Guest post: Dominic Sawyer visited India in April 2010. Based in the UK he is working with Mahindra Homestays on their website.
I recently had the pleasure of spending 10 days in Kerala staying at a number of Mahindra Homestays. I’ll be putting together a few posts with highlights of my trip and what better place to start than with the fantastic breakfasts on offer!
Food was served either in the host’s dining area (sometimes with family or other guests) or in a dedicated guest dining space. On one occasion it was no problem to have it served in my room, allowing myself and fellow guest to keep a close eye on an IPL cricket match on TV.
Always given the choice between a traditional breakfast and Western option I’m glad I always opted for the former. The perfect start to the day, dishes were always varied. Here are some of my favourite ones:
Puttu – Steamed rice powder and coconut flakes. Very light and perfect to mixing with the variety of accompaniment served alongside, usually kadala curry (chickpeas curry) or sambar (a form of vegetable stew). I really enjoyed it with banana, a combination I’d recommend for those not looking for a curry first up.
Dosa – This is a pancake made from rice and lentils which I often had stuffed with vegetables. Sunil’s mother at Ranger Woods in Munnar cooked up some delicious Masala Dosa (stuffed with spiced potatoes and spices) – perfect to set you up for a day exploring the plantations.
Idli – Very healthy savoury cake made by steaming black lentils with rice and served with sambar or other accompaniments. I enjoyed this at a couple of the homestays I visited, it makes for a good snack with chutney later in the day too.
Appam – Judith at Eden Garden cooked up particularly tasty Appam, a bowl shaped bread made of rice batter prepared on a stone griddle and served with a spicy condiment and vegetable stew. Other than the plain version they are also often cooked with egg, milk, honey or rice noodles.
Kadala – Delicious gravy curry made with black chickpeas. I usually had this with Puttu.
Sambar – Very popular vegetable stew dish that tasted very different in each homestay I visited. It’s usually served with idli at breakfast but Sambar was also regularly served as a side dish at dinner.
Returning home to the UK and having cereal and toast for breakfast is a far blander start to the day! I also didn’t realise how much time goes into preparing some of these dishes –idli requires the lentil and rice paste to be fermented over night.
I’ll be looking at my lunch and dinner experiences next, with a video of a homestay owner describing a lunchtime spread served up.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.