Assam to Kerala: 5 trains, 4,000 kilometres, and 21 days
Assam to Kerala: 5 trains, 4,000 kilometres, and 21 days
Over the last 10 years, I have been air-dashing up and down India, and in the process I have started missing the country. After all, airports are exactly the same everywhere. Besides, there’s that worrisome thing about the carbon footprint and how one contributes to global warming with each flight. On my most recent trip, I flew to Assam in 3 hours from Karnataka without seeing anything but clouds. So, on the way back, I decided to take the slow route—a three-week train journey with stops along the way to eat local and see the sights, the way I used to in the 1990s.
As a fledgling travel writer, I used to clock up almost 25,000 rail kilometres annually travelling around India, rarely able to afford anything better than a sleeper-class ticket. Perhaps I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to reconnect with that younger me—half my age and so full of energy that a little hardship didn’t come in the way of enjoying a good trip.
Call it a midlife crisis or a whimsical choice, either way, I made a spur of the moment decision to cross India by train.
After a salubrious sojourn in the greenery of Meghalaya, Guwahati seems to steam like a pressure cooker. If one likes long rides, trains from the station here run to far-off places like Jammu (2,430km) and Kanyakumari (3,715km). Each year, over eight billion passengers travel on the 20,000 Indian trains that connect 7,349 stations, but I am no longer sure I will enjoy this as much as I had imagined. It’s an awful long way from here to Mahé (from where I will take a bus home to Coorg), exactly 4,010km as I add up the mileage of the five tickets I have purchased (for ₹ 1,935 in non-AC sleeper class). Am I insane?
Everybody has warned me off unhygienic railway grub, so I meekly fortify myself with mutton curry and fluffy chapatis at one of Paltan Bazaar’s always-open eateries just behind the station. I philosophize that according to traveller wisdom a journey is often more important than its destination. This is an existential battle in which I must recover the railway vagabond that I was decades ago before I started writing jet-setting travelogues for glossy publications.
I grab my backpack and board the rust-coloured behemoth which is going to crawl to my first stopover, Kolkata. As I stash my stuff on to an upper berth, my trepidation is mitigated by the brand new coach—the Kaziranga Express is a recently introduced service. My co-passengers turn out to be a jolly band of Bengali ladies, coming from Guwahati’s Kamakhya temple and going to Kolkata’s Kalighat Kali temple to get blessed by potent protofeministic forces. It makes sense to journey by train, to sit together and sing hymns, which wouldn’t be feasible on an aeroplane.
Soon, I understand how pointless it was to eat before boarding. The train has its own pantry car and waiters in bright orange uniforms tempt passengers with hot biryani. I am stuffed, so I make do with Assamese lal-sah , black tea served with lime, and first-rate mishti doi which, though not in an earthen cup, is packaged hygienically and tastes authentic.
The sun sets early in the North-East, so after an hour there are no more views of the Brahmaputra valley, but a cloying scent of the river lingers, mixed with the zesty burps of passengers. Within 20 minutes, the ever-present waiters take dinner orders. A freshly cooked meal of “Rice (150gms), Chapati (04nos.), Dal (150gms) and Mix Veg. (100gms)” costs a fraction of the embalmed sandwiches of low-cost airlines. Trains are still about eating, like they used to be 20 years ago, though there are differences—nobody’s smoking and the pantry crew doesn’t supply optional quarts of cheap booze from pocket stashes.
A vendor selling snacks on a train in Odisha. Photo: Alamy The night is cool in the airy sleeper coach and I am only disturbed by a lonesome mosquito at a station where the train idles at dawn. If I were at home, I would be heading to my desk, but on the train I relax for as long as my body likes to, until nature beckons. The first two toilets have run out of water, the third is clogged with previous business, but the fourth is inviting and I do the needful as well as take a face bath, having carried my own soap and towel.
Outside, dreamy landscapes of green paddy fields and lotus ponds look straight out of the Apu Trilogy , Satyajit Ray’s cinematic epic, but it’s getting hotter and my mind visualizes the coming afternoon’s Park Street-pubbing. Impatiently, I check the RailYatri app; the train is running 2 hours late.
