Tasting Chicken 65 in Periyar National Park

After choosing one from the Lonely Planet guide, I opted for a hotel at a reasonable price. The price is almost triple than the one mentioned in the guide. I say to the receptionist that it is too expensive. She tells me to wait and offers me the same rate but with breakfast included and unlimited internet access.

I can just as well afford it. I'm sick of filthy rooms and then there is the air conditioning. Since Pondicherry, I have only that word in my mouth. The hotel is super clean. Of course, I do not take long to discover that breakfast and internet were included in the price anyway.

Day 1

I get up at 6:45 am to visit Sri Meenakshi Temple, a huge complex, with lots of brightly painted gopurams, and pilgrims. I go early for 3 good reasons. The access is only barefoot and the sooner I go there the fewer people there will be. I also have to travel another 4 hours bus to Kumily. We finish the visit quickly. It is forbidden to enter the temple with a camera.

Once my visit is over, I return to the hotel and go back to the shower, put on my clean clothes and go to the bus station. The bus remin full almost the whole way. It did not stop me from enjoying the scenery and gloating inside the first mountains. These mountains amaze me and let me think that soon these pearls of sweat flowing along my spine will give way to chills of freshness.

I catch myself dreaming of being cold. There is no point in dreaming, as I was too hot. But, the temperature is finally bearable. It may be 32 degrees during the day, and miraculously the temperature went down to 23 degrees during the night. If I came here, it is not only for the mild weather but also for the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, its tigers, elephants, monkeys and everything. But that's for tomorrow!

Kumily is a village perched high on a mountain on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Having used public transport, the bus stopped me at the Tamil-side border. Kumily is especially a village dedicated to tourists who come to visit the Periyar National Park. There are mostly local tourists. The backpackers are few, but it seems that they have all made an appointment at the guest house that I target.

The manager recommend me the guest-house of his neighbor. We get a large room furnished in teak and a terrace with stone benches. I drop the bags on the bed and leave for a ride before dark. I head straight for the eco-centre which offers treks in the park. Being alone, the rate seem quite high. We can be up to 4 per group, but it's up to me to find the people and get paid by them.

The rate pains me and I turn my back on them. I will go hiking elsewhere. The vegetation is very different from that encountered until now. Coconut palms are counted on the fingers of one hand and replaced by banana trees, but especially spice plantations of cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and the choice is vast. This is reflected in the city by a multiplicity of specialized spice shops.

In fact Kumily has hotels, guest-houses, and spice shops and the linearity of the formula is sometimes interrupted by a small traditional grocery store or a seller of dried bananas. As the night comes, I prepare to go to dinner in one of the decent restaurants in the city. I relish the Chicken 65, pieces of chicken marinated with spices, and then fried. It is a pleasant new discovery.

There are countless stories about the name of this recipe. Some argue that the chicken must be 65 days old to reach the optimum flavor. Another explanation, which has more of legend than of reality, would be that the original recipe consisted of 65 ingredients. There is even a legend that says one have to prepare the recipe at least 65 times before one start to get it right.

Of all of them, the one that is most popular is the one that tells that the 65 refers to the year 1965, year in which the recipe could have been invented in the military kitchens of the soldiers who intervened in the war between India and Pakistan or in the kitchens of a hotel in the city of Chennai, in the southeast of India, where the dish is very popular.

In any case, whatever the story that gives rise to the name, chicken 65 looks delicious. The thighs are cut into bite-sized pieces and marinated in a mixture of ajinomoto, chili powder, cilantro, garlic-ginger paste, salt and pepper. The pieces are then passed through rice flour, cornstarch, sprinkled with more chili powder and fried. After frying, the pieces are sauteed in a yogurt sauce with spices.

I'm tired tonight, so I go to bed soon. It seems like there's a party somewhere. Songs that look very traditional fill the evening air, interspersed with dialogues through powerful speakers. It is difficult to sleep till it's 2:00 in the morning when a mosquito start sizzling in my ears. This is another noise that prevents me from sleeping.

I turn on the light and I can see the huge bites on my legs. All to my delight to be able to benefit from a little cool night, I spread out on the sheets! I retaliate with anti-mosquito repellent and I turn off the light. As soon as I turn on it disappears, and as soon as I switch off the light it comes to tickle my ears!

Having failed to make the sneaky creature vanish, at 3:00 am, I definitively abandon the game. I slip into my bag and I put on a sweatshirt, which is thicker for what I have at night. As it has a hood, I cover my ears to try to stop hearing the little monster but without much success. It was really good this little night in the sauna.

