Kochi is also called the ‘Gateway to Kerala.’ It is also called the “Queen of Arabian Sea.” If you are interested in visiting Munnar, Thekkady and Alleppey…. …you will need to begin your journey from Kochi. Also, if you are going to Lakshadweep, even then your starting point will be Kochi. Ideally, you should spend at least a day in Kochi. All the information connected to our travel is given in the description of this video. Namaskar friends! Welcome to God’s Own Country, Kerala! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, I am in the commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi. It feels good to visit Marine Drive here, in the morning time. Plants! Lake! Boats! And this environment! What a beautiful start to the day! We are going to be in Kochi for the whole day today. First of all, let us go for the breakfast! I just noticed while traveling on this road that Kochi has a metro network… …which is good. We are going 11kms away… …to Trippunithura for breakfast. Sree Muruga Cafe is a famous food joint, which is quite old as well. Sir, do you know Hindi? A little bit! A little bit! I really liked the ambience of your restaurant. These bananas displayed in the traditional style. Very nice! Sir, we want to eat Puttu. Puttu for breakfast and Kerala-style Kadala curry. So, this is Puttu? Okay! Ohhh! Wow!! So, Sir, can you show us how this Puttu is made? Can you show us in the kitchen? Great! In this vessel, coconut goes down first. Grated coconut! And after that, this powder! Rice powder! Again a bit of coconut! And once again rice powder! Okay, this is layering being done. This process is quite interesting to look at. Grated coconut is going in between every layer of rice powder. Wow! Super! This looks beautiful after being steamed. The process to cook Kadala curry begins with adding coconut oil to the pot. It is after a long time that I am seeing a dish being prepared in coconut oil. Though, this was expected in Kerala. Mustard seeds, dry red chili, curry leaves! Coconut pieces! And there go onions on top of that! You’ve roasted the onions perfectly. What next? We will add ginger-garlic paste. After that we’ll add rest of the spices. This is coriander powder. Garam masala. Haldi powder. Red chili powder. You are watching the original recipe of Kerala Kadala Curry. He is adding coconut milk now. This milk is prepared by grating and squeezing out the milk from fresh coconut. After that, the boiled chana (chickpeas) are added. As the dish reaches its final stage, I am imagining how yummy it would taste with puttu. Look at this beautiful gravy! I am trying to check out Puttu from every angle. It looks amazing. It needs to be broken from the points where coconut has been added. Here, here and here! Here it goes! It is easy to crush! I have deconstructed it into a powder again. They told me about the traditional method of eating this dish. You need to add this Kadala curry to it like this. And add crushed papads like this. This is how it is eaten! Owww! It is hot! The curry has been made from the scratch. I am sure it is going to taste amazing. What should I tell you? In the first bite itself…. Coconut, curry leaves, chana, rice flour, it has so many things in it. And you saw, in this curry,…. ….this coconut… …it has really enhanced the flavor of the dish. And it is spicy. In this preparation, we saw chili powder and whole red chilis being added. So, this preparation has a good amount of chili in it. It is going to be tasty! I am going to add some more curry. Mmmmmm! If you come to Kerala…. …never miss a breakfast like this. Also, the reason I find this place extra-special is because…. ….of the tasty food as well as the feeling that traditional banana bunches impart to the ambience. This arrangement is placed atop every table. It feels as if we are eating food at a very traditional place. And the food is delicious, of course! Mmmmm! We enjoyed this food. Very good taste! Thank you! We are going to Fort Kochi now. We need to travel 15-16kms to reach there. Traffic on this route is nominal, not too much. So, we will tell you more about Fort Kochi once we reach there. We are passing the Thoppumpady bridge now. At the time of British rule in India, when ships used to pass this bridge, ….. …used to divide into half to let the ships pass. But now, that part of the bridge is closed permanently. So, this bridge connects Kochi, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. Right now, I am standing outside the St. Francis