Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My perfect vacation : Travel through Gods own country



Spots for a perfection vacation from Bangalore are plenty. But nothing can beat the perfect vacation to Kerala. I hope to visit Kerala every year and spend more than a week. My ideal Kerala itinerary (built on my past experience) would be something like below. 




DAY 0: Departure
  There are plenty of options to travel from Bangalore. But given that I want to focus on enjoying the beauty in an economical budget, I mostly prefer the AC buses (nickname “Airavat”) of Karnataka government. Start from Bangalore on KSRTC bus and arrive at Kochi. There are many options and flexible time slots

DAY 1-2: Kochi to Munnar
   The overnight journey cannot kill my excitement for travel in gods owns country. Arrange the tour guide to pick up from Kochi bus station and ensure that they provide a package till end of Kerala trip. In the last Kerala package that I took, accommodation along with one car+driver was arranged.
  Once in Kerala, why miss the authentic Kerala cuisine.  Start the day with the mouth-watering cuisine. Make sure the stomach is not so full that you cannot explore the scenic spots of Kochi.  Limit the spots since the drive to Munnar should be done before late nightfall. Attractions can be chosen from the following list: Chinese fishing nets, Folklore Museum, Mattancherry Palace, Hill Palace of Tripunithura, cruise etc.
Early drive from Kochi to next destination munnar is a must. Cheyyappara Water Falls on the way is an interesting stop over. Overnight stop at a hotel near/in Munnar and build dreams for next day

  • Munnar has many attractions apart from the famous tea garden, national park etc.
  • Night can be spent at any of the famous martial centers watching traditional folk-art
  • Next day(day3) start journey towards the spice farms

DAY 3 -4: Munnar to Thekkady
Start the journey from Munnar to Thekkady mostly in the morning. On the way you can stop at any tea gardens of Munnar if you wish to take some more great shots. The 115km journey goes through beautiful lush spice gardens of Kerala.
Once in Thekkady, you can shop some spices which are much cheaper and are of supreme quality. Evening can be spent inside periyar tiger reserve. Make sure you book in advance the boat ride

Next day at 4am book a jeep for a ride through the greenery of tiger reserve. We could hardly see any animals during our last visit but we were mind blown by the greenery.

DAY5: Thekkady - Alleppey

Post the beautiful exploration of Thekkady, it’s time to start moving towards Venice of India – “Alleppey”. After 3-4 hours, reach Alleppey and camp with luggage in a single bedroom Kerala Style Traditional House Boat. In the boat, apart from great hospitality enjoy the full one day travel through the Kerala backwaters. It is just amazing. In last visits, I along with my friends hardly slept and spent our whole day/night glancing through the great backwaters.
 
Day 6: Alleppey – Kovalam
Post the morning breakfast (with the heavy heart) freeze memories and start moving towards next destination – “Kovalam Beach”. In about 4.5 hours you can reach kovalam and take some rest. Evening can be well spent in the company of famous Beaches like Samudra and Hawah. In addition, go atop the Light House to get a good view of the beach. Click some great panographic photos. It will be an evening well spent on the beach along with many tourists
One suggestion is that you can skip the food on the beach since it is very costly. But being a fish eater from goa, I have some incentive to ignore delicious fresh fish. If you are not a budget traveler, then there are plenty of sea foods available on the beach.


Day 7: Time to wind up. But explore Trivandrum before you finish it
Early in the morning start from Kovalam towards backwaters of Poovar. This place offers an amazing 3 hour boat ride. During last visit we got a deal since we bought the ticket online.
Post the visit; you can visit some of the famous attractions of Trivandrum like zoo or temple. For shopping freaks, Trivandrum has many options.

END OF GREAT JOURNEY

Seven days will pass like a wind. Only sweet memories remain. Do not miss the Kerala halwa before you start journey towards home.

There are plenty of options for tour operator in Kerala. Private taxi to go around Kerala will be a good option since it will save lot of time. Be aware that in the above itinerary the temperature keeps on increasing as you start coming down from Munnar to Trivandrum.