Some things never change but the app consoles me with the fact that other trains run late by tens of hours, so I take it easy and order breakfast in bed from the cheerful waiters, double-egg omelette with bread slices ( ₹ 40). The devout ladies buy luchis from a halt that according to RailYatri is Malda town but which my GPS identifies as English Bazaar—maybe a shape-shifting ghost town? I am tempted as I observe them dip the greasy breads into oily potato curry, but perhaps this is the iffy intestinal lubricant I have been warned against. A newspaper-seller hops on board with North Bengal editions. I read about the railway’s offer of “circular tickets”. Apparently, a tour around India can be done for as little as ₹ 1,500 if all journeys are booked in one go and the trip ends where it started.
Early afternoon, a hijra startles me by fondling my behind and I wake to the song of a baul minstrel. Another man sells colourful shoulder-bags. In the 1990s, hawkers peddled smuggled Chinese cassette players and pirated DVDs, but now passengers carry pocket entertainment in their smartphones.
A ‘baul’ musician entertaining passengers on a train travelling through West Bengal. Photo: Alamy At the neat, newish Kolkata station, I bump into a German backpacker and we share an Uber to Park Street—she tells me she took a gap semester from university, but that was three years ago and she’s still doing Asia on a shoestring. She gets off at Park Street’s cheapest backpacker dorm, while I cross the street and take an elevator to the Glenburn Penthouse, a sumptuous boutique hotel with a handful of exclusive suites, an opulent tearoom and a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the Victoria Memorial. I sample in-house plantation teas as the sun sets beyond the Hooghly.
After two days of classy Bengali dining at Glenburn, barrels of beer courtesy Park Street’s pubs, and meandering about Kolkata’s heritage quarters, I say goodbye to the blissful penthouse and hit the rails again. I step out of the AC comfort of my Uber into the deluge of souls that spews out of Howrah station and virtually swim upstream against the gazillions getting off trains.
Once inside the hall where India is camping out on the floors, I find an enquiry window and my platform is one of the last—number 22. I launch into the human tsunami, tagging along with an uncle frailer than me, and eventually can’t move in any direction. I wind up squeezed against a pillar while the wiry uncle is jostled off in the wrong direction. I have bitten off more than I can swallow and begin to choke.
But minutes later the trainloads have dispersed and I join an endless single file of voyagers trotting through a darkly medieval construction area past cement blenders and makeshift temples and traffic-jammed porters struggling with overloaded carts. Pushed from behind, I am pressed through a labyrinthine route to another set of platforms from where southbound trains leave, and Gita Press and Wheeler bookstalls welcome me back to civilization. I get a feeling I will survive this too.
Shortly before the Yesvantpur Express is expected, something miraculous happens—the milling hordes transform into an orderly queue (aided by two policemen). Even a rat gets into line before grasping its mistake and scuttling off. One man says his friends and he are travelling south unreserved, looking for work. A sociable fellow tells me that he’s from the Sunderbans and is going to Bengaluru to check on his son, who works there. He poses triumphantly for my camera.
A sign warns of an elephant crossing zone. Photo: Alamy My coach is crammed to the rafters with fortune-seekers who have reserved tickets, but no confirmed seats. They fill the vestibules, toilets and luggage spaces, but luckily I have booked an upper berth, which is an easily defended position and too narrow to share even if Madonna turned up berth-less and promised to lullaby me to sleep. A gang of ladies enter, ogle me, a Muslim co-passenger relishing non-vegetarian and a techie playing a semi-pornographic game on his big-sized phone, and decide to squat elsewhere.
The mayhem peters out as the train settles into a chugging rhythm. On my perch, 2m above, I feel a rare existential calm: I am no longer thinking of the 999 daily worries of life—job, money, family, friends, unfriends. For the time being, this train is all that exists and it’s my whole world.
I sleep until 8am, when I hear a vendor offering whisky, but as my head clears I catch him shouting “biscuit”. The scenery outside is jungly with bulbous hills. We are crossing the Odisha-Andhra border land. At stations the puri-sabzi has been replaced by wholesome idli-sambar . However, five migrant labourers travelling on the floor only eat puffed rice from a huge plastic bag and share one toothbrush.
