Travel

Taste of India with Chef Vinod - October 2014

Culinary Tour 2014

Come, join me on a splendid culinary tour to India. This 13 days and 12 nights are going to be a lot of fun. I can assure you of that. Given below is the itinerary of the tour. As you can see from the list, we will be staying in all luxurious and boutique Hotels. Here are some pictures from my previous trip....

IMG_0052

Checking in to the Lalit Mahal Palace Hotel in Mysore, India.  IMG_0064

At a tea planation in Kerala, South India 

IMG_0161

 At the Devaraja Fruit and Vegetable Market in Mysore. IMG_0013

IMG_0174 Checking in to "Kadavu Resorts" in Calicut, Kerala, South India

  At the Kumarakom Lake Resort with the Executive Chef of the Hotel after a cooking demonstration. This is a beautiful property and here is where Prince Charles stayed during his recent visit to Kumarakom. 

IMG_2832

 At the Devaraja Market in Mysore.

IMG_2354_3

  Devaraja Market , MysoreIMG_0025e

At the Maharaja's Palace, Mysore.

DSC_4539

DSC_4542

On the streets of Mysore demonstrating the making of "Paani Puri and Chaats"

IMG_9918   

In Kochi, Kerala, South India, pulling the ropes of the chinese fishing net  

IMG_0407

On the way to the house boat in Allepey, Kerala,we purchased some fresh Sardines to be cooked on the boat. I demonstrated how to cook the Sardines "Kerala style"'

IMG_0438

At the Kanchi Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu.

_MG_2181

In Mala, Kerala in a paddy field  

IMG_3072_1

IMG_3093

 In Aleppey, Kerala driving the house boat.

IMG_0458

IMG_9899_1At the houseboat in Alleppey, Kerala, India    

IMG_0462

In the houseboat in Kerala after the cooking demonstration and lunch. 

_MG_2541_1

On the streets of Kochi in Kerala

IMG_2232

At a cooking demonstration at the Taj West End in Bangalore, India. 

IMG_2113

Inside the Ekambareswar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu.

 At Mammalapuram, Tamilnadu, India

IMG_2014

_MG_1956

On the streets of Chennai, India. 

IMG_3107

In a village in Kerala, India.

IMG_3098

 On a coconut tree in Kerala.

IMG_3026

 At a farmer's market in Irinjalakuda, Kerala.

IMG_2852

At a cooking demonstration at the Taj Vivanta, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

IMG_2873

 At the Taj Vivanta, Trivandrum after the cooking demonstration.

IMG_2983

In Trichur, Kerala - Nutmeg

_MG_2470

In  sweet shop in Calicut, Kerala. 

IMG_0384

At the residence of the famous cooking teacher Nimmy Paul in Kochi, Kerala, India. 

IMG_9939

 On the streets of Mysore... snacks galore....

IMG_9966

IMG_9911

At the Maharajah's palce in Mysore.

IMG_9871

Street Vendor selling peanuts in Bangalore, India

IMG_0356_1

"Kathakali" the famous dance of Kerala

_MG_7503_1

This picuture was taken from our houseboat when it was drizzling.

IMG_7508

A hoseboat ready to dock on the backwaters of Allepey.

 

ITINERARY OF THE UPCOMING TOUR :

DAY 1

OCT 22: DELHI 


Welcome to Delhi, India! a monumental city with a vibrant mix of old and new teeming bazaars, stately British boulevards, powerful Mughal palaces and forts, and intricate, ethereal towers, temples and tombs. On arrival at Delhi International Airport you will be met and assisted by our company executive and transferred to your hotel for check in. Overnight in Delhi 

DAY 2
 
OCT 23: DELHI (B, D)
After breakfast tour Old Delhi with a visit to the Jama Masjid, the royal mosque built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1656. It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and is constructed in red sandstone and white marble. The main prayer hall has a seating capacity of more than 20,000 worshippers. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandi Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi. Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Shah Jahan designed this commercial area in 1648. Walk through the by-lanes of the Wedding Street and the Jeweler’s Lane to savor a 350 year old culture up close. The tour culminates at the Spice Market also known as Khari Baoli. This is Asia's largest wholesale spice market. At present, the street is a congested and busy market with shops on both sides selling spices, nuts and herbs. You will enjoy a unique experience watching the process of loading, carrying and unloading of huge sacks of items from manual trolleys, shopkeepers busy dealing with their customers, customers selecting large quantities of items and weary laborers resting and chatting aloud. It all seems to be very chaotic but in reality it is a very well managed market area! After a light lunch drive past the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) where the Viceroy once lived but is now the official residence of the President of India. Then visit the Qutb Minar, a stunning 240-foot minaret, the tallest in the world, surrounded by an elaborate complex built in the Indo-Islamic architectural tradition. 

A spectacular dinner has been organized for this evening celebrating Diwali with Indian family in Delhi. Experience the real Indian traditions’ with your Indian host for the evening. Overnight in Delhi

DAY 3
 
OCT 24: DELHI – AGRA (B, D) (203 KMS/05 HRS)
After breakfast drive to Agra via Sikandra the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The tomb of Akbar lies here in the centre of the large garden. Akbar started its construction himself but it was completed by his son Jehangir, who significantly modified the original plans which accounts for the somewhat cluttered architectural lines of the tomb. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to the hotel. This evening visit the Taj Mahal at sunset. Often considered the pinnacle of Mughal art in India, the Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. When declaring it a world heritage site, UNESCO described it as “the jewel of Muslim art in India”. There are few words that can describe the magnificence of this monument. Marvel as light and colors transform this stunning monument in the beautiful sunset glow.

Later on this evening participate in the local gaiety, sample exotic cuisines, and enjoy a colourful music and cultural dance show. “Kathak” is a classical dance form performed in the Mughal courts to entertain the Emperors that will enthrall guests. Overnight in Agra 


DAY 4
 
OCT 25: AGRA – JAIPUR (B, L, D) (232 KMS/05 HRS)
After breakfast, we set out to explore the Agra Fort, the work of Akbar the Great, who built it over the course of eight years (1565-1573). The fort was successively occupied by Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan; the latter died here, imprisoned by his son, left to gaze at the Taj Mahal he had built. We cross the Yamuna River to visit Itmad ud Daula. The mausoleum was built by Queen Nur Jahan in 1622 in memory of her father. It is a notable representation of the fine inlaid stonework and translucent marble. Many historians believe that this monument was Shah Jahan’s inspiration for building the Taj and is often described as the “petite Taj.” Continue overland to Jaipur en-route visiting the old deserted town of Fatehpur Sikri the eerily abandoned capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. Akbar built this city to celebrate the birth of his son and future heir to the thrown, Emperor Jahangir. While Akbar is believed to have been illiterate, he took great interest in the arts and architecture; Fatehpur Sikri is one of his masterworks. Sadly, it served as a capital for little more than a decade, eventually abandoned for lack of accessible water. 

Stop for lunch at Laxmi Vilas Palace previously known as Raghunath Niwas. In 1994 the palace was converted into the now famous Laxmi Vilas Palace. Bharatpur Palaces have played host to such dignitaries as the Duke of Edinburgh, Shah of Iran, King of Nepal and the Shah of Afghan and has been a prime witness to, and a participant in almost every eventful experience that took place in the princely state of Bharatpur, be it royal weddings, affairs of the court or Royal duck shoots.

Upon arrival in Jaipur, check in to the hotel. Jaipur, the fascinating capital of the state of Rajasthan.This evening discover a definitive dining experience at LMB! This is where the whole city buys exceptional traditional delicacies when celebrating special occasions and festivals! Overnight in Jaipur

DAY 5
 
OCT 26: JAIPUR (B, D)
This morning we will drive a short distance outside of the city to Amber Fort and Palace. Perched on a hillside on the outskirts of town, the palace was constructed in the 1590s by Maharaja Man Singh, the commander of Akbar’s army, and was largely motivated by the highly defensible location. This is a beautiful and very well preserved structure, built on four levels and surrounded by ruins, which served as the backdrop for the Mira Nair movie “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.” We then return to the city for a look at the grand Hawa Mahal often called the Palace of Winds and a striking landmark. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh specifically for the women in the royal family, this building allowed them to watch the city’s processions through tiny, latticed windows and balconies without ever being seen. This five-storey pyramidal monument resembles a giant honeycomb and gets its name from the pink wind vanes that are perpetually in motion.