If you wish to know details about the tour operator i used or different hotels i have stayed in past Kerala visit, then do leave a comment below.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mouthwatering Chat - Bhel Puri

Have you ever wondered, what is the most common food across the streets of North India? If you guessed “chaat” then you had a perfect guess. But I am sitting in south India and enjoying best coffee along with a special chat “Bhel puri”. As my friends sipped their favorite best tea along with “bhel”. we remembered our time spent in Delhi.  Relishing old memories we agreed that nothing can satisfy the remorseful pleasures of an Indian food better than some piquant, tasty chaat? You do not agree. Taste it and then let us debate about it.



Well for now, I think you do not need to go to any restaurant for tasting  “bhel”. It is easy to make it at home. Order the coffee and tea online or through a nearby store and let’s start preparing the delicious “bhel puri”.



Bhel puri is one of the famous chaats and one of my favorites. It is easy to make and tastes delicious. It is made up of puffed rice, potato, onion, tomato, sev and chutneys( green chutney and tamarind chutney).

INGREDIENTS

  • Puffed rice – 2 cups
  • Green chutney – 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind chutney – 2 tbsp
  • Boiled potato, chopped – 1 large
  • Onion, chopped – 1 medium
  • Tomato, chopped – 1 medium
  • Red chilly powder – ½ tsp
  • Chat masala – 1 tsp
  • Cilantro, chopped – ¼ cup
  • Fine sev – ½ cup
  • Pomegranate seeds – ¼ cup
  • Papadis- few
  • Salt to taste


PREPARATION
  • Boil potato and chopped into small cubes.
  • Finely chop onion and tomato.
  • Dry roast puffed rice on low flame. Allow it cool down.
  • Then take a bowl, add together puffed rice, green chutney, tamarind chutney, boiled potato, chopped onion, chopped tomato, red chilly powder, chat masala, chopped cilantro and salt.
  • Mix well till all the ingredients incorporate with each other.
  • Then add  fine sev , crushed papadi and pomegranate seeds. Mix everything well.
  • And here we go bhel puri is ready and serve it immediately.

From the streets of North India, chaats have now become famous all over the world. Hardly any Indian can resist chaat, and now this delicious cusine has earned its share of many loyal global followers too! Nothing can be more exciting than having a plate of chaats accompanied by sociable chitchat of friends (people who had to buy tea online) and family (people who had to buy coffee online). The combo of chaats along with favorite beverage makes the discussion much more joyful.


Vegetable And Paneer Tikka





Indian Cuisine has been influenced by various cultures. Vegetable and Paneer tikka (English name: marinated paneer/cottage cheese cubes) is the popular snack dish made with paneer and vegetables. This recipe is grilled in a tandoor or in oven.  This dish can be the best party snack when served with soft drinks. For non-vegetarian lover, the same can be prepared using chicken and called it as chicken tikka.

Do try this yummy recipe at any time and spend quality time with friends/family. Below I have listed the ingredients and steps to prepare it





INGREDIENTS

  • Paneer , cut into 2 inch pieces -200 gms
  • Green capsicums – 1 medium ,cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Onion – 1 medium , quatered and layers separated
  • Roasted besan – 2 tbsp
  • Hung yogurt – ½ cup
  • Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – ½ tsp
  • Ginger garlic paste  - 2 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 tsp
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Tumeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Chaat masala – ½ tsp



    PREPARATION
    • In a bowl mix together , roasted besan , yogurt, red chilly powder, salt, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, olive oil  and lemon juice. 
    • Then add paneer, capsicum and onion pieces and mix so that the marinate paste coats all the pieces.Keep aside for 15 minutes.
    • Preheat oven to 325F.
    • Arrange all the marinated pieces  on the  bamboo skewers.
    • Place the skewers on the baking tray. Roast them for 10 minutes.
    • Sprinkle chaat masala on the tikka.
    • Vegetable and paneer tikka is ready to serve.





    Paneer or Vegetable tikka have become a household name due to its popularity. Many food outlets offer it in their menu. If you are a fast food fan and want to enjoy tikka, then many famous food chains also offer it now. For example Pizza hut or dominos offer paneer tikka as a topping on most of their dishes. Others multinational companies such as Subway, McDonald’s and many Indian food chains also offer it along with other great delicious food.

    Other popular varieties of vegetarian tikka which can be tried are mushroom tikka, gobi tikka, marinated fruits tikka (common in BBQ food outlets), aloo tikka etc.

    So are you ready to enjoy this tasty tikka. Buy soft drinks online and start partying/enjoying with delicious tikka.

    I will be happy to hear your experience on preparing tikka at home. Do leave your comments below!