"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Lunch On The Go

A vegetarian lunch palette in a Kerala roadside restaurant:
the fast-food equivalent of traditional sadya cooking.



Picture taken in a roadside restaurant, travelling between Cochin and Kottayam.

10 responses

  1. Toffeeapple

    That looks like the Thali that we get locally, a lot of variety but not too much food. I don’t think I could ever master using my hand to eat rice and sauce.

    June 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    • In fact there’s far more food than is apparent: unless carefully watched, waiters keep replenishing the rice throughout your meal!

      Although very tasty, I now find this typical Kerala lunch too heavy for midday.

      Over the last few years I have leant how to eat curry without cutlery. When travelling, there is often no alternative. The art is to work the rice into a small ball before lifting it to your mouth – but I still struggle with very liquid dahls!

      June 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

  2. It resembles an artist’s palette … I’m wondering what the hot pink sauce consists of.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

    • Yes, it always strikes me how the plate looks as though it’s been taken straight from an artist’s hand.

      The pink-coloured dish is made from a beetroot base. Like many of the root vegetables introduced during British rule, having been spiced up, it is now a staple of the Indian diet

      June 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

  3. I remember many years ago Maddhur Jaffrey saying that artificial colouring is used liberally in Indian food, which I found a bit off-putting so I’m glad to see that the pink one is beetroot based. We still use her book for all our curries.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    • I’m not aware of Dalila using any food colourants: it just seems to come from the spices and vegetables she is cooking.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

  4. Toffeeapple

    Locally the Tarka Dahl is like thin soup, not as I like it normally.

    June 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    • Thin runny dahl is extremely difficult to negotiate without cutlery!

      June 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

  5. Jolyon

    Could one lower one’s face into the dish and slurp?

    June 10, 2012 at 1:05 am

    • One could, but one would lose all respect from the locals!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

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