Church, which is 500 years old. This is the first European church of India, built by the Portuguese. Afterwards, this church was renovated in 1779 by the Dutch, as is written up there. Let’s go in. The main attraction of this church is…. ….that famous explorer, Vasco de Gama, was buried here upon his death in 1524. For your information,…. …Vasco de Gama came to India for the first time in 1498. After four years, in 1502, he came to Kochi. This church was built in 1503. His primary purpose behind coming to Kochi was to trade in spices. This is because India was and still is the spice hub of the world. He died in 1524. After 14 years of his death, his sons came from Portugal….. …and took his buried remains back to Lisbon. So, tourists visit here because this is…. …a church which has got historical evidence. Now, we are going to see the Chinese fishing net, at a walking distance from here. There are about 8-10 Chinese nets in this area. Let me show you. I have with me this fisherman. These Chinese fishing nets are permanent structures on the land. He will show us a demo of operating one of these nets there. He will show us how fish is caught with these nets. Okay. (Chanting) So here, they allowed us to participate in this activity. Thank You Sir. You’re welcome Sir. Thank you! By the way, these days there is not much fish in these waters. This is because this part of sea is in a corner. So, the visiting tourists offer them a nominal tip or courtesy…. …as Rs, 100 or Rs. 200. We offered them Rs. 200 as tip. Thank you Sir. Welcome, you are welcome! Just outside the place of Chinese fishing net,…. …there are these stalls if you need to buy some souvenirs. Some people are also selling fish. Let us check that out. Prawns! Jumbo prawns! Rs. 250/-? We’ve bought this prawn Yeah! jumbo prawn, we’ve bought this. Now, we will get this cooked here in Fort Kochi. Crab? Rs. 450 per kilogram. Do you have salmon? No. Which fish do you have? Pomfret What’s the price? Rs. 800 per kg for pomfret and Rs. 500 for surmai. Prawns? Prawns – these is Rs. 900 per kg & these are Rs. 800 per kg. This last one is Rs. 600 per kg. 900, 800, 600? Thank you! There is a popular trend here. You can buy raw fish. At these roadside dhabas, eateries… …you can ask them to cook your fish in Kerala-style. So, let us go to one of these and get our prawn cooked. They took 15 minutes. They’ve marinated the prawn first. Then cooked it on tawa (griddle) and served it with claws. Since it was just taken off the tawa, it is very hot. It is a jumbo prawn. So, it requires some skill to remove meat from the shell. With enough practice, one can do this easily otherwise…. …it takes time to do. Though it is hard work but… …it is delicious! The best part is… …prawn is fresh. Second thing is… …with the first bite itself, you feel that… …the jumbo prawn has its own distinct taste. Very much different from fish and… …among the prawns also, jumbo prawn tastes the best. It contains a generous amount of turmeric powder. There are other spices as well but turmeric powder is the dominating flavor. I will have to be careful because there are thorns in its claws. The best way to enjoy Fort Kochi visit is to walk on foot. You can do shopping in the Princess Street. There are antique shops here. I am not purchasing anything right now…. …but one can spend 2-3 hours comfortably here. And you can shop, of course! Seagull is a very famous restaurant in this area. We are going to enjoy the view from there. Oh wow! The view from here is amazing! I mean even if you are not hungry for food, you would still want to sit here and…. …order some food just so you can enjoy the view to your heart’s content. So beautiful! Right now, I am not in the mood for seafood! We will stay here for a while. By the way, we are going towards Mattancherry after this. We will check out some spices. Afterwards, we will go back to Kochi to eat Sadya (traditional food). From Fort Kochi to Kochi, you can take a ferry as well. I can see even vehicles being loaded onto the ferry. There are passengers too, of course, and this journey, which otherwise would take…. …30 minutes would be done in 5 minutes. From Fort Kochi to Mattancherry,…. …it is a distance of 3kms. On reaching here I noticed a lot of shops selling antiques. There are less shops selling clothing material. Almost 70-80% shops are selling antique and rest…. ..are selling spices. I want to buy spices from here for my family. The other thing that I noticed is that…. …in Fort Kochi, there were a lot of food options including restaurants & street food joints. But here, the number of food joints is limited. By the way this market is also famous by the name ‘Jewtown.’ It is written up there. Let us go to that spice shop up front. Hello! You seem to be selling a lot of varieties of spices. Sir, this is cumin (jeera) but jeera doesn’t grow in Kerala? No. It grows in Rajasthan. Okay. Javitri (mace), there is a lot here, elaichi (green cardamom). Elaichi, pepper, clove, … This seems to be a different variety of elaichi? This is 7mm, 8mm…. MM grade more, price more. Rs. 1730 and Rs. 2100? For 7mm and 8mm, respectively. Do you have some small pack, some gift pack? How much is this? 25 gms each pack. Rs. 140? Rs. 140 per item. I want to buy 3 packets of this…. Okay! And what is this? Long pepper. Can I taste it? Here’s some! I’ve never had long pepper before. First experience. You can’t use this in a dish. Can’t use it in a dish. You can use it to cure sore throat. Hmmmm! Spicy, it is very spicy! Good! 3 packets of that! Okay! This long pepper…. …is so spicy, I have steam coming out of my ears. Quite strong flavor! As we travel on the road, we are enjoying greenery on both sides. Although we knew beforehand that Kerala is called ‘God’s Own Country.’ But to know and, then, to experience it yourself are two different things. It is an enjoyable experience to travel on this fly-over bridge and watch the lake below. Very beautiful! We reached Kochi by 4pm. I’ve requested them that this is our first and last day in Kochi. We have to have Sadya! So, they’ve kindly arranged the meal for us. I also requested them that I want to eat sitting outside by the highway. And they, generously, arranged a table for me as well. Just look at this banana leaf! One more thing that is unique about this meal is the water served to me. The water has herbs in it and it is a bit lukewarm. Pickle, salt, chili, … What is this? (inaudible) All vegetables cooked in coconut-based gravy. Beans! Chana (chickpeas), banana, coconut…. Pineapple! So, this is pineapple pachadi? Yeah! Kerala rice! Okay! Wow! Super! The grain of Kerala rice is thicker than usual rice variety. Short and thick! Wow! Sambhar! Okay! Sambhar and? Curd? Okay! Sambhar, curd, rasam, afterwards! Okay! It is a bit noisy, but still loving it, because I am sitting just next to the highway. Mmm! This practice of adding crushed papad to rice is very nice! It enhances the taste. What do I tell you! I would feel ashamed asking for more helpings of this, this is so tasty! Yeah, sambhar! Tamil Nadu sambhar and Kerala sambhar are two different tastes. In the coming days, I will find out the exact difference between the two. But I could discern the difference just with one bite. This dish is very simple in taste. Coconut is dominating the taste. Almost no spices in this one. Simple, healthy! It feels like I am eating at home. From the point of view of simplicity. The system in place is good. They serve again once a dish is finished on your plate. This, I was told, is pineapple pachadi. Though I was expecting pachadi to be sweet but…. …to expect such an amazing dish from pineapple… …which I would eat with rice like this… ….and praise to this extent, that was totally unexpected. One common thread between all the vegetable dishes, apart from the curry leaves… …is mustard seeds. So, I feel mustard seeds and curry leaves are common ingredients through all dishes here. This is called puttu curry. Some rice please. That is enough! I haven’t had curd yet. Please try some! Okay! Add some salt too! A bit of salt! Okay! Curd, salt and chili! He suggested that to end this meal …. …I should create this mix of rice,… …curd, bit of salt…. …and a bit of pickle. Absolutely different taste! I mean it is totally different taste! I mean I couldn’t imagine…. ….the change in taste that would come with this mix. Yeah, I mixed the chili. Chili, pickle, salt, curd,…. The papad should also be mixed into it. I should mix this papad too. A little bit! Ohh wow! Delicious taste! Beautiful end to the meal. He just told me that payasam…. …should be enjoyed by serving on this leaf. Take this papad and crush it like this. Crush it like this! Like this! And enjoy the taste! I could not even imagine…. …that this vermicelli sweet dish…. …called payasam… would taste so different… …after adding papad to it. Different taste as in the taste has doubled in flavor. Everything was tasty but there are 3 heroes of the meal. Rasam, after