3 nights in the backwaters: Kerala |3| India

January 21, 2010 1 comment

Kerala is very famous for its backwaters, a large lake and river area running parallel to the coast. It’s nice to spend a few days there, living at the pace of the Keralan people.

While we were staying at Phillip Kutty’s Farm & Homestay, children and adult guests enjoyed reading books, playing backgammon, taking cooking classes, walking around the coconut plantation, going on a canoe ride for sunset, fishing in the river for dinner…. There were even two South African teenagers doing their homework in the afternoons. The great thing about Phillip Kutty’s is that you are staying with this lovely family, with 2 young children, and sharing their daily life. The grand-father literally reclaimed land from water some 50 years ago to create a coconut plantation.

It’s all beautifully run and every guest has its own cottage. Two of them can accomodate large families. It’s incredibly comfortable, clean and nicely decorated. The food is delicious, eaten at a large communal table where everyone shares a piece of their own life. So refreshing and so nice.

Here is Animma’s take on the famous chicken curry, one of the best I have ever had.

Ingredients: coconut oil, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, sliced red onions, sliced green chillies, fresh curry leaves, carrots and potatoes cut in large cubes, 1 big tsp of salt, 2 tsp of turmeric powder, cardamon, clove and cinnamon, black pepper, coconut milk diluted in water and thick coconut milk. And chicken of course.

Fry the garlic+ginger+onions in the coconut oil in a large pot. Add curry leaves if you can find them where you live (good luck. and dont get confused with curry powder). Add the chicken cut in pieces. Crush the spices before adding them to the pot. Add the black pepper. Let it all simmer at medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the carrots&potatoes. Cover and stir regularly on medium heat. Add the diluted coconut milk, enough quantity so that it covers the meat in the pot. Let is cook for 30min now on med/high fire. Once well cooked, add the thick coconut milk to give it a creamy texture.

After 2 nights at PK, we went to Allepey (1h30 drive) to get on our houseboat. Just ourselves and a small crew. Again, delicious curries. Ginger and garlic prawns that we bought from a fisherman on the lake, papadom, Kingfisher. And a full moon for new years eve.

Very very slowly, we cruised on the various little rivers, watched people go by with their days, school children commute back home on the waterbus, women wash their clothes in the river, men wash themselves in the same river. Everything in peace and harmony. I continued reading The God of Small Things quietly.

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