At 8.32am, my phone pings, welcoming me to Andhra. Maybe it’s the contrast with Howrah, but Visakhapatnam’s station strikes me as traveller’s ecstasy: tidy platforms and AC lounges, where for ₹ 150, passengers can sit in comfortable easy chairs, use free Wi-Fi and hygienic bathrooms, have free snacks and read free newspapers. Wah!
Passengers without confirmed seats find room wherever they can. Getty Images I chill out at the towering Novotel in Varun Beach, Visakhapatnam’s choicest address, with multiple restaurants serving spicy local seafood and a rocking nightlife. During the day, I explore the beaches that are not as swimmer-friendly as Goa, but have a strong surf that makes them perfect for water sports. People still talk of the Hudhud that flattened the city in 2014 and alert me to a new monster cyclone heading towards the coastline.
With hours left for the cyclone’s landfall—leading to the cancellation of 200 trains passing through Odisha—I board the Godavari Express and head inland to deceptive safety, where a heat wave with temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius has already killed off thousands of chicken. Global warming? My survival chances seem bleak. But I tell myself I am not chicken.
Besides, this train is cute, with floral wallpaper, well-kept bathrooms and Braille signage. I am beginning to feel that Indian trains are seriously underrated by the high-flying generation. My co-passengers are an elderly couple who belong to that era when air travel was Vedic sci-fi. They are leaving town for the duration of the cyclone to stay with their son in Hyderabad. They interrogate me at length about where I am from, whether I had a love marriage, what had our parents said. The other seats are occupied by a youngish couple with matching beards and pink slippers, a young lady with her tiffin carrier, and a neat-looking man. I sense romantic telepathy between the latter two.
A couple cosies up to enjoy the view Before the light dies, we are in a vast plain of paddy surrounded by dark hills to the north and south. During the night, the train climbs up the Deccan plateau and a hilly chill puts me into deep sleep until we reach Secunderabad on time, at 5am, which disappoints me as I would have preferred to go on enjoying the lulling back rub of the rocking train. Then there’s one of those inexplicable hour-long delays before the train terminates, a few kilometres later, at Hyderabad Deccan station.
I head to a lodge recommended by the leading guide for shoestring travel: “If all budget hotels were like the Suhail, we would all be much better off.” The staff are incompetent and can’t find my reservation (until I dig out a printout of their email confirmation). Then, gleefully claiming that it will get to 50 degrees Celsius by afternoon, they sell me an overpriced AC room which is grimy and mosquito-infested, but at least the gargling AC farts icily. However, when I get back after a hot day of hogging Hyderabadi delicacies around the Charminar, it turns out the lodge’s power system has collapsed. I spend the night sweating in the light of my mobile.
Next day, I discover that joyriding on the elevated Metro is a great way to see the town in air-conditioned comfort, and cheaply too. But when I return after sightseeing, the lodge has run out of water. I toss my well-meaning but essentially flawed guidebook into the poopy potty and check out, but the manager argues that I must pay for an extra night because he entered my arrival date wrong in the ledger.
I get back to the station, which is cleaner than much of Hyderabad itself, and when I look in the mirror (in the pay per hour AC lounge), I see Ernest Hemingway with a hangover. I need a barber as soon as I get to Tamil Nadu. Two passengers miss the Sabari Express, so there’s plenty of space in my compartment. Even so, one seedy uncle snatches my berth, which I had made up nicely with my own sheets. I make a mental note to prepare my bed only at sleeping time. The others are quiet students engrossed in complex mathematical formulas.
The countryside is arid, with a rugged beauty. For lunch, there’s a juicy chicken-leg biryani ( ₹ 100) which is as tasty as any I had in Hyderabad and comes with veggie gravy; for dinner, I order spicy double-egg curry with four chapatis ( ₹ 80). Throughout the day there’s a constant flow of snacks and beverages such as cooling lassi ( ₹ 25).
Late afternoon, we halt at Guntur, which is supposedly the home of Andhra cuisine, and I regret not having scheduled a stopover. The train doesn’t budge for an hour and I calculate whether to risk jumping off to buy grub. As it rolls again, a local vendor comes on board peddling crispy bite-sized samosas ( ₹ 10 for four) accompanied by deep-fried Andhra chillies, so I do get a mouthful of Guntur.