Tasting Chicken 65 recipe

Day 2

As yesterday, I gave up the organized tiger safari, I still need to make it up, and the idea of ​​walking in the park tempts me. There is a 3 km walk to the lake, a major tourist attraction. It seems that the locals are rushing en masse into old rafts to circle the lake, hoping to see some animals. I think it's average, knowing the decibel levels needed for a local to feel safe.

Moreover, as soon as I the enter the park, I am greeted with fanfare of speakers who spit music that is heard till 1 km. The sound was still too loud when I passed in front of the speakers. On the way, I am overwhelmed by bicycles, rickshaws, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. They all rush to the pier for the last scheduled departure in 45 minutes. My tranquility is not really assured and I frankly doubt to see anything. And yet, I crossed what I would call a doe.

I arrive at the jetty too. Before that I had to cross the armored parking of vehicles of all kinds and the macaques. It's been a long time. I watch the old bastard take charge, without regret. There, I get caught by a student in tourism who has a small questionnaire to fill me. It's not as if I had an appointment, so I fill it in her little questionnaire of 120 questions on 5 pages!

In addition, it only covers Kerala, where I arrived the day before. I do not have much to answer. The park closing is at 17:00, and knowing that it is 15:30, I restart in the other direction. There, I meet a new variety of monkey, much more flaccid than his cousins. This is the problem of discovering nature without a guide. I do not learn much.

This 6km will still have allowed me to breathe something other than the smoke of auto rickshaw and enjoy a momentary silence, which here is priceless. On my way to the only bar in the city that serves very cold beers, I came across a dance ceremony in front of a temple. Four porters make two flower-covered puffs dance while two men blow up in the air and spin palanquins to the sound of percussion.

It looks like it's a local New Year day. I stopped for a moment to look at them and ran to the nearest bar to have beer. All invigorated by these adventures, I indulge in a new culinary discovery of the chicken lollipop. It is actually chicken cubes marinated in spices and fried.

Minto Ultramintz

The Ultramintz candy took me to childhood. I remember that mom bought very often when I was small, from the local stores stored in large containers and sold loose. Ultramintz is a classic candy mint, which is so tiny and feel so tremendously cool and is pleasant and little strong, therefore suitable for those who already love the taste of mint, but do not like the mild taste that some guys do with excellent taste, that dissolves slowly in your mouth like candy, being delicious and being sugar-free is one more in addition.

These finest powerful candies are produced by the ITC mint-O, one of the top mint products, made by a company that has a decade of experience in the confectionery production. In fact, the flavour is very pleasant and very sweet. Forget the candy mints that makes you open your nose if you are cooled, in fact, this one is more like the aroma of mint suitable for maintaining good hygiene of the mouth and throat and to get a always fresh breath.

These cool mouth freshener candies are certainly less sweet, with a strong flavour of fresh mint, which while feeling, does not invade the mouth, and it's best to wait until it melts in your mouth. Surely the blend of herbs is very healthy and has no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours with its scrumptiously nippy feel and icy sense that lasts makes you feel great.

They are suitable for children, and are useful for little discomforts in the throat, because they can to alleviate it slightly. This type of candy I use it when I have a sore throat, because they help relieve nagging pain in a more determined manner compared to other ones. But in any case are not suitable for those people who do not like the candy mint too mild.

Among other things, it manages to maintain fresh breath for some time. The ingredients used are menthol, specialty cooling compounds, peppermint oil extract, sorbitol, magnesium stearate and sucralose. Therefore, taking into account the smallness of these ingredients, we can also detect the nutritional intake, with little calories due to the absence of sugar.

These candies are readily available, travel friendly, and ideal which I found in several stores. Each box contains roughly 60 balls thus you are fine to set off for about a month without worrying to stock up.

Anyway, you can buy them in special boxes which contain quite a few and each candy box is individually wrapped with distinct packaging which I always carry some in my pockets.

Ultramintz, in conclusion is a great product that does not hurt and are incredibly cool to show off with your buddies as well that also gives a breath that’s unrivalled, so go for it and stay fresh and calm, forever!

Experience the True Taste of Sheer Khurma

Khurma is an Indian sweet dish that can be prepared as a dessert or as a main course of a meal. This recipe varies so much that you can refer to a pastry or a mixture of stew like me from sweetened milk, dates, spices, vegetables and sometimes. The pasta is almost always served hot, but sweet khurma stew can be eaten hot or cold. These dishes are especially popular on holidays and can also be served to guests of honor. Sheer khurma stew usually contains some type of pasta, and is often sweet, salty, spicy and all at once.

Most types of khurma starting pastry with approximately 5 parts flour and 0.25 part butter or clarified butter. The flour can be whole wheat, or Atta, flour, although some chefs prefer to use 4 parts of Atta flour and a white part, or Maida flour. Ghee is generally very soft, which makes it relatively easy to mix with flour to make a very dense and hard paste. Oil, such as olive or peanut, is usually heated in a skillet and shallow khurma patisserie are added into it. The pasta chips until they are golden brown and swollen.