that the combination of curd, chili and rice…. …and this payasam. I don’t have words to explain. Last time, in Mumbai, there was some confusion. I assumed that I should fold it outwards, like this. A lot of viewers commented in negative. They told me that if I really liked the food then I should fold the leaf inwards, like this. So, I mean to say I really liked the food. Now this banana for the road. I’ve come to visit the Lulu Mall in Kochi. I found out that this is the largest shopping mall of Southern India. I mean you can enter from any side but you won’t find the end of this mall, it is so huge. Right now, I am in the Hypermarket area of the mall. Here I actually feel that you can find anything and everything here. There is a lot here. Let us go further and check out the spices section. (Inaudible) These are some unique products of Kerala that you see here. Along with that, here are spices, so many of them. Someone told me that on the first floor of this mall, there will be even more variety of spices on display. Quite a huge mall! I have come to this shop of the Spice Board. There are a lot of spices. Let us taste laung (clove) first. The oil inside the clove… …has its unique feel… …that is what I felt. This is a government-owned shop. There is a lot to see here. So, you can assume if you want to visit this whole mall… ….you can’t do so in just a day. That should give you an idea how big this mall is. There is a lot to eat here. Chaat, dosa, chinese…. …a lot of varieties. Although I feel like eating here but we have to go to Kayees for biryani. Kayees also has a branch at Marine Drive, Mumbai. We’ve reached Durbar Hall to eat biryani at Kayees. We had gone in the afternoon but we were late to reach. Now, here is the plate of biryani in my hand. And they’ve served it with three things – pickle, … …with that raw onions soaked in vinegar,… …and the third thing is Khajoor (dates) chutney. Today, I saw that Kerala rice grain is smaller in size,… …and it thickens after cooking. Now, with this biryani in front of me, the first thing to note is… …the rice grains are long and visibly so… …although not as long as the biryani I ate in Hyderabad. But as per my experience from earlier today, the rice grains are longer. Rest, after eating food. I just found out that in one biryani serving…. …you get two such pieces. So, one piece I’ve served myself and this is the second piece. Good taste! And quite different from my experience of Hyderabad biryani. In comparison to that, this biryani tastes different. It has kishmish (raisins). I got to eat that in my first two bites. Mmm! This biryanii has a lot of ghee. You can see that from my fingers. I was talking about kishmish, so here it is. The next thing that I’ve noticed in the taste…. …this biryani has quite an amazing flavor of saunf (fennel seeds) among other spices. So, what I feel is that though it has spices in it…. …but in moderation. Good cooking! This kind of taste is a new experience for me. I had eaten biryani in Tamil Nadu as well. That taste was different from that in Hyderabad. And this biryani tastes different from those in both places. But yes, I am repeating myself, loaded with ghee,…. …and the rice is of good quality,… Basmati rice! Now let me have it with this. This is the first time I am eating Khajoor chutney with biryani. This chutney changed the taste of biryani completely. There is tamarind too in this chutney and it has a good taste! Today was a long day. We had left our hotel at 7 am this morning and we came back by 9pm. In Kochi, I am staying at Hotel Olice Downtown, an associate property of Club Mahindra. During our one-day Kochi stay, today’s experience was quite good. Please tell us about your Kochi experiences in your comments. As always, I shall wait for your comments. I missed out on some things. Top of the mind – Cherai Beach,… Kumbalangi village! I also wanted to see a Kathakali performance. I will see that in the coming days. About tomorrow, we will leave in the morning, at 7.30 am…. ..to go to Munnar. After that we will also go to other regions in Kerala, which you will see in the coming episodes. This total Kerala journey is about 12-13 days long. I would love to hear from you about your Kerala-related experiences. That is it. See you soon. Thanks for your time! Every day is a new day in God’s Own Country. In the next episode, you will see me eating local food by the highway. There will be spice farm visit and a lot more. Till then goodbye! See you soon.