The Guntur ‘samosa’ By evening, the vampire uncle vacates my berth and I quickly hit the sack before other spooks can take my spot. Much as I try to zone out, I am kept awake by manic kids who have overdosed on candy and are running around shrieking “ chikki-chikki-chai ” in ululating falsettos. It only ends when one boy throws his father’s phone out through the window in a fit of excitement. The indulgent parent gets unhappy and a serious whacking puts an end to “ chikki-chikki-chai “. Two hours later, at 1.15am, I am awoken by another ruckus and the train has been invaded by bald people. I think I am dreaming sci-fi but recall there’s a midnight stop at Tirupati, where pilgrims sacrifice their hair.
The ticketless travellers hold on to their berths and the situation almost comes to blows, until they realize they are all Malayalam-speakers. Then they settle the issue without bloodshed. Morning again, sun rising, landscape fertile despite this being the hottest season, farmers go about their work and we occasionally pass grand Dravidian temples. At breakfast there’s a royal choice of dosa, idli-vada, upma (a semi-edible gluey preparation which I recommend to masochistic foodies) or the standard bread-omelette.
After a 22-hour journey, I get off at Coimbatore, have a shave and grab a taxi to Dvara, a charming rural heritage resort in the breezy foothills of the Western Ghats. I recover in my exclusive villa’s private plunge pool, staring at the towering mountain range that separates Tamil Nadu from Kerala. For two days, I eat utterly delicious Chettinad food as well as get deep-tissue massages at the spa where they reset my bones and reboot my brain.
Courtesy Zac O’Yeah After that I am ready to join the hustle-bustle at the pleasant Coimbatore Junction for the last leg of my rail trip. The platform signage is exemplary, so even though the Mangalore Express stops only briefly, I am right where my chair car is supposed to come, its number flashing on a clear LED sign hanging from the roof. On the train, I sit with a jolly joint family of about 20 gents, ladies and children, who unpack tiffin-carriers full of veg curry and rice. The entire coach seems to be telling stories in rapid Malayalam, laughing with large white teeth like some dental miracle gene has brought them together to party.
The route curves south via the Palakkad gap, a valley through the mountain range that has been in use since ancient days, and the train gradually empties out until Kozhikode, where it fills with local commuters. Standing-room only, but I vacate my seat soon, at Mahé’s quaint station, from where I walk to the first hotel down the station road. You know you are in Kerala (Mahé is technically part of Puducherry though the dominant culture is Malayali) when your bathroom kit includes complimentary pouches of coconut oil. Oiling my sun-baked hair, I am melancholic that the journey is over. It certainly was more interesting than flying.
After a Kerala-style seafood dinner, I go to the nearest tax-free to buy myself a celebratory bottle of red. I feel like somebody who has just run a marathon or, better still, meditated to heightened self-awareness combined with a slightly deeper understanding of India. It has been strenuous, for sure, but crazy fun to experience life on Indian Railways, which operates around the clock, powered by 1.3 million employees (which makes it one of the world’s 10 biggest employers), ferrying tens of millions of passengers daily across a rail network of 67,000km.
My return to the railways feels like the beginning of many new adventures.
Re: Mem’s Fruit Truck
click to enlarge Amanda Rock When I discovered Mem’s Fruit Truck last spring, it was love at first bite. My tastebuds had been depressed since my office moved from Food Heaven (aka Downtown Salt Lake City) to the fast food-laden industrial office park in North Salt Lake where souls go to die. No more lunch time sushi or leisurely afternoons spent at Indian food buffets for this lady. No Food Truck Thursdays at Gallivan, or fancy lunches twirling creamy Pasta Carbonara on my fork at Copper Onion. My foodie future looked bleak. Mem’s Fruit Truck was a shiny, fruity symbol of hope, representing all the food I had yet to discover.
The first time I spotted the fruit truck, an unknown force took over my steering wheel and turned into the parking lot of Lucero’s Tires (and their adorably named side business, Lucero’s Pretty Worms) on 1039 S. Redwood Road where Mem’s Fruit Truck had set up business.
