Kerala is a state in south India. Like Yorkshire in England, it is referred to as “God’s own country”. Obviously the phrase means, the big man above has a private garden of his own and he assiduously is gracious in welcoming you to come and stay!
But i would first venture out to say that food makes God’s own country so satiating an experience. The hindu has this delightful article. Total cost for 2 – around 4 dollars each!
Hot black tea arrives on cue, as soon as we take our places. The tea is free and unlimited. The menu, a polished wooden board, presents a variety of naadannon-vegetarian options with an entire side dedicated to seafood delicacies. The gastronomic adventure kicks off with fluffy appams and fiery Kottayam neimeen (king fish) curry. Appam soaked in super-spicy chilli gravy is a delight to have with well-cooked cubes of fish. It is the same story with puttu and Kainakari duck. The thick, peppery curry has duck pieces that melts with a bite and is perfect with the soft puttu.
Meanwhile, the centrepiece of the feast arrives. Marinated in an assortment of spices, wrapped and cooked in banana leaf, the classic avoli pollichathu arrives in a steamy bundle dressed with tomato and onion slices. The fish, big enough for two, is fried and flavoured to perfection. After devouring it within no time and still not having enough of it, we go for a final round with prawn roast and appam. Fat prawns cooked in masala gravy arrive within a few minutes in an earthen platter. Chunky prawn doused in the caramelised gravy sets off an explosion of flavours when had with the appam. We wash it all down with another glass of black tea and call it a day.
Apart from the usual assortment of breads, Pankayam also serves special puttu variants with chicken, beef and mutton. For those looking for flavoured rice, there is the Pankayam pulao. Chicken and quail fries too are on the list.
Although most of the fish delicacies are available all through the day, traditional sadya is the only main course option at lunch with a never-ending supply of pappadam and lime juice.