Friday, March 26, 2010
Kerala people are awake early, especially women in the villages. Breakfast proper gets under way when the kids are up, and consists of pootu - cylinders of roughly pounded rice and coconut steamed together in hollowed out bamboos or
Appam - soft, slightly cupped rice pancakes that are deliciously spongy in the centre,
Iddiappams, a kind of vermicelli, are another breakfast staple made with rice powder, made by squeezing runny rice dough through a special press and then steaming it.
These are accompanied by the sweetest Kerala bananas, and may be a cup of warm tea, or else with saucers or spicy egg masala, Vegitable and mutton ishtu a rich tasty gravy bases on onions which is poured over the pootu, appam or iddiappam.
In large towns and cities, however, a more generic, South Indin-style breakfast prevails, based on dishes originally devised in the Karnatakan pilgrimage town of Udipi These include scrumptious deep-fried savoury doughnuts made of chickpea flur called vada, and circular steamed rice cakes, or iddlis, which are broken up and soaked in sambar or mashed together with chatni -a tangy paste often made with ground coconut and finely chopped fresh green chillis.
iddli-vada-sambar breakfasts being dished up from dawn onwards, and around the clock in railway and bus stations. By 11am, however, most, places will have switched to their lunchtime meals menu.
If you're staying in a smart hotel, buffet breakfasts are the norm, consisting of limp versions of Western food and even limper South Indian dishes. The juice of tender coconut – ‘world’s safest natural soft drink’ – is a refreshing nutritious thirst quencher. The staple food of the masses is rice. Kerala cuisine also has a medley of pickles and chutneys. And the crunchy papadams, banana chips and jack chips can give french fries a run for their money any day