As I walked up to the red truck, I noticed two windows full of colorful fresh fruit, coconuts and cucumbers cut into large chunks, Mexican candy and a variety of chips. I watched with fascination as the customer before me left with a huge clear bag of assorted fruit. I pointed to that bag, smiled and nodded. “I’ll take that please!” I chirped as I handed over my cash. “With chili and lime?” the cheerful man behind the window asked. “Absolutely!” I said enthusiastically. My tastebuds were excited. click to enlarge Amanda Rock
A little internet research led me to the conclusion that fruit trucks are everywhere in LA. It was only a matter of time until the Mexican food trucks selling fresh fruit popped up in Salt Lake. North Salt Lake was a likely first spot, with a booming Latino population and a plethora of taco trucks and Hispanic restaurants. At first I felt silly that I was so over-the-top about something so ordinary, but you know what? This food was new to me, and I was going to enjoy every minute of exploring it.
The dish I fell in love with (that I dubbed “Fruit Bag” last year before knowing the proper name) was Coctel De Fruto. For a reasonable $6.00 for a medium and $10.00 for a large, you can enjoy a medley of chopped watermelon, cucumber, jicama, mango, pineapple and slivers of coconut doused with lime juice and a heavy-handed sprinkle of chili. The unique sweet, tart and spicy taste brought me back to the little truck at least three times a week.
I was thrilled to see Mem’s Fruit Truck back in business last week. The new year brought the addition of a proper menu with colorful pictures of new dishes to try. My mouth watered with the possibilities. Amanda Rock
The first new thing I tried was totally out of my comfort zone. I asked for the Tostilocos. From the sign I could tell something was served over tortilla chips, and was served in the chip bag. I was intrigued. The nice lady behind the counter said, “You like pork rinds?!” as she showed me the huge jar of pickled white strips. “Uhh, sure!” I said. (I was not sure.) She handed over the bag of tortilla chips topped with rubbery, pickled pork skins, cucumbers and jicama drenched in a layer of hot sauce and topped with crunchy peanuts. I couldn’t get past the chewy, slippery pork rinds. As I nibbled on the cucumbers and jicama covered in hot sauce, I studied the picture I took of the menu. There are still interesting things to try and I have a glorious summer of work lunches to spend at Mem’s Fruit Truck discovering a new-to-me cuisine. Amanda Rock
Date with Dad at The Westin Mumbai Garden City
Date with Dad at The Westin Mumbai Garden City 11/06/2019
This Father’s Day, Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Mumbai Garden City pays ode to all the dads in town by offering an exclusive 50% discount! Spend quality time with the true hero of your life and make him feel extra special on this memorable day.
Treat your father to a luxurious brunch experience with an array of delectable dishes made to perfection. Indulge in an afternoon of fun, from live music to live food counters curated by the culinary maestros at the property. The menu will feature delicious and enticing cuisines from across the globe like – Indian, Continental and Asian (Thai and Chinese) and a selection of desserts to end your brunch on a sweet note.
Gift your dad a much needed break and pamper him to a scrumptious brunch at Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Mumbai Garden City.
Venue: Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Mumbai Garden City
Date: Sunday, 16th June 2019
Time: 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Price: 2450 + taxes (non-alcoholic brunch) | 2950+ taxes (alcoholic brunch)
Reservation contact: 9004496577 A perfect treat for Father’s Day at Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel Gachibowli Tour of Turkey’s Delights at Feast DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore Celebrated Hilton’s 100th Anniversary
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Top Persian Restaurant in Las Vegas : Shiraz Restaurant Restaurant – Food Service Las Vegas (Nevada) June 10, 2019 Check with seller
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Relaxing at Pala Casino Spa & Resort
Relaxing at Pala Casino Spa & Resort By Greg Aragon on June 7, 2019 Pala Casino Spa & Resort is a luxurious and tasty getaway in San Diego County. – Photo by Greg Aragon / Beacon Media News
By Greg Aragon
I hit the jackpot recently at Pala Casino Spa & Resort in San Diego County. I didn’t win any money, but I did stay in an awesome hotel room, dine at a couple great restaurants, and experience the resort’s stunning, new pool area.
The getaway began when a friend and I checked into a gorgeous fourth-floor suite in Pala’s AAA Four-Diamond hotel, overlooking the nearby Palomar Mountains. Elegant and welcoming, the room boasted a comfy king bed, big flat screen TV, office area with free Internet, a large bathroom with walk-in shower and tub, a mini-fridge and coffee maker and a large, relaxing chair.
