Being in your hometown ensures several pleasant perks. Besides staying with family and roaming with friends, we can savour the best of food that we love in our hometowns. Reminiscing the nostalgic moments would certainly have special flavours too. When you are staying away from your hometown you are bound to miss a lot – much more so if you are away from your home country. Some food items, some tastes are peculiar to some places especially the crunchy snacks from Kerala – my hometown. Shifting the place means missing these special flavours.
Okay, everything is available everywhere. It doesn't matter how many miles away you are from your hometown; your favourites are a phone call away. They will provide it all well wrapped and preserved. Yet, we know irrespective of the looks and presentation, there is something missing. We all may have memories of delicacies we craved for and enjoyed as children. And we may still be enjoying them. They may not be colourfully presented or beautifully wrapped. But certainly, they are tasty and crunchy snacks we loved. Munching on them at the right ambience makes it all the flavoursome.
And here are five crunchy snacks from Kerala: Cheeda, Achappam, Kozhalappam, Unda and Tapioca chips. As children, all these crunchy snacks used to adorn our evening tea table. You munch on them on and on and yet not feel bored or guilty.
During my holidays back home, I happened to visit my grandma's home where they prepare all these items. The Thaliyan's food products are popular in the vicinity and beyond.
They are sweet, small, and one of the best crunchy snacks from Kerala. Slightly akin to Cavatappi pasta in terms of size and shape, it is made of rice powder. Basic Ingredients include rice flour, grated coconut, sesame seeds, sugar, and coconut oil to sauté. The roasted rice powder and grated coconut, along with other spices are blended to make the batter. From the batter, small balls are made which is rolled over gripped designs for the best outcome. Using fork or banana leaf stem, the designs can easily be made. The small rolled pieces are then fried in the oil. After which they are kept to cool down. You may enjoy them right away. But then the usual cheeda recipe is complete only when they are coated with sugar. So, the cheedas are dipped in melted sugar liquid. Now, it is all sweet and tasty to snack on. You can also do away with sugar and try spicy flavours instead. Either way these crunchy snacks you would love any day.
Another sweet and one of the popular crunchy snacks from Kerala is Achappam. Most of the basic ingredients and batter remain the same as for cheeda. But in addition, coconut milk and eggs are added in Achappam among other spices. Mixing all these a semi-liquid batter is prepared. A specially shaped mould is required to complete the process. The mould is dipped in the batter and then into the boiling oil. The crispy Achappam then is sugar-coated before enjoying them. The sugar-coated and non-sugary versions are equally sought after by snacks lovers. The delicately unique shape and taste will tempt you to ask for more and more. On special occasions in Kerala, this crunchy snack is a must.
This is another one of the tasty crunchy snacks from Kerala, made of similar ingredients. The additions being shallot and cumin mostly and the batter has a slightly different flavour. Rice powder, grated coconut and other ingredients are blended well to make the dough. It is then rolled into long circle pieces. It is then wrapped around an oil-greased rod to attain the desired shape. After sliding it from the rod, it is deep-fried until golden brown in coconut oil. Keep it to cool down and strain the excess oil before enjoying them. The longer, non-sugar coated version is the traditional Kuzhalappam. Since not sweet, it is not so popular among the children and those with a sweet tooth. Never mind. There are mini versions available now. And guess what, they are sugar coated!
Laddu is a common sweet item seen all over India. A similar shaped and sized snack is unda. Comparatively this tasty snack is actually less sweet and healthier. Since it is made basically from rice flour, grated coconut with spices and jaggery, it has a special taste. It is easy to make and is enjoyed by everyone thanks to its appealing flavour. Unlike the above mentioned snacks, unda is not an oil-fry item making it more popular. The flour is mixed well with a combination of jaggery syrup and the scraped coconut. The whole mixture then is rolled into small balls. With a cup of tea/coffee, you are sure to savour the taste. Just note that the shelf life of unda is limited. Unlike the fried snacks, unda can be spoiled quickly. So enjoy them while they are still fresh.
Thinking of an alternative to potato chips? You have a tasty option in tapioca chips. The finely sliced and spices mixed tapioca is a tasty combination with your evening tea/coffee. A hassle-free preparation process leaves you with amazing result. Peeled fresh tapioca is boiled and dried well before it is sliced nicely. You may slice them into round or square or finger chip shapes. After which fry them in boiling coconut oil until light brown and crispy. Keep it in a napkin to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle salt and spices as per your liking. Time to enjoy one of the hottest and crunchy snacks from Kerala.
Before the winter wanes, do enjoy these crunchy snacks from Kerala.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers