Everyone was exchanging their experiences about bird watching, waterfall trekking, spotting Sambar Deer outside their rooms, and so on. But, my focus was somewhere else.
Being a chef, I love to explore local cuisine and take back souvenirs for my kitchen. Last time, when I was in Kochi, I was on a mission to try everything that Kerala cuisine has to offer. Also, I picked up a few lovely things like coconut ladles, coffee beans and flowers, and spices. But, what I discovered in Athirapally is rare.
The moment I landed here, a big-fat traditional ‘Sadhya’ was waiting for me. While I was chatting with the server over lunch, he happened to mention about the tribal bamboo cooking. Obviously, that got me excited. Luckily, the cook who stayed in the nearby tribal village was available, and he agreed to come down, at such a short notice.
In the evening, it was a lovely setting — candle-lit pathway, bonfire and guests mingling with each other. Everyone was exchanging their experiences about bird watching, waterfall trekking, spotting Sambar Deer outside their rooms, and so on. But, my focus was somewhere else.
I got introduced to Byju, and my face lit up. He was holding a Two 3-ft Bamboo Apparatus. He stuffed one with tapioca and the other with marinated fish, poured some oil, sealed it from both the ends, and placed it on the bonfire. It was a pretty intensive process. Handling the flame and the hot apparatus was quite a task. After almost half an hour, he finally cracked open the charred bamboo and the air was filled with the smokey and woody aroma.
What better souvenir than taking back this authentic tribal recipe that I can cook and savour, anytime I wish to.
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