This afternoon visit the City Palace and impressive Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built in the early 1700s by Maharaja Jai Sing II, the great warrior-astronomer to which this city owes its name. Then learn the art of an Indian tattoo design on your hand by a professional artist. This Heena (Mehendi) design is associated with lots of things; a good dark design is a sign of good luck for a marital couple. It is common for the names of the bride and groom to be hidden in the Mehendi design; and the wedding night cannot commence until the groom has found the names. Some examples of popular traditional images used in Mehendi designs are the peacock, which is the national bird of India, the lotus flower, and an elephant with a raised trunk a symbol of good luck. 

Dinner tonight will be at the Samode Palace where you will enjoy a Royal dinner. Overnight in Jaipur

DAY 6
 
OCT 27: JAIPUR – UDAIPUR (B, D) (410 KMS/08 HRS)
After breakfast drive to Udaipur, the majestic city of lakes and palaces. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 and fondly referred to as Rajasthan’s most romantic city, its rich history is matched by its picturesque setting among the Aravalli Mountains and three manmade lakes. Early this evening, we will take a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola, sailing past its picturesque ghats and palaces, stopping at the island of Jag Mandir, a 17th century water palace that witnessed two important historical events. It was the refuge for Prince Khurram, later known as Shah Jahan, when he was exiled by his father. During the uprising of 1857, the island offered safety to several British families who fled from nearby Neemuch. Dinner will be at your hotel this evening, Overnight in Udaipur

DAY 7
 
OCT 28: UDAIPUR (B, D)
We begin our day at the City Palace, overlooking the blue waters of Lake Pichola. Maharana Udai Singh initiated construction in 1559 A.D. and it was subsequently expanded, with impressive uniformity, by several succeeding Maharanas. The palace consists of a number of beautiful courtyards and gardens. The main hall has been converted into a museum, housing opulent artifacts and original works of art. Inside the complex we will find the exquisite crystal gallery, exhibiting 19th century pieces including crystal chandeliers, tables, sofas and beds. We will continue walking towards the Jagdish Temple to study its many remarkable friezes. Lavishly built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, it is easy to understand why Jagdish is the most venerated Hindu temple in Udaipur. Afterwards we will explore the Old City, wandering through its bustling streets lined with art shops, spice vendors, tailors and more.

Return to hotel and enjoy dinner at the Top Terrace at Fatehgarh; a perfect way to soak in the beauty of nature surrounding Fatehgarh. Overnight in Udaipur

DAY 8
 
OCT 29: UDAIPUR – MUMBAI (B, D) (FLIGHT S23094:0655/0810 HRS)
Early this morning you will be transferred to Jaipur domestic airport for a flight to Mumbai. Mumbai's culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, music and theatres. The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment and night life, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other world capitals. On arrival our representative and transfer to the hotel. This afternoon you will meet celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and if time permits he will do a cooking demonstration for the group. Overnight in Mumbai

DAY 9
 
OCT 30: MUMBAI (B, D)
This morning depart for the Gateway of India, the principal landmark in Mumbai, and originally the principal port when visitors came to India by ship. The gateway was conceived, following the visit of King George V to India in 1911, and was officially opened in 1924. Its architecture is akin to the conventional Arc de Triomphe, with elements derived from the Muslim styles of the 16th century Gujarat. Here you will board a motorized boat for the one hour excursion to Elephanta Island (closed on Mondays) a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is famous for its great cave shrine, excavated in the sixth century, dating back to the period, when the island was known as Gharapuri, the Fortress City. The cave temple, which is the pride of Elephanta, sprawls over an area of approximately 5000 square meters, is reached by climbing a flight of approximately 100 steps, to the top of a hill. One's attention is immediately drawn to a series of marvellous sculptured panels, nine in all, which are set like tableaux on the walls. The afternoon is at your leisure. 

This evening enjoy dinner at Khyber at Fort Restaurant. Nostalgia and seductive antiquity slowly surround you as you enter through a wooden door decorated with Urdu couplets. Khyber welcomes you with its rugged frontier charm, old oil lanterns and frost weathered woodwork. A definite gateway to India’s rich heritage infused with all modern day comforts. As you sit surrounded by huge urns and ancient Mughal royalties on the walls, you are served authentic Indian cuisine which can be easily coined as Ambrosia – the food of the Gods. The flavours and aroma have seduced many for years in this equally intriguing city. Thumris and ghazals softly playing in the background inspire your appetite for some of the most exotic delicacies prepared from fresh and select ingredients with great care and passion. Overnight in Mumbai

DAY 10
 
OCT 31: MUMBAI - COCHIN (B, D) (BY FLIGHT SG103:1350/1600 HRS) COCHIN - KUMARAKOM (50KM/1.5h)
Today you will be transferred to the airport to board a flight to Cochin. On arrival in Cochin you will be met and driven overland to Kumarakom the enchanting backwater destination that slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake, a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and tributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!! The blue backwaters and the surface of Vembanad Lake reflect the azure sky. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. 

This evening dine at Ettukettu. This regal restaurant is home to ethnic Kerala cuisine with a slew of fragrant spices lending the cuisine its very own flavour. Specialties served include Syrian Christian Duck Roast, Duck Curry, Karimeen Pollichathu, Karimeen Mappas, Appam, Thamarappam and Idiappams (string-hoppers). Overnight in Kumarakom


DAY 11
 
NOV 01: KUMARAKOM (B, D)
Enjoy the day at leisure, perhaps enjoy spa or ayurveda treatments or just relax. This evening enjoy a very special dinner with Philipkuttys Farm where you will have a two hour demonstration including group participation. Kerala cuisine is renowned for its use of local spices and flavours and you are sure to come home with new culinary skills. Overnight in Kumarakom

DAY 12
 
NOV 02: ALLEPPEY (B, L, D)
Today you will be transferred to Alleppey to board our private Houseboat for lunch and the start of our cruise through a splendid waterway of canals, lakes and coves. Also called kettuvalloms, the houseboats of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 feet in length. It takes great skill and meticulousness to construct these giants by tying huge planks of jack wood together. Curiously enough, not a single nail is used in their making. Modified to meet a novel concept of holidaying, the kettuvalloms are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, bedrooms, several shared bathrooms and a kitchenette. Every boat is manned by a crew of 3, usually a cook, a guide and an oarsman. The afternoon can be spent sunbathing on the deck or lounging in the shade of the main cabin. Dining onboard is a delicious blend of home style cooking with selections of savory spices and robust ingredients in dishes that explode with flavor. As we drift along, it is amazing to observe how life is lived on the water. People sail, fish, swim, wash their laundry and bathe themselves here. Socializing is a water activity too. It is not unusual to see people talking for an hour or more, while immersed up to their necks in water. Canoes with huge sails still transport the locals and you can find vegetable sellers, fisherman and other household materials being brought door to door in small wooden boats. Overnight onboard the House boat

DAY 13
 
NOV 03: ALLEPPEY - COCHIN (B)
After breakfast drive back to Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala with its modern part Ernakulam and the old peninsular district of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, Cochin is situated on the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin was an important spice-trading center on the Arabian Sea coast from the 14th century onwards. It was the first European colonial settlement in India. First the Portuguese followed by the Dutch and the British ruled here until the 19th century. Visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays & Saturdays) built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. The building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Then visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco da Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. The palace was known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. After touring you will be transferred to Cochin International Airport for your onward flight. 

 What are you waiting for? Book now and avoid disappointment. It is usually a small group and it get filled up quickly. 

- See more at: http://www.indus.travel/tour/taste-of-india-with-chef-vinod#sthash.QE0ADGCm.dpuf

Taste Of India With Chef Vinod 13 Days

 
DAY
1
OCT 22: DELHI 
Welcome to Delhi, India! a monumental city with a vibrant mix of old and new teeming bazaars, stately British boulevards, powerful Mughal palaces and forts, and intricate, ethereal towers, temples and tombs. On arrival at Delhi International Airport you will be met and assisted by our company executive and transferred to your hotel for check in. Overnight in Delhi 

DAY
2
OCT 23: DELHI (B, D)
After breakfast tour Old Delhi with a visit to the Jama Masjid, the royal mosque built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1656. It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and is constructed in red sandstone and white marble. The main prayer hall has a seating capacity of more than 20,000 worshippers. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandi Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi. Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Shah Jahan designed this commercial area in 1648. Walk through the by-lanes of the Wedding Street and the Jeweler’s Lane to savor a 350 year old culture up close. The tour culminates at the Spice Market also known as Khari Baoli. This is Asia's largest wholesale spice market. At present, the street is a congested and busy market with shops on both sides selling spices, nuts and herbs. You will enjoy a unique experience watching the process of loading, carrying and unloading of huge sacks of items from manual trolleys, shopkeepers busy dealing with their customers, customers selecting large quantities of items and weary laborers resting and chatting aloud. It all seems to be very chaotic but in reality it is a very well managed market area! After a light lunch drive past the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) where the Viceroy once lived but is now the official residence of the President of India. Then visit the Qutb Minar, a stunning 240-foot minaret, the tallest in the world, surrounded by an elaborate complex built in the Indo-Islamic architectural tradition. 

