kerala is mostly Chips and Bandhs, Bandh is strike, Nothing works, Everything comes to a grinding halt, no activity, all roads deserted, and you'd be stranded with no place to stay and nothing to eat. Lighting strikes. They just fall on you. I was caught on such wrong days five times already. They put boulders on the roads. no traffic. Some bandhs or strikes are announced a couple of days ahead, but most of them hit you un awares.

This is a typical rural setting. This man says that chips fried in the cities or towns on gas stoves are no good. I believe him after tasting his chips, they were lot tastier than the ones I had before. Here he is frying the chips on a mud stove using firewood. He didn't take any money from me, unfortunately I couldn't buy the stuff from him as I had lot more places to cover, can't afford to carry the weight. The place is near Plachimada, its close to Tamil Nadu state border. the place was a great discovery for me. I took a beautiful train ride from there that I never knew about. Thanks e2dees for your tip.

After tasting the very orrriginal chips, time to have some chaaya. Old lady was making tea for me here in this rural chaaya kadai. Just had a few sips and saw the bus coming

You can afford to miss a bus in Tamil Nadu but not in Kerala. so had to abandon my tea, I was sitting next door here and enjoying my tea when the bus suddenly appeared.

I'll write about the romantic train ride in my next post.
Daylight Again
Wake up blog
posted by rauf
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  • 12:07 AM, Anonymous e2d

    Wonderful Rauf!! I miss all this…the “chayakadas” and the “chakkapazhams”.
    The "arrow"---I think the sweet is "unniappam".Its a sweet made from mixing rice powder, banana(the small variety...think its called apple bananas in the USofA), jaggery syrup ,grated coconut/milk (not sure) and fried pieces of coconut ,all poured into a special cast-iron vessel with depressions and fried in what else but coconut oil!!
    I probably confused the hell out of you with my description...hehehe!!.

    And I agree --the name should be changed to "bandh nadu". The promptness and seriousness with which bandhs are carried out in Kerala is enviable. Nobody to beat us--dont even think of competing!!
    Here is something funny. I got a chance to go to Nagpur for an inter-college program. Other than Haldiram's head quarters(HQ) it is also RSS 's HQ . Every time somebody lifts an eyebrow--RSS declares bandh. Kerala comes to a stand still...but in Nagpur life goes on as usual. Kerala has perfected the art u see. lol!
    Cant wait to hear about the train journey.

  • 7:04 AM, Blogger Ruth

    International geographic and food tour. I love it. I'm learning so much. Beautiful faces and fruit. Thank you for introducing me.

  • 1:44 PM, Blogger Claudia

    I wish I could taste some of the banana chips. They look absolutely delicious. Great pics. May you travel often and always report on it as well.

  • 8:51 PM, Blogger Rauf

    e2dees, Just imagine me sitting on a deserted Railway platform with nothing to eat and no place to stay. Never knew about the bandh.
    It was a sudden strike. Luckily they did not stop the train in Pallakkat.I was in Alwaye station for the whole day. To make things worse there was no water in the railway station. After six in the evening when the buses started plying took a bus to Kothamangalam
    and ate like a junglee.

  • 9:00 PM, Blogger Rauf

    You have to be careful with fruits Ruth. I don't experiment with fruits I have never tasted while traveling. Avoid fruits that you cannot peel or wash them thoroughly. I had one bad experience eating one fruit i never heard of in Kashmir. I lost my voice for 2 days. It was very tasty, the red and yellow colour and the sweet smell was too tempting. I think the one I ate was not ripe enough. I saw many children eating it. I thought lets try it.

  • 9:06 PM, Blogger Rauf

    Thank you so much for your blessing Claudia. Your words encourage me to rush to the railway station, just waiting for some money. Want to go to Karnataka before the rains stop. The roads are in bad condition there after the rains, but in Kerala most of the roads are in good condition. I don't have a car and I don't drive but you have a very bumpy ride in the bus and it takes longer to reach a place.

  • 3:34 AM, Blogger Don Iannone

    Thank you, Rauf, for helping us see the world through your eyes. Your soul shines and illuminates all of us. Thank you for this food.

  • 6:51 AM, Blogger Ruth

    Ugh, good reminder about taking care with fruit in new places. Hard on the tummy.

  • 7:41 PM, Blogger Rauf

    Food is tempting Don, but have to be careful. Not expensive at all.
    The other thing i forgot to mention in this blog is water, you get hot drinking water everywhere which would be slightly yellowish in colour. it is safe, they boil the water with herbs or cumin seeds. (Zeera water or Jeeraga vellam)

  • 7:44 PM, Blogger Rauf

    Yes Ruth fruits can make you sick here, smell and the colour would be too tempting.

  • 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Enjoyed a lot! » »

  • 3:41 AM, Blogger emptyquarter

    Raufji, These chayakadas are an edangered species. I saw them slowly disappearing from my village. Thank you for bringing them here for all of us to see and reminisce about. The sound of the rustling samovars (they put a brass coin in the samovar, which will make a sound hitting against the bottom of the samovar when the water boils. This way they can feed the coal in the burner to keep the water hot for the tea.) still ring in my mind. Good luck.


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