Roy, Deepa & Namita
During a recent trip to Kerala my husband and I were invited to spend some time with the Jacob family. Roy, Deepa and one of their daughters, Namita, who was home from college.
Roy, Deepa and Namita live in Cherthala in the district of Alappuza in a beautiful traditional Keralan house surrounded by stunning gardens where they grow their own organic vegetables, herbs, spices and have an amazing aquaponics system.
We were invited to enjoy lunch with the Jacobs, which given I how much I love Indian food was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. We were welcomed with a delicious glass of freshly squeezed passion fruit juice and then were shown around their gardens by Roy and we got to taste herbs, spices and other vegetables we had never had so fresh before, Bay leaves, cinnamon bark, beans, ivy gourd a small green vegetable similar to a tiny cucumber. Every year they plant bananas, plantain, passion fruit, papaya, ivy gourd and they have various types of mango trees. I did embarrass myself however, when despite loving spice, I couldn’t handle the heat from a simple peppercorn.
Inside the house Deepa and Namita were preparing an absoloutely amazing feast. We had a starter of crumb lakefish (kaalaanchi) which I’m salivating about as I type, followed by…
Mutton stew with appam (hoppers)
Pearlspot a type of fish native to south India and Sri Lanka
Roast prawns (Chemmeen ularth)
Yard long beans (Achinga Ularth)
Ivy gourd (Kovakka fry)
Papaya with grated coconut (Kappalanga Thoran)
Spiced Yogurt and Coconut Curry with Ash Cucumber (Pulisserri with Kumbalanga)
And for dessert we had Semiya Paayasam (Vermicelli).
Words cannot describe how delicious this meal was. The flavours were beautifully balanced, it was comforting and luxurious and such a treat. Deepa invited me to watch her while she was making the appam and I helped by eating as many as possible. The best hoppers I have ever had.
Luckily the Jacobs get to eat most of their meals together during the week, which is such a treat. On Sundays they often prepare appam and sometimes they’ll enjoy chicken biryani. They often prepare special meals for religious festivals like Christmas and Easter and also have typical Keralan vegetarian meals called the Sadhya (which are served on a banana leaf) on the day of Onam, a state festival, celebrated in August and September.
This was such a treat to experience. Thank you so much Roy, Deepa and Namita!