A spectacular dinner has been organized for this evening celebrating Diwali with Indian family in Delhi. Experience the real Indian traditions’ with your Indian host for the evening. Overnight in Delhi

DAY
3
OCT 24: DELHI – AGRA (B, D) (203 KMS/05 HRS)
After breakfast drive to Agra via Sikandra the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The tomb of Akbar lies here in the centre of the large garden. Akbar started its construction himself but it was completed by his son Jehangir, who significantly modified the original plans which accounts for the somewhat cluttered architectural lines of the tomb. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to the hotel. This evening visit the Taj Mahal at sunset. Often considered the pinnacle of Mughal art in India, the Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. When declaring it a world heritage site, UNESCO described it as “the jewel of Muslim art in India”. There are few words that can describe the magnificence of this monument. Marvel as light and colors transform this stunning monument in the beautiful sunset glow.

Later on this evening participate in the local gaiety, sample exotic cuisines, and enjoy a colourful music and cultural dance show. “Kathak” is a classical dance form performed in the Mughal courts to entertain the Emperors that will enthrall guests. Overnight in Agra 


DAY
4
OCT 25: AGRA – JAIPUR (B, L, D) (232 KMS/05 HRS)
After breakfast, we set out to explore the Agra Fort, the work of Akbar the Great, who built it over the course of eight years (1565-1573). The fort was successively occupied by Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan; the latter died here, imprisoned by his son, left to gaze at the Taj Mahal he had built. We cross the Yamuna River to visit Itmad ud Daula. The mausoleum was built by Queen Nur Jahan in 1622 in memory of her father. It is a notable representation of the fine inlaid stonework and translucent marble. Many historians believe that this monument was Shah Jahan’s inspiration for building the Taj and is often described as the “petite Taj.” Continue overland to Jaipur en-route visiting the old deserted town of Fatehpur Sikri the eerily abandoned capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. Akbar built this city to celebrate the birth of his son and future heir to the thrown, Emperor Jahangir. While Akbar is believed to have been illiterate, he took great interest in the arts and architecture; Fatehpur Sikri is one of his masterworks. Sadly, it served as a capital for little more than a decade, eventually abandoned for lack of accessible water. 

Stop for lunch at Laxmi Vilas Palace previously known as Raghunath Niwas. In 1994 the palace was converted into the now famous Laxmi Vilas Palace. Bharatpur Palaces have played host to such dignitaries as the Duke of Edinburgh, Shah of Iran, King of Nepal and the Shah of Afghan and has been a prime witness to, and a participant in almost every eventful experience that took place in the princely state of Bharatpur, be it royal weddings, affairs of the court or Royal duck shoots.

Upon arrival in Jaipur, check in to the hotel. Jaipur, the fascinating capital of the state of Rajasthan.This evening discover a definitive dining experience at LMB! This is where the whole city buys exceptional traditional delicacies when celebrating special occasions and festivals! Overnight in Jaipur

DAY
5
OCT 26: JAIPUR (B, D)
This morning we will drive a short distance outside of the city to Amber Fort and Palace. Perched on a hillside on the outskirts of town, the palace was constructed in the 1590s by Maharaja Man Singh, the commander of Akbar’s army, and was largely motivated by the highly defensible location. This is a beautiful and very well preserved structure, built on four levels and surrounded by ruins, which served as the backdrop for the Mira Nair movie “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.” We then return to the city for a look at the grand Hawa Mahal often called the Palace of Winds and a striking landmark. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh specifically for the women in the royal family, this building allowed them to watch the city’s processions through tiny, latticed windows and balconies without ever being seen. This five-storey pyramidal monument resembles a giant honeycomb and gets its name from the pink wind vanes that are perpetually in motion.

This afternoon visit the City Palace and impressive Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built in the early 1700s by Maharaja Jai Sing II, the great warrior-astronomer to which this city owes its name. Then learn the art of an Indian tattoo design on your hand by a professional artist. This Heena (Mehendi) design is associated with lots of things; a good dark design is a sign of good luck for a marital couple. It is common for the names of the bride and groom to be hidden in the Mehendi design; and the wedding night cannot commence until the groom has found the names. Some examples of popular traditional images used in Mehendi designs are the peacock, which is the national bird of India, the lotus flower, and an elephant with a raised trunk a symbol of good luck. 

Dinner tonight will be at the Samode Palace where you will enjoy a Royal dinner. Overnight in Jaipur

DAY
6
OCT 27: JAIPUR – UDAIPUR (B, D) (410 KMS/08 HRS)
After breakfast drive to Udaipur, the majestic city of lakes and palaces. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 and fondly referred to as Rajasthan’s most romantic city, its rich history is matched by its picturesque setting among the Aravalli Mountains and three manmade lakes. Early this evening, we will take a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola, sailing past its picturesque ghats and palaces, stopping at the island of Jag Mandir, a 17th century water palace that witnessed two important historical events. It was the refuge for Prince Khurram, later known as Shah Jahan, when he was exiled by his father. During the uprising of 1857, the island offered safety to several British families who fled from nearby Neemuch. Dinner will be at your hotel this evening, Overnight in Udaipur

DAY
7
OCT 28: UDAIPUR (B, D)
We begin our day at the City Palace, overlooking the blue waters of Lake Pichola. Maharana Udai Singh initiated construction in 1559 A.D. and it was subsequently expanded, with impressive uniformity, by several succeeding Maharanas. The palace consists of a number of beautiful courtyards and gardens. The main hall has been converted into a museum, housing opulent artifacts and original works of art. Inside the complex we will find the exquisite crystal gallery, exhibiting 19th century pieces including crystal chandeliers, tables, sofas and beds. We will continue walking towards the Jagdish Temple to study its many remarkable friezes. Lavishly built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, it is easy to understand why Jagdish is the most venerated Hindu temple in Udaipur. Afterwards we will explore the Old City, wandering through its bustling streets lined with art shops, spice vendors, tailors and more.

Return to hotel and enjoy dinner at the Top Terrace at Fatehgarh; a perfect way to soak in the beauty of nature surrounding Fatehgarh. Overnight in Udaipur

DAY
8
OCT 29: UDAIPUR – MUMBAI (B, D) (FLIGHT S23094:0655/0810 HRS)
Early this morning you will be transferred to Jaipur domestic airport for a flight to Mumbai. Mumbai's culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, music and theatres. The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment and night life, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other world capitals. On arrival our representative and transfer to the hotel. This afternoon you will meet celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and if time permits he will do a cooking demonstration for the group. Overnight in Mumbai

DAY
9
OCT 30: MUMBAI (B, D)
This morning depart for the Gateway of India, the principal landmark in Mumbai, and originally the principal port when visitors came to India by ship. The gateway was conceived, following the visit of King George V to India in 1911, and was officially opened in 1924. Its architecture is akin to the conventional Arc de Triomphe, with elements derived from the Muslim styles of the 16th century Gujarat. Here you will board a motorized boat for the one hour excursion to Elephanta Island (closed on Mondays) a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is famous for its great cave shrine, excavated in the sixth century, dating back to the period, when the island was known as Gharapuri, the Fortress City. The cave temple, which is the pride of Elephanta, sprawls over an area of approximately 5000 square meters, is reached by climbing a flight of approximately 100 steps, to the top of a hill. One's attention is immediately drawn to a series of marvellous sculptured panels, nine in all, which are set like tableaux on the walls. The afternoon is at your leisure. 

This evening enjoy dinner at Khyber at Fort Restaurant. Nostalgia and seductive antiquity slowly surround you as you enter through a wooden door decorated with Urdu couplets. Khyber welcomes you with its rugged frontier charm, old oil lanterns and frost weathered woodwork. A definite gateway to India’s rich heritage infused with all modern day comforts. As you sit surrounded by huge urns and ancient Mughal royalties on the walls, you are served authentic Indian cuisine which can be easily coined as Ambrosia – the food of the Gods. The flavours and aroma have seduced many for years in this equally intriguing city. Thumris and ghazals softly playing in the background inspire your appetite for some of the most exotic delicacies prepared from fresh and select ingredients with great care and passion. Overnight in Mumbai

DAY
10
OCT 31: MUMBAI - COCHIN (B, D) (BY FLIGHT SG103:1350/1600 HRS) COCHIN - KUMARAKOM (50KM/1.5h)
Today you will be transferred to the airport to board a flight to Cochin. On arrival in Cochin you will be met and driven overland to Kumarakom the enchanting backwater destination that slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake, a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and tributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!! The blue backwaters and the surface of Vembanad Lake reflect the azure sky. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. 