Once acquainted with the room, we took the elevator down to the lobby and walked outside to paradise at the resort’s sparkling adults-only pool plaza. Set beneath the Palomar Mountains, the area boasts five heated pools and 14 luxury cabanas, along with waterfalls, fire pits, deck chairs, Jacuzzis, and floating daybeds, all scattered about a beautiful outdoor courtyard. There is also a full-service poolside café & bar.
The poolside cabanas — available for rent — are very inviting. They come with personalized pool attendant service, refrigerator stocked with waters and assorted sodas, 49-inch HDTV, Wi-Fi, personal safe, sofa, arm chair and chaise lounge. They must be coveted during the summer.
After swimming, sipping a couple bloody marys and relaxing beside the pool, we headed for lunch at Choices, The Buffet. As Pala’s signature buffet, the expansive, buffet-style restaurant features a dining area capable of accommodating 625 guests.
Highlighted by a complete exhibition kitchen, Choices offers over 200 different hot and cold food options including dishes from Asia, Italy, Mexico; as well as traditional American favorites, salads, an omelet station and a wide variety of mouthwatering desserts made fresh at Pala. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Choices offers a snow crab buffet, and on Thursday they put on a lobster buffet.
With my belly full on crab legs, pork nachos, salad and cheese cake, I left Choices and hit the slot machines. Pala Casino Spa & Resort is known as one of San Diego County’s premier casino destinations. The place boasts a Las Vegas-style casino with more than 2,250 state-of-the-art slot and video machines, 84 table games, and an 8-table poker room that hosts live play and championship tournaments.
I played the 25-cent slots for about an hour and walked away pretty much even, but if you count the great, free entertainment from the live cover band playing above the bar, I think I came out ahead.
From the casino I visited the fitness center to work off some calories before dinner. Located next to the resort’s 11,000-square-foot full-service spa, the gym offers state-of-the-art treadmills, stair-climbers, recumbent bikes, weight machines and free weights. It is open 24 hours a day for hotel guests.
After working out I met my friend for a delicious dinner at Boy Meets Grill restaurant. The California casual cuisine eatery serves a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and salads, as well as a selection of pasta and entrée options created by Chef Anila. Our dinner began with a jumbo shrimp cocktail and a glass of merlot. For the main course I had succulent bourbon short ribs with garlic chips with sweet red cabbage and horseradish potato. My friend devoured seared rib eye steak with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus.
The next morning we drove less than a mile to the historic San Antonio de Pala Asistencia, also known as “Pala Mission.” Founded in 1816 as an outpost to the larger Mission San Luis Rey in nearby Oceanside, Pala Mission was part of the Spanish mission system. Today it is located on the Pala Indian Reservation and is the only historic mission facility still serving a Mission Indian tribe.
The little mission features a museum, gift shop, gardens, cemetery, and a chapel. Its bell tower is said to be the only freestanding one of its kind among all the California missions. Across the street from the Asistencia is Pala Store, a charming little market opened in 1897.
Back at Pala Resort, we spent the morning at the pool. Next to the pool is the 2,400-square-foot Starlight Theatre stage, which hosts top-name outdoor concerts on the resort lawn. Upcoming shows on the stage include Foreigner on Thursday, June 13; Latin Legends featuring El Chicano, Tierra, Malo and Thee Midniters on Saturday, June 29; and Styx on Friday, July 26.
Pala Casino Resort Spa is located at 11154 CA-Highway 76, Pala, 92059. For more info and current specials, call (877) WIN-PALA or visit: palacasino.com .
Serve Rich Aloo Paneer Kofta At Your Next Dinner Party. Recipe Inside
Serve Rich Aloo Paneer Kofta At Your Next Dinner Party. Recipe Inside Serve Rich Aloo Paneer Kofta At Your Next Dinner Party. Recipe Inside NDTV Food Desk | Updated: June 11, 2019 11:04 IST Recipe Video; Aloo Paneer Kofta Highlights This kofta combines two all-time favourite foods – paneer and aloo Aloo Paneer kofta is a rich curry sabzi that can go with just anything It’s made of crispy, fried koftas with mashed aloo and paneer mixture
Special occasions demand special food. Being the host, you have to be even more watchful and careful of serving the perfect food that will be liked and relished by all. You can never go wrong with Indian cuisine. Our very own parantha/roti/naan teamed with a rich sabzi, raita and fresh salad is something no one can say no to. If you are going to have guests over for dinner and don’t want to serve international cuisines but also want to be different, here’s a great idea of a sabzi that gives a welcoming break from paneer lababdaar or dal makahani . This is a kofta curry but not a regular kofta of just aloo or just ghia or just paneer. This kofta combines two all-time favourite foods – paneer and aloo in a never-seen-before medley.
