We certainly enjoyed a variety of curry and other dishes during our time in Chennai, India. This has a mild flavor and the coconut certainly compliments the shrimp. Because shrimp cooks so quickly, this is perfect dish for a weeknight meal.
We enjoy travel of all kinds, but some of our favorite trips have been ones that have pushed us out of our comfort zone. There can be many different factors that make a certain trip create a little more tension than other trips. It isn’t that we get nervous about the trip, it is more that we are more anxious prior to our arrival and typically we settle in as soon as we arrive and start our adventure. It could be due to the language barriers, differences in culture, or even safety concerns. Oddly enough, we probably seek out these trips more now than visiting some other traditional travel destinations that people go to, especially from the United States. In no particular order, these are some of the places that we have visited that caused us to be a little apprehensive.
Chennai in Southeast India – We have talked about this trip many times as it was the trip that changed the way that we wanted to explore the world. The experience was truly amazing and we saw so many different temples and learned as much as we could about the local culture. Whether buying silk in Kanchipuram or heading to the coast to visit the ancient temples of Mahabalipuram, the trip was very different than anything that we had done previously.
Cochabamba and La Paz in Bolivia – There were several things that made this one of the best trips we’ve ever taken to a destination that many people don’t consider. It was our first opportunity to stay at an ecolodge and explore part of the Amazon Rainforest, which we did from Cochabamba. After a week of memories in the heart of Bolivia, we then went to La Paz where we able to take a tour that took us to Tiwanaku and then off to Copacabana to see Sun and Moon Islands. The different things that we were able to see combined with the people that we met really made this trip stand out.
Vietnam and Laos – Although many people travel to Vietnam, going to Laos was certainly a unique experience. Just traveling half way around the world can make a trip a little nerve-racking even if we’d read a lot about the culture before arriving. Seeing Halong Bay and taking a couple of tours into the countryside of the Ninh Binh Province were definitely highlights. Going to Vientiane in Laos, though, was a completely different experience. Even though the two countries border each other, there is no denying that they are worlds apart in many ways.
Egypt – Although it is definitely a destination that has attracted many tourists throughout the past hundred years, but we went shortly after the political unrest that caused Western tourists to be a risk. Other than having to have a police escort to visit Cairo’s Old Town area, we certainly never experienced anything that would have caused us concerns. Whether touring Cairo or taking a cruise down the Nile River to visit Luxor and Aswan, it was certainly an incredible trip. As amazing as the pyramids are to see, we were certainly glad that we took the time to explore even more of the country.
Regardless whether you travel to a place that feels completely natural or to one that makes you see the world in a new light, all travel is rewarding. There have been other trips that have pushed us either culturally or in other ways, but these are some of our favorite travel memories.
Today we are featuring a post from our friends at A Global Affair who provide wonderful content on travel and delicious recipes.
Many moons ago, when my mom had to leave for India for an extended period of time to care for my grandfather, she wrote down a bunch of recipes of the staple, time honored dishes that my family from Kerala had served for generations in their kitchen. Before I had any money to buy any sort of cookbook, these recipes became my guidepost; a primer that ensured that I would carry on creating the tastes of my mother, grandmothers, aunts and more in my kitchen. Of course, in the rush to give me these recipes, mom sometimes missed writing exact quantities or an ingredient, but they were enough of a foundation to enable me to cook.
Beans Poduthol, also called as Thoran, is a simple dish of whatever veggies are on hand, some oil and spices and lots of freshly grated coconut. It is the kind of dish that is not only super yummy and healthy, but also makes me feel with every spoonful that all will be okay in this world.
A pound of beans, washed, destringed and cut into small pieces
A tbsp of oil (traditionally coconut oil is used)
A tsp of mustard seeds
A tsp of urad dal (skip if you don’t have this, it adds crunch)
One or two dried red chili pods broken
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 tsp cumin powder
Four tbsps freshly grated coconut
1. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the mustard seeds, urad dal (if using) and dried chilly pods. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the beans, turmeric powder, salt and cumin powder and toss well.
2. Cover and cook till the beans are cooked, yet crunchy (about 10-15 minutes).
3. Add the fresh coconut and toss a few times.
PS. You can prepare cabbage, spinach, carrots, and raw bananas in a similar fashion.