This evening dine at Ettukettu. This regal restaurant is home to ethnic Kerala cuisine with a slew of fragrant spices lending the cuisine its very own flavour. Specialties served include Syrian Christian Duck Roast, Duck Curry, Karimeen Pollichathu, Karimeen Mappas, Appam, Thamarappam and Idiappams (string-hoppers). Overnight in Kumarakom


DAY
11
NOV 01: KUMARAKOM (B, D)
Enjoy the day at leisure, perhaps enjoy spa or ayurveda treatments or just relax. This evening enjoy a very special dinner with Philipkuttys Farm where you will have a two hour demonstration including group participation. Kerala cuisine is renowned for its use of local spices and flavours and you are sure to come home with new culinary skills. Overnight in Kumarakom

DAY
12
NOV 02: ALLEPPEY (B, L, D)
Today you will be transferred to Alleppey to board our private Houseboat for lunch and the start of our cruise through a splendid waterway of canals, lakes and coves. Also called kettuvalloms, the houseboats of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 feet in length. It takes great skill and meticulousness to construct these giants by tying huge planks of jack wood together. Curiously enough, not a single nail is used in their making. Modified to meet a novel concept of holidaying, the kettuvalloms are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, bedrooms, several shared bathrooms and a kitchenette. Every boat is manned by a crew of 3, usually a cook, a guide and an oarsman. The afternoon can be spent sunbathing on the deck or lounging in the shade of the main cabin. Dining onboard is a delicious blend of home style cooking with selections of savory spices and robust ingredients in dishes that explode with flavor. As we drift along, it is amazing to observe how life is lived on the water. People sail, fish, swim, wash their laundry and bathe themselves here. Socializing is a water activity too. It is not unusual to see people talking for an hour or more, while immersed up to their necks in water. Canoes with huge sails still transport the locals and you can find vegetable sellers, fisherman and other household materials being brought door to door in small wooden boats. Overnight onboard the House boat

DAY
13
NOV 03: ALLEPPEY - COCHIN (B)
After breakfast drive back to Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala with its modern part Ernakulam and the old peninsular district of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, Cochin is situated on the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin was an important spice-trading center on the Arabian Sea coast from the 14th century onwards. It was the first European colonial settlement in India. First the Portuguese followed by the Dutch and the British ruled here until the 19th century. Visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays & Saturdays) built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. The building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Then visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco da Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. The palace was known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. After touring you will be transferred to Cochin International Airport for your onward flight. 

 
So, what are you waiting for? Book early and avoid disappointment. It is usually a small group and it gets filled quickly.
 
Source: Indus Travels.
 

South India delights with Chef Vinod


Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of south India. Come, Join me as I take you on a culinary journey through South India.You will also have the opportunity to interact with and get culinary demonstrations from leading chefs immersed in the local culinary traditions.

CHEF_VINOD_POSTCARD-1

Description    

                        Join Chef Vinod on this 13 day culinary adventure to South India.  Guests will enjoy a range of delicious cuisines from Karnataka to Mughlai and Mappilla, with Chef Vinod on hand to divulge the history and secret recipes of the tempting dishes on offer.  Visit bustling local markets, enjoy a cooking class and join a local family for a traditional meal to learn more about the food and culture of this incredible region.  With plenty of time to explore the World Heritage Site of Mamallapuram, the historic city of Mysore, the beautiful Kerala backwaters and the stunning beaches of Kovalam, this tour is sure to appeal to devoted foodies, culture aficionados and interested travellers of all ages.                                                                                                                   

Tour Highlights

 

• Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mamallapuram and indulge in a delicious South Indian Thali meal • See the sights of beautiful Mysore, including the bustling local market • See a traditional Kathkali dance performance and dine at the famed Malabar Junction restaurant • Experience a hands-on cooking demonstration and lunch at a local house in Cochin • Enjoy a traditional lunch as you cruise along the scenic backwaters of Kerala - See more at:

South India Delights With Chef Vinod  13 Days  

DAY 1

  16 OCT’2013 ARRIVAL IN CHENNAI & TRANSFER TO COVELONG   

                                                   On arrival at Chennai airport, your tour escort will meet you outside the customs gate and escort you in air-conditioned Indian made deluxe buses to Covelog (35km/approx 1hr drive). Overnight at Vivanta by Fisherman's Cove TaJ

DAY 2

17 OCT’2013 MAMALLAPURAM   EXCURSION

Start your morning with a trip to Mamallapuram - Its enviable position on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal, guarantees that this is a popular place to stay. Spend time on the white-sand beach shaded by casuarina trees and hire a bike to pedal through the surrounding countryside but make sure you allow time to explore this wonderful open-air museum, much of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arjuna's Penance -Nothing can prepare you for the wonderful bas-reliefs covering two huge boulders. The exquisite detail, dating from the 7th century, depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayan mountains as well as scenes from Indian daily life. The Five Rathas You won't believe that these shrines are carved whole from an outcrop of rock. Each of the five temples is dedicated to heroes from the great epic of the Mahabharata. Spend time admiring the detail of the carvings which include gods, humans and elephants and wonder why the temples are incomplete and were never consecrated. Shore Temple Relish the delightful seaside location, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, and landscaped gardens surrounding the Shore Temple, a popular place for the locals to visit. Dedicated to both Vishnu and Shiva, the decorative beauty of the temple, built in Dravidian style, has suffered erosion by its proximity to the sea. Experience South Indian thali meals  is served in Banana leaf, it is a well balanced meal with dishes that include rice, dal, vegetables, flat breads, yoghurt, chutney, pickle, papad and a sweet dish. Chef Vinod may insists you try this by eating by your hand!!!!  Return to Hotel and relax. Evening Enjoy the fresh catch of the day cooked with Bay Spice - local peppers, coriander and tamarind. You'll relish the French seafood broth with shredded vegetable, diced seafood and a peg of tender coconut water. (B/L/ D)                                      

DAY 3

18 OCT’2013 MAMALLAPURAM – KANCHIPURAM  (65 KMS / 1.5 HRS) - KACHIPURAM – CHENNAI – BANGALORE (FLIGHT 9W 2309 1800/1835 HRS) -

Today we depart from Hotel and Drive to the impressive temple town of Kanchipuram covering a distance of 60kms in approx 1.5 hour.  Known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, it is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples and its hand-woven silks. Most of the temples are well preserved till date, which were built during 7th and 8th century AD. The prominent temples of Kanchipuram are Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakshi Temple etc. Kanchipuram silk is famous all over the world. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris. Return to Chennai to catch a flight to Bangalore. Tonight Chef Vinod welcomes you to the Taj West End hotel to experience a well contemplated Anglo Indian Menu that draws inspiration from the British Raj. The fusion food that emerged during those day’s thus became a staple of the Country’s Anglo- Indian Population. Plunge back into time and indulge in a menu conceptualized with a colonial touch. (B/D)Overnight in Bangalore  -

DAY 4

19 OCT’2013 BANGALORE – MYSORE (140 KMS/3.5 HRS)

Begin with a visit to the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh conceived and laid out by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. His son, Tipu, expanded the gardens further planting exotic plants from Persia, Kabul, Turkey, and Mauritius (tropical and subtropical species) over 96 hectares (240 acres). Highlights include the Lawn Clock and the British-built glasshouse, structurally based on London's Crystal Palace and then drive to Mysore - You will be charmed by the faded grandeur of Mysore, the former capital of the much loved Wodeyars dynasty who reigned from the 16th century. A city rich in heritage, make sure you discover its royal palaces, sacred temples and majestic buildings but leave time to stroll through some of its many parks and gardens or along a wide leafy boulevard. Evening enjoy an exclusively designed menu by Chef Vinod that features traditional Karnataka cuisine, dinner will be a love of labor, full of nostalgic memories-a very special treat indeed!   Overnight in Mysore (B/D)   

