2 States, 2 Weddings & Endless Food – A whirlwind kind of love

Trying to think of excuses as I type… Why haven’t I blogged since January?

  • I was squashed under pre-vacation work load.
  • I was busy traveling to and in India.
  • I did not always have good internet connectivity… or
  • I was so engulfed by family and extended family drama and stress, that I couldn’t even think of EATING. The last reason will and can never fly… because no matter how stressed I am, I EAT.  I eat when I am happy, I eat when I am sad and I eat because that’s what I do.

So no excuses and given the number of people who read my blog, I am sure an explanation is not due. What have I been up to? I was on a whirlwind of a vacation to India. Hopping between states and cultures in the land of diversity. Travelled from the laidback Southern part of India to the loud and colourful North. I spent a week in Kerala; devouring my mom’s yummy treats, prepared specially for me and only me (I can safely claim that as I was the only one in the house), walking down memory lane in my ancestral home, exploring my uncle’s vegetable garden and spending time with cousins at Kentucky Fried Chicken – clear sign of how easy it is for food to break cultural barriers. And not to mention attended the coming together of a beautiful bride and the most compatible groom at a family wedding and feasted on the true Kerala feast – Sadhya. mom's yummy treats

Early morning veggie hunt at my Uncle's Backyard
Early morning veggie hunt at my Uncle’s Backyard

KFC wedding south I knew I was heading to the northern part of India, when Mr. Hubster came with ‘Idlis in a Cup’. Yeah heard of Cup Noodles… well now its Cup Idlis. Tasted pretty good though for airport food. idli in a cup

Landed in Chandigarh. Was amazed at how polite and well-spoken the taxi drivers there are. And not to anyone’s surprise, while Mr. Hubster enquired about the great French architect, the mastermind behind the planned city Chandigarh, I cut in with the most pertinent question “WHATS THE BEST PLACE TO GO FOR AUTHENTIC PUNJABI FOOD”. He asked us to go to Pal Dhaba. He said, “It doesn’t have the glitz n glam of a shiny five star restaurant but the food is the best in the land”. Exactly my kind of place.

Paal Dhaba

It was just the two of us, so we ordered half butter chicken, a dish which can most definitely be called the brand ambassador of Punjab or even India. Wasn’t prepared for what arrived. The portion sizes in this land matches the heart of its people. The half portion was equivalent to two full portions elsewhere. The taste – can never have butter chicken outside Punjab again. I am ruined! And the tandoori roti, just reminiscing about it right now makes me crave for it. BUTTER CHICKEN In Punjab, and how can I say no to dessert. Headed to Gopal Sweets for Moong dal Halwa and Gulab Jammun. After quiet literally supping up all the richness of Chandigarh we went into snooze mode. DESSERT I wrapped up my trip at a big, fat Punjabi wedding. My bestie was tying the knot, post which she will be relocating from Muscat. I was welling up with the sheer thought of having to part with her and my sole solace was the juicy tangadi kebab (tandoori chicken drumstick) and the endless mouth-watering dishes on display. My friends and I without a doubt devoured every bite wedding food

The North Indian Wedding
The North Indian Wedding
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The Natural Kind of Love

I consider myself blessed as I belong to a ‘generation of parents’ who are firmly grounded to their roots. They might have branched out to greener, brighter pastures but their roots keep pulling them back to the land they were born in. Because of that gravitational pull – me, my brother and my cousins got to experience the village life in all its glory.

So when my cousin whtapped me the images of the produce from my Uncle’s vegetable garden it filled my heart with the memories of my late Grandma overseeing all the mango and tamarind harvest in our backyard.

My Ancestral Home in Palakkad, Kerala, India
My Ancestral Home in Palakkad, Kerala, India

Our ancestral home is more than 100 years old and has a lot of acreage.

My Uncle the man behind the prodcue
My Uncle the man behind the produce

Kudos to my uncle for nurturing the land that has the potential to yield gold. He has such a big heart that he distributes the produce to family, friends and passerby for FREE. Such is our love for food 🙂

Here are some of his productions:

Half blushing Tomatoes
Half blushing Tomatoes
Okra / Lady Finger - Hmmm i never knew it grew upward, facing the sun.
Okra / Lady Finger – Hmmm i never knew it grew upward, facing the sun.
Melony goodness
Melony goodness
Look closely - wild yet tamed chili
Look closely – wild yet tamed chili

When you love you love naturally. When you love food you love it to the extent that my Uncle does – Nature-lly. Some day I wish to do the same.

First Bite Experience:

I cant tell you how different these home grown, organic veggies taste. If you have never had it, I have to boldly say that you are missing  sublime goodness that stems from the lap of nature. My Omani friends have farms and they have got me freshly plucked Cherry Tomatoes and they taste just the same. Sublime!

Have you ever tried to grow something a herb, a plant, a veggie… anything? Do share your experience.