When in Cochin, we took an overnight trip on a houseboat from Alleppey (Alapuzha). It was a 60 km drive to Finishing Point. This is the place where the Jawaharlal Nehru Snake Boat Race finishes. We were three families and had hired a two-bedroom houseboat with extra beds. We boarded the boat just in time for lunch, though you can get on as early as 11.30 (hehehe talk about being strategic). The price of the boat includes, lunch, dinner, snacks and the next day's breakfast. In addition to the food they served, we stopped at a backwater toddy shop, picked up some fresh toddy as well as some extra food. We also bought some great tiger prawns for dinner. Here is the lowdown on what we ate.
There was the ever famous kari-meen, fried to crisp perfection. The masala here was much drier and thinly laid on than what we had at Catch and Cook. This made the outer layer crisp and the fish soft on the inside.
Beans sukka, kerala style
Olan - a Kerala style vegetables in coconut
A really yummy shredded cabbage dish
Boiled rice - the white variety
Kappa - Tapioca - this is one of the dishes along with the fish curry (below) that was picked up from the toddy shop. A typically Kerala dish and one that is bowl licking good. These are the kind of dishes that allow you to put dining etiquette in the dustbin for a while.
Cockles - though tasty, I really missed on having to scoop the bits of flesh from the shells. This was already done and was tossed with chilli, garam masala and chips of coconut. This too was from the toddy shop.
A nice and homely vegetable sambhar
This was a chilli beef from the toddy shop. The meat was a bit tough and the masala raw, but apparently that's the way to best enjoy this when sipping on toddy.
This is what the houseboat cooks did to the prawns. The cracked them from head to tail down the center. Passed a skewer through them, marinated it in masala and then roasted them. The result was fabulous. Since they were split open already, we could scoop out the meat easily and since it was grilled, the shell was nice, crisp and great to nibble on... in the end, we were left with just the heads. There was also a simple salad and some papads to nibble on.
All of this great food was had with toddy in the afternoon, though I personally don't like the taste of toddy. In the evening there was red wine and Glenfiddich... couple this with absolutely pristine greenery and water all around and you can beat any restaurant in terms of ambiance and quality. Evening snacks was banana fritters and coffee/tea. The next morning was omelettes with idlis and sambhar. This again was served on the ride back to Finishing Point and what a wonderful way to end the trip.