DAY 5

Morning we visit Devaraj Market - Most colourful local market, Mysore Palace -You can't fail to be impressed by this vast palace, with its turrets, domes and arches and an opulent interior with intricately carved doors and ceilings. Wander through the luxuriously furnished rooms, once home to the royal family, and admire this treasure trove of works of art from all over the world. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or national holiday don't miss the spectacle of the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. Jaganmohan Palace -Spend time perusing the collection of 19th century paintings in this former palace. The skill of the Indian artists, using natural vegetable and mineral dyes, is extraordinary. Enjoy the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings which are on display here. Evening Head up Chamundi Hill for panoramic views of the city spread out below before exploring the exquisite hilltop temple dedicated to the goddess, Chamundi and dominated by a 40m-high gopuram (tower).  Make a short stop at the huge statue dedicated to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva, on the way down. This evening enjoy Mughlai food at Olive garden (windflower). Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendor and Chef Vinod will explain the layering of the spices that gives each preparation an exotic taste and flavor. Taste Saffron, almonds, raisins, apricots and pistachios in the dishes prepared specially for you tonight. Overnight In Mysore (B/D)                                     

DAY 6

21 OCT’2013 MYSORE – CALICUT (210 KMS/5 HRS)

Drive to Calicut and visit Beypore, a prominent port and fishing harbour of ancient Kerala. Visit the fish markets with Chef Vinod who will point out the many varieties of seafood caught fresh daily off these shores and the special ways the locals prepare it for their families. Later venture into town and visit the Sweet Meat Street with many colourful shops. Visit the Boat yards in Beypore, which have been building vessels since early centuries for legendary seamen. The astounding feature is the way in which the boats are built wherein the skilled craftsmen build boats based on just experience-without any drawings or charts. You can also visit a century old tile factory founded by the Germans and later acquired by the British. The century old machinery and systems that are still in use to produce tiles and bricks make for a very interesting visit. Check in to you resort.  Tonight enjoy a special dinner featuring Moppilla Cuisine -The cuisine of Kerala Muslims, well known for its delicate blend of spiciness and subtle mix of ingredients that add a touch of the exotic! The Mappilas of Malabar love eating and cooking has developed into an art-form that is perfected by every girl by the time she gets married. Ask any Mappila man, and he will swear by his mom's 'Thalassery biriyani'. Mappila cuisine is one of the most exotic, and yet, one of the least known, of India's major cuisines.Like any regional cuisines, Mappilas have also developed a cuisine that makes the best use of locally available ingredients. As such, most dishes are made from various forms and combinations of rice, banana, coconut and egg, besides of course, meat. In addition, the Muslim tradition of using lots of dry fruits can be seen even here. Over night in Calicut (B/D) 

DAY 7

22 OCT’2013 CALICUT- COCHIN (220 KMS/5 HRS)

Today we drive to Cochin with its wealth of historical associations and its beautiful setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas; the fascinating city of Cochin perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. Cochin now renamed Kochi, boasts one of the finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea coast and has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the many buildings and structures, which bear testimony to the different influences that the city has acquired from the world over. Cochin is a fascinating synthesis of old and new. This evening watch a performance of the Kathakali dance. The epic Ramayana comes to life at a Kathakali performance, the traditional Keralan dance, where characters use larger than life gestures, wear outrageous costumes and dramatic make up. Afterwards enjoy dinner at the Malabar Junction, a superb, open-sided restaurant in a garden. It is known throughout India for its exceptional food, probably the best pasta in India!. Overnight in Cochin  

DAY 8            

 23 OCT’2013 COCHIN  

   This morning take a Cooking Class at house of Nimmi Paul. Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'At Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor for more than twenty years offers food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. We will also arrange for Market trip –like visit vegetable market and spice market.Guests are also provided the opportunity to enjoy a meal with an Indian family whereby they can enjoy delicious food in homely ambience, interact with members of the host family and experience the nuances of a joint family system. The unique experience brings you in close touch with the traditions; values and cultural ethos of this enchanting land. Afternoon visit the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. Continue on to visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco da Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. Culminate the tour at Fort Kochi, which is said to be the oldest European settlement in India. This evening is free to explore a local restaurant in town or visit the famous beach with the Chinese fishing nets Overnight in Cochin (B/L)  

DAY 9

 24 OCT’2013 COCHIN – ALLEPPEY - KUMARAKOM (85 KMS/2 HRS) -

This Morning we  drive to Alleppey - Board a boat for a lazy few hours drifting along shimmering waterways passing coconut groves, a green patchwork of rice paddies and isolated villages where daily life is dominated by the rhythm of the waters. Pass boats laden down with cargo and fishermen throwing their nets from small rowing boats and watch small ferry boats busily crisscrossing the rivers   Enjoy your Traditional Lunch served on Boat.  Evening Disembark from House boat and further drive to Kumarakom - the enchanting backwater destination slumbers on the bank of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!!The blue backwaters and the surface of Vembanad Lake reflect the azure sky. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. Arrive in Kumarakom and check in to hotel where rooms will be pre-booked. Evening meal will be an informal feast with dishes chosen by Chef Vinod and specially prepared by the hotel chefs, perhaps Chef Vinod will prepare for you while you watch one of his signature dishes!  (Payment for this dinner will taken by clients at their own) Overnight in Kumarakom  (B/L)      

DAY 10

 25 OCT’2013 KUMARAKOM  

      Yoga enthusiasts will want to rise early for a morning session with a Yoga master in a serene setting at the hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure for spa/ayurveda and independent activities. Overnight in Kumarakom (B)   

DAY 11

26 OCT ’2013 KUMARAKOM – KOVALAM (195 KMS/6 HRS)

 

Drive to Kovalam beach covering a distance of 195 kms in approx 6 hours. Kovalam is a renowned beach destination. With three adjacent crescent beaches, it has been a favorite of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, and convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centre. Overnight in Kovalam (B)  

DAY 12

 27 OCT’2013 KOVALAM

 

      Day will be at leisure. Relax on the warm palm-fringed sands, rejuvenate your senses with some ayurvedic treatments, or wander along the headland. Standing at the old lighthouse you can watch the sky and waters burn as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Evening enjoy a sumptuous fare well dinner at residing hotel. Overnight in Kovalam (B/D) PLAN YOUR DAY AND CHOOSE FROM BELOW SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:1. ORIENTATION CITY TOUR OF TRIVANDRUM. ALSO EXPERIENCE A RIDE ON LOCAL BUSES!Visit Napier Museum & Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & National holidays). Built in the 19th century, this Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Next visit Sree Chithra Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & Wednesday forenoons) - located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. Further visit the Kanakakunnu Palace - the palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes and the University Observatory - located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 meters above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here. In order to give the guests a more authentic experience, we will arrange a short ride using local buses. An amazing sight to watch! These colorful buses are part of everyday life!

2. A SHORT MOVIE EXPERIENCE AT A LOCAL THEATREEnjoy the experience of an electrifying local Malayalam movie flick at a local theatre. Experience and watch the local people enjoying the dance, emotions of their favorite actress. 

DAY 13

28 OCT’2013 DEPART FROM TRIVANDRUM

After breakfast, our representative will escort you to Trivandrum International airport (30 min approx) for your flight to onward destination.                                     

314201_10151058883548873_1259042030_n-2

Chinese fishing nets in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala

534556_434999279890670_614275115_n

Houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala

166011_523194277737836_128988090_n

Aleppey fish curry cooked in an earthern ware pot with coconut milk & "Kodam puli" & curry leaves

  Backwaters of kerala

Kerala back waters

 IMG_6165_2

Enjoying Breakfast at Mamallapuram - Vivanta by Taj  

  539137_400077606716171_38246952_n

Mysore Palace, Mysore (Karnataka)

526092_366121440111788_1565442550_n Fresh Turmeric plant in Kerala

 314212_382525418471390_737239702_n

Shallots galore! on the way to Calicut from Mysore

539146_413517638705501_1818781655_n

 On the way to the Synagogue in Kochi ( Cochin), Kerala

IMG_0446small

At Kanchi Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu - The oldest temple of Kanchipura

IMG_0613_1

At the Lalit Mahal Palace hotel, where we will be staying.

IMG_0716

With tea plantation workers on the way to Calicut from Mysore

IMG_0570small

Devaraja Market in Mysore 

IMG_6469.small

At a small scale cashew processing plant in Kerala.

  _MG_6220small

spiced infused water at Taj West End - Banglaore - Fennugreek and "Ajwain"

_MG_6221

_MG_6325small

Masala Omelette at Taj West End, Bangalore, India

 

 TOUR DEPARTS OCTOBER 16, 2013 -   BOOK EARLY AND AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.

