OK, I’ll admit it: I was wrong, dead wrong. Happy? Seems that Kerala, the most Christian, most educated (90% literacy, as noted), most developed, and so on, well, when I said that it was also the state that looked down on alcohol, I could not have been more mistaken.
According to the Rough Guide on Kerala, this state has the highest alcohol consumption in all of India. Further, the state-owned liquor stores, which control the trade, sell so much booze that revenues of these sales account for a whopping 40% of the entire state budget! Yikes!
Not wanting to be left out, I bought what I felt to be the obligatory two bottles of Blue Riband gin. At 300 rupees per liter sized bottle, I was set back about $13.
On the way back from the store, I asked our tuk-tuk driver to stop in at a small grocery. There I bought 1 kilo of taro chips, deep fried then and there, for 100 rupees. If the rest of the chips taste as good as the sample, wow. Wow, I say, wow. This is how fast food got started.
On a slower note: Last night I asked for and got a vindaloo. Aloo, as we all know, means “potato,” in Hindi, is stewed with onions, long dried red chili peppers, garlic, and with a meat, be it chicken or lamb. Mine was chicken. Cooking this at home is a lengthy process, and I’ve never had a good version in the States–there the meat is drowned by huge amounts of ghee-infused sauce and bottled hot sauce. But the version last night, a good replica of what’s served north of here in Goa and thereabouts, was refined and rustic at the same time. It’s a throwback to Portugal and the old days of the spice trade and long nights probably made shorter with gin.