(Also Read: Stuffed Malai Kofta Reipe )
Aloo Paneer kofta is a rich, lush curry sabzi that can act as a versatile accompaniment to any bread you intend to make. It will go with plain roti, parantha, puri, naan, or even with rice. A bite into the crispy, fried koftas will splash a burst of soft mixture of mashed paneer and aloo, filling the mouth with some drool-worthy flavours.
The recipe of aloo paneer kofta is curated by a well-known food vlogger, Ananya Banerjee. She shares the video of the recipe on her YouTube channel, ‘Chef Ananya Banerjee’. Watch the video below – Aloo Paneer Kofta Recipe –
Do try this recipe at home the next time you have guests coming over . Flaunt your culinary flamboyance by serving them this unique aloo paneer kofta dish and leave them wanting for more.
Beautiful location, view but average food and service
This is the second time we stayed in waterwoods. First time we booked kings room. It was fantastic and rooms and bathrooms were excellent. Limited options in food. This year we booked Tree deck room and it was really good. But the bathroom looks pretty old and no proper maintenance. Will give 5 star to the view and tree deck. Coming to service, they need to improve a lot. I asked for water replacement and they didnt do it the whole day even after calling 3 times. If you have a baby then it will be very difficult to get the food apart from three meals. Coming to food its very boring and limited. For breakfast three days they served sausages and pancakes. South India options were good for breakfast. But for lunch and dinner they serve mainly North Indian and local cuisines are missing always. Very limited options and repeats always. First visit I had given 5 rating but second visit I will give only 3. They have to improve. For the money they charge its not worth it.
Guest Chef from Fiji to Bring Island Tastes from South Pacific to Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
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The coconut island of Koh Samui is about to enjoy the culinary skills of a guest chef from Fiji who brings 18 years’ mastery of cooking South Pacific fare.
Shailesh Naidu, the executive chef of the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, started a six-month stint as ChefnB (overseeing kitchen and F&B) at Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort on 3 June.
By the end of the month, visitors to the Outrigger will have the option of two or three signature Fijian special dishes, in addition to the resort’s acclaimed range of Thai and international options.
Shailesh is most proud of his Indo-Fijian curries. “It’s been 140 years since the first Indians arrived in Fiji. Spices are still very highly used in Indo-Fijian kitchens. I enjoy cooking curries with aromatic flavours with my coach and critic [and wife] Rita, beside me.”
There are culinary parallels with Koh Samui. “I also love making seafood slow cooked in coconut milk with tropical island flavours such as lime, chilies, coriander and coconut as the main ingredients.”
He has been to Thailand before and admires Thai food. “It’s world renowned and highly regarded. It’s one of my favourite cuisines as the ingredients are the same or very similar to the food I grew up with.”
Shailesh says he’s also ready for the cultural challenges of working in Thailand where ‘greng jai’ [deference] and ‘my pen rai’ [never mind] are workplace realities.
“I come from a similar background with ‘greng jai’. In Fiji people are very humble to speak out. They are often too nice to say ‘no’.”
He believes ‘my pen rai’ won’t be a problem either. “It’s like we Pacific islanders say, ‘Set, no worries,’ or ‘It’s OK bro.’ So I’m sure I’ll be in the same boat as my Thai brothers and sisters.”
While adding a few Fijian special dishes over the next six months, Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort will continue its popular Thai cooking classes at its Blue Fire cooking school. The resort also recently introduced 16 in-resort activities – many of them food and beverage related – for guests.