FOR MORE INFO ON THE TOUR, TYPE OF HOTELS, PICTURE OF THE HOTEL , TO DOWNLOAD THE TOUR ITINERARY ETC VISIT -INDUS.TRAVELS

INDUS TRAVELS IS THE WINNER OF THE BEST TOUR OPERATOR TO INDIA FROM THE AMERICAS FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS.

 


Culinary tour to India with Chef Vinod


 SOUTH INDIA DELIGHTS WITH CHEF VINOD

                        TOUR DEPARTS : JANUARY 31, 2013

   IMG_6527

Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of south India.Chef Vinod, who hails from Kerala and obtained culinary training from the institute of Hotel Management, Chennai will guide your culinary exploration every step of the way.In addition you will have the opportunity to interact with and get culinary demonstrations from leading chefs immersed in the local culinary traditions.
This 13 day culinary expedition around South India with renowned Chef Vinod begins on India's beautiful east coast with a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mamallapuram. Guests will travel through bustling Bangalore to the historic city of Mysore to experience some traditional Karnataka cuisine and visit the lively local market. Chef Vinod will introduce travellers to the exotic tastes of 'Moppilla' cuisine in Calicut before arriving in Cochin on the Arabian Sea coast. After enjoying a cooking class and exploring the local market, guests will be whisked to charming Alleppey, for a charming backwaters cruise, and onto serene Kumarakom. The last stop on this gastronomic adventure is Kovalam, where Chef Vinod will organize a beachside BBQ and a sumptuous farewell feast.
This tour is being organized in collaboration with : Indus Travels.
Indus-travels-logo
winner of the best tour operator award to India given by the Government of India.
The-best-tour-operator (1)
   
DAY 1
Day1 : JAN 31 ARRIVAL CHENNAI TRANSFER TO COVELONG 
On arrival at Chennai airport your Tour escort will meet you outside the customs gate and escort you in an air-conditioned Indian made deluxe bus to Covelo (35km/approx 1hr drive). Overnight in Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s cove.

DAY 2
Day2 : FEB 01 MAMALLAPURAM EXCURSION (B/L/ D) 
Start your morning with a trip to Mamallapuram - Its enviable position on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal, guarantees that this is a popular place to visit. Spend time on the white-sand beach shaded by casuarina trees and hire a bike to pedal through the surrounding countryside but make sure you allow time to explore this wonderful open-air museum, much of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the sightseeing highlights include Arjuna’s Penance a wonderful bas-relief covering two huge boulders. The exquisite detail dating from the 7th century depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayan mountains as well as scenes from Indian daily life, The Five Rathas - these shrines are carved whole from an outcrop of rock. Each of the five temples is dedicated to heroes from the great epic of the Mahabharata. Spend time admiring the detail of the carvings which include gods, humans and elephants. Visit the Shore Temple by the seaside overlooking the Bay of Bengal with landscaped gardens surrounding it is dedicated to both Vishnu and Shiva. Today’s most memorable experience will be a South Indian thali meal which is served on Banana leaf! This is a well balanced meal with dishes that include rice, dal, vegetables, flat breads, yoghurt, chutney, pickle, papad and a sweet dish. Chef Vinod may insist you try eating this like the locals-without the use of a knife or fork!!!!! Return to Hotel and relax. Evening Enjoy the fresh catch of the day cooked with Bay Spice - local peppers, coriander and tamarind. You'll relish the seafood broth with shredded vegetable, diced seafood and a peg of tender coconut water. 
IMG_0340

IMG_0573

DAY 3
Day3 : FEB 02 MAMALLAPURAM – KANCHIPURAM –BANGALORE
Today we depart from Hotel and Drive to the impressive temple town of Kanchipuram covering a distance of 60kms in approx 1.5 hour. Known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, it is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples and its hand-woven silks. Most of the temples which were built during 7th and 8th century AD are well preserved. The prominent temples of Kanchipuram are Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakshi Temple etc. Kanchipuram silk is famous all over the world. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris. Return to Mamallapuram to catch a flight to Bangalore. Tonight Chef Vinod welcomes you to the Taj West End hotel to experience a well contemplated Anglo Indian Menu that draws inspiration from the British Raj. The fusion food that emerged during those day’s thus became a staple of the Country’s Anglo- Indian Population. Plunge back into time and indulge in a menu conceptualized with a colonial touch. Overnight in Bangalore 
IMG_0447
IMG_6369
DAY 4
Day4 : FEB 03 BANGALORE – MYSORE (140km/3.5h) (B/D)
Begin with a visit to the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh conceived and laid out by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. His son, Tipu, expanded the gardens further planting exotic plants from Persia, Kabul, Turkey, and Mauritius (tropical and subtropical species) over 96 hectares (240 acres). Highlights include the Lawn Clock and the British-built glasshouse, structurally based on London's Crystal Palace and then drive to Mysore - You will be charmed by the faded grandeur of Mysore, the former capital of the much loved Wodeyars dynasty who reigned from the 16th century. We will visit the Royal palaces, sacred temples and majestic buildings but leave enough time to stroll through some of the city’s many parks, gardens and wide leafy boulevards. Evening enjoy an exclusively designed menu by Chef Vinod that features traditional Karnataka cuisine, dinner will be a love of labor, full of nostalgic memories-a very special treat indeed! Overnight in Mysore 
IMG_0137

DAY 5
Day5 : FEB 04 MYSORE (B/D)
Morning we visit Devaraj Market – A most colourful local market, Chef Vinod is on hand to explain the spices, fruits and vegetables, the home made sauces and pastes, pickles and the many varieties grains, rice and lentils sold here. Pick up some to bring home and impress your guests at your next Indian dinner party! Chef Vinod will give you special tips and recipes too! Next visit the Mysore Palace - once home to the royal family. Admire this treasure trove of works of art from all over the world. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or national holiday don't miss the spectacle of the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. Jaganmohan Palace houses a collection of 19th century paintings by skilled Indian artists who used natural vegetable and mineral dyes. Enjoy the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings which are on display here. Evening Head up Chamundi Hill for panoramic views of the city spread out below before exploring the exquisite hilltop temple dedicated to the goddess, Chamundi and dominated by a 40m-high gopuram (tower). Make a short stop at the huge statue dedicated to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva, on the way down. This evening enjoy Mughlai food at Olive garden (windflower). Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendor and Chef Vinod will explain the layering of the spices that gives each preparation an exotic taste and flavor. Taste Saffron, almonds, raisins, apricots and pistachios in the dishes prepared specially for you tonight. Overnight In Mysore 
IMG_0117

_MG_6564
IMG_0613_3
DAY 6
Day6 : FEB 05 MYSORE – CALICUT (210km/5h) (B/D)
Drive to Calicut and visit Beypore, a prominent port and fishing harbour of ancient Kerala. Visit the fish markets with Chef Vinod who will point out the many varieties of seafood caught fresh daily off these shores and the special ways the locals prepare it for their families. Later venture into town and visit the Sweet Meat Street with many colourful shops. Visit the Boat yards in Beypore, which have been building vessels since early centuries for legendary seamen. The astounding feature is the way in which the boats are built wherein the skilled craftsmen build boats based on just experience-without any drawings or charts. You can also visit a century old tile factory founded by the Germans and later acquired by the British. The century old machinery and systems that are still in use to produce tiles and bricks make for a very interesting visit. Check in to you resort. Tonight enjoy a special dinner featuring Moppilla Cuisine -The cuisine of Kerala Muslims, well known for its delicate blend of spiciness and subtle mix of ingredients that add a touch of the exotic! The Mappilas of Malabar love eating and cooking has developed into an art-form that is perfected by every girl by the time she gets married. Ask any Mappila man, and he will swear by his mom's 'Thalassery biriyani'. Mappila cuisine is one of the most exotic, and yet, one of the least known, of India's major cuisines.
Like any regional cuisines, Mappilas have also developed a cuisine that makes the best use of locally available ingredients. As such, most dishes are made from various forms and combinations of rice, banana, coconut and egg, besides of course, meat. In addition, the Muslim tradition of using lots of dry fruits can be seen even here. Over night in Calicut 
IMG_0520