Sheer Khurma Recipe images

The cook usually makes a simple syrup, called chasni, from about 2 parts of sugar and 1 part of water. The two are boiled together until the sugar dissolves. The chasni Then pour over the hot, drained pasta. Desserts are left to cool down a bit till Chasni syrup cools and turns into a white glaze. Cakes are finished then serve immediately - some cooks compare this dish to American donuts.

The second type of khurma, the sweet stew, is usually finished with about four actions of milk. The milk can be dairy or non-dairy products, depending on the preferences of the cook. Any non-dairy milk can be used, but coconut milk is the traditional Indian food. The dish usually starts with some large spoonfuls of ghee at the bottom of a hot pan. Pieces of broken pasta dish, such as noodles, are cooked with butter and fried until golden brown.

Other ingredients are then added to the fried dough. Nutri- ingredients include dates, raisins, walnuts, saffron, almonds and cardamom seeds. When heated, the milk is added and the sugar is stirred at will. Cooks who make the khurma plant can also enjoy ding peas, peppers, garlic and onion to the mix.

Love and Vodka in a Van through Mongolia

Days go by in our van in Mongolia. We are in the Mongolian backcountry right now in the vicinity of Kharkhorin. This morning, it's cleaning up in the van. It must be said that it needed it! We almost got everything out. There are duvets, mattresses, cushions, provisions, wood for fire but originally, the goal was not at all to make storage.

It all started last night. We just went to bed when I suddenly got up. It's been several nights that we have nothing to drink, and all of a sudden, I remember that there must be a bottle of vodka somewhere. And here I am at 11 o'clock in the evening rummaging through the van in search of this bloody bottle.

But what fly stung me? I assure you, it is not at all alcohol. But tonight, I cannot sleep, and it is absolutely necessary that I find this bottle. Unable to put my hand on it, I fall back on a firecracker. And here I am rolling a seal sitting on my bed.

And that's how we find ourselves the next morning to get out of the van to get our hands on this famous bottle that we will not find elsewhere. But at least, it allows us to inventory the provisions we have left. Not much, but luckily we come across old pots of tomato sauce and even a box of candies! Awesome! We'll have to redo some shopping soon.

We are far from starving but we lack what to embellish the ordinary. We have no more water either. So we need to draw water from the river and boil it. Our epic through the Mongolian steppes continues. Our goal of the day is to reach the city of Khujirt to go to enjoy its hot springs and spa! Yes, you read correctly. There is a spa! Is it worth mentioning that since we left Ulaanbaatar, we still have not showered! Yes!

Fortunately, we enjoyed a sunny morning to wash in the river. But it was already last Monday. And we had not washed our hair. I'm not far from the dreadlocks. So much to tell you, that a good shower in a spa, makes us fantasize like crazy in the van! But already if there is a pool of hot water, it will be enough to our happiness.

The road is very bad, with lots of stones on the way and it is difficult to drive. And the weather is deteriorating more and more. Wind and rain give way to snow squalls. I begin to worry about the evolution of the situation. If the snow continues to fall, I fear that we will be stuck because the roads will no longer be passable.

We ended up arriving all the same in Khujirt and we park in front of the spa! There is a glimmer of hope but soon showered with bad news. The weather forecast is very bad and I prefer to leave immediately, for fear of getting stuck here. Oh what a disappointment! I am disgusted, but hey,

Fortunately, we can still catch up a little the same evening. We are back in Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of Mongolia. And there are public showers! Well, it's just a trickle of water at a temperature a little random to adjust. What a pleasure to feel clean again, with the hair washed and disentangled and more!

We were able to refuel in the market where I bought unpeeled pine nuts and the Mongolian vodka flows freely inside the van. I'm freaking out, and we're not alcoholics anyway! We return to park in front of the cemetery where we woke up by chance the other day, because we loved this place. It's not at all morbid, just magical and incredibly calm. The night is cold with the snowflakes still falling, and we make love inside in the warmth.

Day 2

After a nice day of sightseeing in Kharkhorin, and a campfire evening in the steppes, we continue our way back to Ulaanbaatar. In the middle of a path, I take the opportunity to make a stop of a kind a little peculiar. I see that we are in a whole field of wild marijuana. Oh good? I must admit, I do not know what it looks like.

I never got a green thumb, and gardening is not my thing. And here I am drawing out my GPS and notebook and carefully note the geographical coordinates of the place! And here we go again, with some extra provisions aboard the van! We will arrive in Ulaanbaatar the next day. Our Mongol adventure is over. We head to China now!