Cooking up in Cochin

Our itinerary for the second day in Fort Cochin was much more relaxed and after a lovely breakfast in the hotel Vaiju collected us at 11.30 to take us to our cookery lesson. We drove out along the Beach Road and gradually the houses along here got smarter and smarter. Eventually our driver found the right house which said on the outside that it belonged to Nimmy and Paul. It’s funny, lots of the nice houses here have the owners names outside and I can tell you that Shiny Mathew (MP) has one of the finest houses in Fort Cochin!
So Nimmy is an Indian lady, she was 57 and very slim and sophisticated looking. She welcomed us into her home and kitchen and explained that we were going to make four dishes today, two vegetable and two fish dishes. She gave us a little booklet with several recipes printed in there including these.
Then we got to work, heating the oil in clay pots over a gas ring and then frying things off . All of the chopping had been done by her two assistants who worked outside in the huge extended kitchen area.
The dishes we cooked were
1. Meenmolee (Kingfish in coconut milk)
2. Thoren (vegetable stir fry in fresh coconut)
3. Mezukuperatty (vegetable stir fried in garlic seasoning)
4. Prawn Ularthu (sautéed prawns)
It was all quite easy and Nimmy did a lot of the work , we just tickled the pan every now and then! The aromas were incredible and it was nice chatting to Nimmy about her 13 years running the cookery classes.
After our time slaving in the hot kitchen we got to sit outside on her lovely patio and eat the food which was then served to us. It was all delicious although I have to say the prawns were my favourite. This was only the second time in my life that I have eaten prawns and both this year in cookery classes!
We got on very well with Nimmy who was interested in us and also told us about her family. I must admit it was a bit disconcerting though when she asked what jobs we both did. Jane explained she worked for the Legal Ombudsman and got a respectful nod. But when I explained that I was a banker she seemed to audibly let out a snort. Rude.
Before we left we met her husband Paul , a retired stockbroker, he was very nice too and we were by now getting on famously. Nimmy admired both my flip flops and my Fitbit and she immediately got in touch with her son in Singapore to ask him to get her one. Just before we left she told us she’d let us into a secret. She was a little tired today because she’d been sleeping very deeply when her husband woke her up at 6am. She wasn’t ready to be woken up so she told us she hit him and told him he was a ‘terrible dirty old man’. This made us snort out loud too!
With that we were back into the car and back to the hotel.
After a short rest we were then on the go again. We set off in the car the very short distance to the harbour by the Chinese fishing nets where we were to catch our harbour cruise boat. It was very busy around here but Vaiju lead us through to the front where lots of people were waiting for a ferry. We marched right through and our boat was waiting for us. And just us! We sat on the plastic chairs on the top and off we went. The cruise takes place around the big lake area and we had a chap who explained everything to us. The only slight problem was that Jane couldn’t understand anything he was saying so this left me trying to pay attention. And I could only understand one in twenty words. It went something like this……mnar, mnar , mnar 360 rupees for a coffee, mnar mnar mnar 650 thousand rupees, Government building (rubbish), private building (v good). So I can’t say we came back particularly well informed. But it was rather lovely seeing both old Cochin, new Cochin (lots of tower blocks going up fast) and then our favourite bit- the fishing harbour where the colours and reflections were amazing.
We got lots of friendly waves and ‘hellos’ from the other boats we passed as well as the fishermen as we watched the sun go down. As we approach our get-off-point we were told to put on the life jackets that we’d been given at the start (and which until this point, had sat on the chairs beside us).This was so that we could go across the channel back to the harbour. It did get a bit choppy so it was a really convenient place for the Police boat to pull alongside us and ask to see the boats captain’s papers. We sat on our plastic chairs holding tightly onto our life vests and tried not to look too guilty for not wearing them earlier. After a bit of bumping of the two boats all was good and even the Police went on their way with a wave.
It was a very good trip and afterwards we went back to our hotel and made use of the wine and beer lounge again and had some tapas at the bar. What a great day.

 

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