IMG_0611

IMG_0588


DAY 7
Day7 : FEB 06 CALICUT- COCHIN (B/ D)
Today we drive to Cochin -Kochi- with its wealth of historical associations and its beautiful setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the fascinating city of Cochin perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. Cochin now renamed Kochi, boasts of one of the finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea coast and has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the many buildings and structures, which bear testimony to the different influences that the city has acquired from the world over. Cochin is a fascinating synthesis of old and new. This evening we go to the theatre for a Kathakali dance show - the epic Ramayana comes to life at a Kathakali performance, traditional Keralan dance, where the characters use larger than life gestures, wear outrageous costumes and dramatic make up. Enjoy your Dinner at The Malabar Junction – A superb, open-sided restaurant in the garden. It is known throughout India for its exceptional food (probably the best pasta in India!). Overnight in Cochin 

IMG_0704

DAY 8
Day8 : FEB 07 COCHIN (B/L)
This morning take a Cooking Class at house of Nimmi Paul. Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'At Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. 
Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor for more than twenty years offers food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy and her husband Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. In keeping with the tradition of their families they enjoy having guests and serving good food. 
Nimmy conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. Articles by her and about her have appeared in magazines and newspapers

We will also arrange for Market trip –like visit vegetable market and spice market. Guests are also provided the opportunity to enjoy a meal with an Indian family whereby they can enjoy delicious food in homely ambience and get an opportunity to interact with members of the host family on a personal level and experience the nuances of a joint family system. The unique experience brings tourists in close touch with the traditions; values and cultural ethos of this enchanting land. Afternoon visit the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. The building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Continue on to visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco de Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. 
IMG_0665
DAY 9
Day9 : FEB 08 COCHIN – ALLEPPEY – KUMARAKOM (85km/2h) (B/L)
This Morning we drive to Alleppey - Board a boat for a lazy few hours drifting along shimmering waterways passing coconut groves, a green patchwork of rice paddies and isolated villages where daily life is dominated by the rhythm of the waters. Pass boats laden down with cargo and fishermen throwing their nets from small rowing boats and watch small ferry boats busily crisscrossing the rivers Enjoy your Traditional Lunch served on Boat. Evening Disembark from House boat and further drive to Kumarakom - the enchanting backwater destination slumbers on the bank of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!! The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. Arrive in Kumarakom and check in to hotel. Evening meal will be an informal feast with dishes chosen by Chef Vinod and specially prepared by the hotel chefs, perhaps Chef Vinod will prepare for you while you watch one of his signature dishes! where rooms will be pre-booked. Overnight in Kumarakom.
IMG_0740_1

DAY 10
Day10 : FEB 09 KUMARAKOM (B)
Yoga enthusiasts will want to rise early for a morning session with a Yoga master in a serene setting at the hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure for spa/ayurveda and independent activities. There are no planned activities today, just relax and enjoy your surroundings. Overnight in Kumarakom

EXCLUSIVE GALA MOCK INDIAN WEDDING WITH KERALA FEAST: Traditional Ceremony: Maintaining the chastity of the sacramental institute of marriage the traditional ceremony mainly involves three events. Beginning the traditional ceremony the Jaimala (exchange of garlands) takes place and therefore takes each other as husband and wife. The bridegroom thereafter takes the seven steps together known as Pheras taking oaths of loyalty and love to each other. Finally the Kanyadaan (giving away the bride) takes place when the bride's father or an elder brother gives away the bride to the groom with all the trust. The Indian wedding is all about colors, joy, rituals and fun. 
The evening will also include: 
1. Live performance of classical music of Kerala 
2. Lavish buffet spread with live cooking
3. Stewards dressed in typical village style
IMG_6578


DAY 11
Day11 : FEB 10 KUMARAKOM – KOVALAM (B)
Drive to Kovalam beach covering a distance of 195 kms in approx 6 hours. Kovalam is a renowned beach destination. With three adjacent crescent beaches, it has been a favorite of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. Tonight enjoy a beachside BBQ organized by Chef Vinod and meet some of the local chefs, fellow travelers and lovers of Indian cuisine! Overnight in Kovalam 
DAY 12
Day12 : FEB 11 KOVALAM (B/D) 
Day will be at leisure. Relax on the warm palm-fringed sands, rejuvenate your senses with some ayurvedic treatments, or wander along the headland. Standing at the old lighthouse you can watch the sky and waters burn as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Evening enjoy a sumptuous fare well dinner at your hotel; meet the executive resident chef and other staff who have worked so hard to create an unforgettable feast for you. Overnight in Kovalam 

PLAN YOUR DAY AND CHOOSE FROM THE SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
1. ORIENTATION CITY TOUR OF TRIVANDRUM. ALSO EXPERIENCE A RIDE ON LOCAL BUSES!
Visit Napier Museum & Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & National holidays). Built in the 19th century, this Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Next visit Sree Chithra Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & Wednesday forenoons) - located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. Further visit the Kanakakunnu Palace - the palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes and the University Observatory - located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 meters above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here. 
In order to give the guests a more authentic experience, we will arrange a short ride using local buses. An amazing sight to watch! These colorful buses are part of every day life!
2. A SHORT MOVIE EXPERIENCE AT A LOCAL THEATRE
Enjoy the experience of an electrifying local Malayalam movie flick at a local theatre just as the locals do! 

DAY 13
Day13 : FEB 12 DEPART FROM TRIVANDRUM (B)
After breakfast, our representative will escort you to Trivandrum International airport (30 min approx) for your flight to onward destination.
Hotel Check out time 11.00am

 From US $ 4995/- for more information please e mail - Raju@indus.travel or call toll free :
 Toll Free (USA & Canada) +1 866­ 978 2997 
  For more detaisl click here
  

Culinary Tour of South India with Chef Vinod - January 2013

TOUR DEPARTS - JANUARY 31, 2013

 

IMG_0717



MAMALAPURAM - BANGALORE - MYSORE - CALICUT - COCHIN - KUMARAKOM - KOVALAM
 

Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of South India. Come and join me on January 31, 2013 on a 13 day tour to the South of India. I am happy to join hands with Indus Travels, recognized as the Best Tour operator to India by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, three times in the last four years.

531215_364191896971409_1913331627_n

Poster- 20x30

   PLACE                                        NIGHTS                            LUXURY HOTELS

 MAMALAPURAM                                  02     VIVANTA BY TAJ - FISHERMAN'S COVE

 BANGALORE                                       01                       TAJ WESTEND

 MYSORE                                            02                        LALIT MAHAL PALACE

 CALICUT                                           01                        KADAVU RESORT

 COCHIN                                            02                        LE MERIDIEN

 KUMARAKOM                                     02                        ZURI KUMARAKOM

 KOVALAM                                          02       VIVANTA BY TAJ - GREEN COVE

      Tour Package includes :

  • Accommodation on twin sharing room with breakfast at all listed hotels or equivalent
  • Tours and excursions by one AC Chauffeur driven large coach.
  • Daily bottle of mineral water on board coach
  • Entrance fee of Monuments as per programs
  • Service of English speaking Tour Manager throughout the tour
  • Welcome Dinner at Taj Fisherman's cove (day)2
  • Traditional south Indian lunch (Mamalapuram)
  • Dinner at Lalit Mahal Palace - Food Corner Karnataka's cuisine
  • Mughlai cuisine at Olive garden (wind flower mysore)
  • Day cruises at houseboat with traditional lunch
  • Special Mappila cuisine dinner at Kadavu Resorts (Calicut)
  • Special authentic Dinner at Malabar junction (Cochin)
  • Cooking demo & hand practice with lunch at Nalini Verma house
  • Farewell dinner at Kovalam
  • All applicable taxes

For detailed itinerary and additional information please inquire online -   raju@indus.travel or call        1-866-978-2997 

A portion of every individual tour payment is donated to the project -Street Children of India. This project helps create an environment conducive to the holistic development of disadvantaged children to enable them to become a part of the mainsteam society.

This is being done in close collaboration with the SALAAM BAALAK TRUST which runs five 24 hour full care shelters for children, one devoted to solely girls. These shelters provide children with security, a sense of home and an oportunity to enjoy their childhood. Their aim is to restore the childhood in children as well as instilling values of independence to become mature, caring and responsible members of their society. If you are interested in being a sponsor please let us know. 



Spring onion
IMG_0542
Paddyfields1.

 

IMG_6536

IMG_6528

IMG_6510
IMG_6578

IMG_0486

IMG_0526
  IMG_0520

IMG_0575

IMG_0380
IMG_0409




Crab Papad Rolls from Indique - A big hit at the Varli Food Festival NYC

_MG_8640e

 Our Chefs getting the crab papad cones ready.

538613_370708839636742_166814070026221_1102451_1634049987_n

Varli Singh and the chefs at the Varli Food Festival in NYC

IMG_4706

L to R: Chef Vikas Khanna, Padma lakshmi, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Varli Singh. Hmm..Not sure what the joke was, Vikas is laughing away.