Nicki’s book blog
Instant Indian – Classic Foods from Every Region of India Made Easy in the Instant Pot by Rinku Bhattacharya-cook book This is an interesting book I originally thought the instant pot was a slow cooker- turns out not, however all is not lost as the receipes can easily be adapted. An instant pot in case like me you have not heard of it is more like a pressure cooker. A pan and/or a slow cooker would easily replace it, however would take a little longer to cook The book is divided into eleven sections ranging from a section on the diversity of indian cooking and the regions, spices etc, breakfast and snacks through to soups, meats and desserts. There are also sections on drinks and chutneys, so an all encompassing book. There are pictures of several of the dishes, which always helps when preparing them- nice to know what they should look like! For each recipe the total time is given as well as the preparation time, and cooking times- sometimes split into different sections (eg saute time) which is useful. I love cooking and authentic recipes rather than the commercial versions which you very often get. I look forward to yummy curries and more! For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/ or follow me on Twitter @nickisbookblog Instant Indian – Classic Foods from Every Region of India Made Easy in the Instant Pot Discover favorite foods from all over India with the first regional Indian cookbook authorized by Instant Pot! Rinku Bhattacharya — cookbook author and founder of Spice Chronicles — has put together a collection of 100 authentic recipes that showcase the diversity and range of the foods of India, where every state and region boasts its own unique dishes. Whether you crave takeout favorites or want to be introduced to lesser-known specialties, this cookbook brings the best of India to your table in an instant! The Instant Pot® lends itself perfectly to Indian recipes, making flavorful, nutritious Indian fare (like simmering-all-day dals, legumes and all manner of curries) in minutes instead of hours. Instant Indian features numerous vegetarian and vegan options , and nearly all recipes are gluten-free. With step-by-step instructions and color photos throughout, Instant Indian makes Indian cooking easy and fool-proof using all the functions of this popular appliance. Purchase Links US – https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Indian-Classic-Foods-Region/dp/0781813859/ UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Instant-Indian-Classic-Foods-Region/dp/0781813859/ About Rinku Bhattacharya Rinku Bhattacharya (spicechronicles.com) was born in India, and now lives in a house with a vibrant backyard in Hudson Valley, New York with her husband, an avid gardener, and their two children. Rinku’s simple, sustainable approach to Indian cooking is showcased on her blog, Spice Chronicles, and in her Journal News column “Spices and Seasons.” Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years, and works extensively with local area farmer’s markets on seasonal demonstrations and discussions. Rinku is also the author of The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles (Hippocrene Books, 2012), winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 for Best Indian Cuisine. She writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, the Journal News, and several online sites, and is a frequent guest on CT Style TV. https://twitter.com/Wchestermasala https://www.instagram.com/spice_chronicles/ https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rinkub/?autologin=true https://www.facebook.com/spicechronicles at
I had my first Indian meal in Glasgow almost 45 years ago. Thus began an amazing culinary journey including countless meals in the UK, India, and other countries on the subcontinent. Whenever I visit a major city elsewhere it is one of the first cuisines I investigate no matter where. This topic has been discussed on this forum before and has followed the same string of conversation. I can appreciate a Brit’s feeling of kinship for Indian and Pakistani food but that is not to say very good Indian food does not exist elsewhere. When I lived in Europe the UK was thought of as setting the worst table on that side of the Atlantic. Over time that has changed due in large part to the influence of Indian cooking. Isn’t Chicken Tikka Masala now considered the national dish of the UK?
Vic said in post #2 that Orlando is not known for Indian food. True. But that is not to say that good Indian food can not be found. I have had absolutely atrocious Indian meals in the UK. Many. I have had several Indian meals in Orlando that rivaled Indian meals I had in India (although I tend to think the quality of our meat is much better). And why would one want to compare it to a “reasonable curry shop” in Birmingham ? I mean there are multiple storefronts, takeaways, kiosks, food carts, restaurants, and shops on every block. If you live there I hope you can find a good one.
I agree with some of the thoughts in post #6 in that we are seeing a growing Indian population with a corresponding increase in Indian restaurants. But it is still very much an emerging cuisine in many parts of the states including Orlando.
The OP asked a question and mentioned a place that looks incredible. I responded with a recommendation for a restaurant that I described as exceptional. Even though it is in the middle of Restaurant Row it is usually full of locals of Indian heritage. Further, I haven’t seen anybody respond to these two restaurants with either a yay or a nay. Most of the comments have been about how bad the Indian food is here. If that bad how about some words of warning about the places to avoid?
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”–Mark Twain