 

The Varli Food Festival, an Indian culinary and chef showcase, concluded about three weeks ago on April 5th, 2012 in New York City. I must say that the Varli Festival was very well organized and flawlessly executed. Padma Lakshmi, host of the show Top Chef, and Sanjeev Kapoor, celebrated chef from India, were joined by several other celebrity chefs from around the world. 

It was such a delight to see so many Indian restaurateurs and chefs come under one roof to showcase the cuisine of India. There was wide media coverage for the event from various television channels and newspapers such as The New York Times.

Our crab papad rolls from Indique/Indique Heights turned out to be such a big hit that they were featured in The New York Times, in "Outlook India" and above all Padma loved it... Padma Lakshmi loved it...

The photo below was featured in The New York Times - Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi enjoying the crab papad roll from Indique.

IMG_4774-b

See what "Outlook India" magazine had to say about Indique's crab papad roll at the Varli Food Festival.

"CRAB APPLES - Not that it requries any great skills to catch crab in Manhattan, but curing the meat is a lesson best learned from experience. Masters in the art descended on NYC from the US northeastern seaboard to showcase their skills at the Varli Food Festival. Of those partaking, Padma Laksmi played the bait." - Outlook India

IMG_4767

Welcoming Padma Lakshmi

IMG_4765

Surfy Rahman greeting Padma Lakshmi 

Padma-vin.

In conversation with Padma Lakshmi

IMG_4769

Being introduced to Executive Chef S.Balamurugan

IMG_4770

 Being introduced to Executive Chef Abraham Varghese

IMG_4773

Padma Lakshmi enjoying her crab papad roll

IMG_4776

She goes in for seconds!

_mg_8565_MG_8565300_MG_8565

At Junoon restaurant - Surfy Rahman, K.N.Vinod, Walter Rozario, Prasad Chirnomula, & Rajesh Bhardwaj

_mg_8560_MG_8560295_MG_8560

With Chef /Restaurateur Vikram Vij of Vij's in Vancouver, Canada

_mg_8552_MG_8552287_MG_8552

With Chefs Maneet Chauhan, Vikram Vij, Jehangir Mehta, K.N.Vinod, and Shipra Khanna.

_MG_8591

_MG_8592

Ready to get in to the Limousine - for the ride with fellow chefs 

295110_10150633788051710_590891709_9501634_306652367_n\

Restaurateur Surfy Rahman at the Red Carpet walk

_mg_8629_MG_8629328_MG_8629


L to R : Chef K.N.Vinod, Chef S.Balaurugan,Chef Vikas Khanna, and Chef Abraham Varghese

_mg_8599_MG_8599313_MG_8599

L to R: Restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj, Chef Hemant Mathur, Chef K.N.Vinod, and Restaurateur Surfy Rahman

Harris_120405_6716

  _mg_8692_MG_8692347_MG_8692

With Chef Floyd Cardoz and Surfy Rahman

_mg_8553_MG_8553288_MG_8553
With Chef Maneet Chauhan

 _MG_8562

 With  Chef Walter d" Rozario

_MG_8759

With Chef Aliya Leekong  

IMG_8658

 With Sant Chatwal at the Varli festival.

  Salmonslider

L to R: Chefs K.N.Vinod, Ajay Chopra, Kunal Kapoor, Vicky Ratnani, Shipra Khanna, Varli Singh, Peter Beck, Prasad Chirnomula, Saransh Goila,Romy Hardeep Gill,and Harpal singh Sokhi.

IMG_8764

Restaurateur Surfy Rahman and Chef Vicky Ratnani at the Varli festival.

_MG_8593

 L to R : Chefs Vikram Vij, Vicky Ratnani, Kunal Kapoor, Ajay Chopra, and Hari Nayak

561210_370707959636830_166814070026221_1102435_629455208_n

L to R : chefs K.N.Vinod, Ajay Chopra, and Kunal Kapoor

_MG_8792
With a Correspondent from TV Asia, Chefs Prasad Chirnomula, Kunal Kapoor, Ajay Chopra,Sanjeev Kapoor and K.N.Vinod

Some of the photographs - courtesy - Varli food festival


Varli Food Festival 2012 - April 5th - New York


Indique /Indique Heights is proud to be participating at the Varli Food festival in NY. Varli food festival brings together Indian Chefs/Restaurateurs under one roof to promote Indian cuisine. This year's event is hosted by Emmy nominee/top chef host Padma Lakshmi and one of the most celebrated chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor. 

What : Varli Food Festival

When : April 5, 2012

Time : 5 PM to 10 PM

Where : Metropolitan Museum , 
125 West 18th Street
(between 6th and 7th Avenue)
 New York, NY 10011

Hosted by : Padma Lakshmi and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

Participating : Over 6o restaurants/ Celebrity Chefs and Restaurateurs

For further details click here :

 0039                                                        Chef Sanjeev Kapoor 

  Padma-Lakshmi_TV-Hos1t                                                              Padma Lakshmi

Picnik collagejpg

 top row - (L to R) - chef Vikas Khanna, Chef Maneet Chauhan bottom row : (Lto R) chef Jehangir Mehta   and Varli Singh

Picnik collage-s

top L to R : Chef Hari Nayak, Varli Singh, Chef Walter Rozario, Bottom : Restaurateur Surfy Rahman, Chef Alia leekong, Restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj

_MG_7716ed L to R : Chef Prasad Chirnomula, Yours truly, Restaurateur Surfy Rahman and Chef Hemant Mathur.

   


Kerala Shrimp Curry

Kerala "God's Own Country"

 

Kerala located on the south west of India with the Arabian Sea in the west, and the eastern Ghats in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world.  A long shoreline with serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. . Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays.  Magical festivals and above all exotic cuisine...  

Source : Kerala Tourism 

Photos : K.N.Vinod

Kerala1   

Having my roots from Kerala we grew up eating a lot of seafood. Here is a recipe for a simple Kerala Shrimp Curry. Every household in Kerala lays claim to its own recipe for shrimp curry. At my house we make shrimp curry with  "Tamarind" ,  "Kodampuli," with raw green mangoes,with tomatoes and so on....Since Mangoes are in season these days, thought of making a shrimp curry with raw green mangoes. My elder sister Saroja is visiting me from India and told her to help me with this - so that I could handle the camera ...

 It is typical in Kerala to cook shrimp or fish curry in earthenware pots. I have one with me which my mom had gotten with her during one of her trips.  If you don't have one - and I guess most of you won't - do not worry too much about it. Use any cooking utensil of your choicee.

  • Shrimp (small - 1 1/2 lbs
  • Red Chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon 
  • Coriander powder - 2 table spoon
  • Ginger and garlic paste -1/2 teaspoon
  • Chopped ginger - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Whole green chilly - ( split into two ) - 2-3
  • Curry leaves - a small sprig
  • Raw green Mango ( med size) - 1 no diced.
  • Coconut Milk - 1 cup
  • Water - 1 1/2 cups
  • Salt - to taste
  • Shallot - 4 nos. finely sliced
  • Oil * - to fry the sliced shallots

 * In Kerala - coconut oil is used to fry the shallots. You can use any oil - vegetable oil, olive oil, or any oil of your choice.

  1. In the earthenware container, marinate shrimps with red chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric, ginger- garlic paste, chopped ginger, curry leaves, slit green chilly and a few drops of coconut or vegetable oil. Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes.
  2. Add raw diced mango, add water and cook for a few minutes till the mango pieces and the shrimp are almost done.
  3. Add coconut milk and stir well and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. In a separate frying pan or a small karahi/wok - heat oil and fry the shallots to a golden brown color along with a few curry leaves and pour it over the shrimp curry - cover with a lid. Serve hot with plain rice.  

Caution  : Do not overcook the shrimps. As an alternate way - you can add the shrimps once the green mangoes are half done.

Kshrimpcurrycollage1

Photo below : Kodampuli / Kudampuli - 

Botanical name - GARCINIA GUMMI- GUTTA 

IMG_2029

Kodampuli when it ripens turns yellow. The seed is removed and  are salted and dried in the sun where they turn black in color. They can be stored for a very long time. 

The dried black Kodampuli is usually soaked in warm water and used in order to wash away all the impurities during the drying process and also to make it soft before adding it to curries. If you are not able to get "Kodampuli" you can substitute it with Kokum available in Indian grocery stores. 

See below dried " Kodampuli" 


IMG_8342