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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

chip from childhood

To the whole world chips is made of potato popularly called  french fries ,fish and chips or KFC,Mcdi burgers  with fries or any self respecting fast food would have those yellow calorie filled addictives which any Gym instructor or dietitian would frown upon and swear as the worlds greatest evil but evil things are always tempting in life and so are chips .
But Kerala has always been different in everything ,the malayalee was known for frying anything that comes in his way  be it fish or banana or tapioca or even bitter gourd !
but to him the banana chips made out of nendrakaya either raw or ripe fried in pure coconut oil is unique .

To the purist chips lover it should be coconut oil or nothing else ,though these days in Kerala specially in southern and central parts palmolein and sunflower oils are used to fry them but the taste is definitely poorer .

Kozhikode or Calicut is the home of chips and another delicacy called halwa which was said to have traveled to kerala from the Arab countries during their maritime trading days or it may be the other way round as Oman was known for its halwa 
Chips centres in Calicut have existed for ages and have huge cauldrons of boiling oil where shirtless and sweating hairy men with curly hair and mustaches peel long fat bananas and slice them at times straight into the oil at times after  soaking them  in salt water with a pinch of turmeric to make them get their golden hues 
Buying chips involved a lot of tasting too as one could get handfuls as sample and my childhood hobby was to get samples from several shops and buying from none !
Slowly the trademark of Calicut chips started migrating to other places .
Ernakulam too had its own Malabar chips near south Railway station where there was always a big crowd of people with suitcases to pack them for their journeys in trains or  cars to airports too would stop there in the last minute
 I know as I always do this as chips is an excellent gift to give to your friends .
in The national highway to Palghat from Ernakulam once you reach Wadakancherry there is a huge line of chips shops though good it never met my standards of quality though the chips from Alathur SNR chips shop almost did .
chips is an importan item in all Sadyas or feasts of Kerala be it weddings or onam or vishu and there is a specific place for vartha upperi and sarkara upperi in the plantain leaf 
My childhood is  filled with the smell of chips !
Knowing my passion for chips my grandmother Karthiyayani amma would send for Chozhi our all time man friday 
"chozhi mon  ethi thaan poyi kuttiyappude kadennu kayavarthu vangigko
 ( our boy has come go get the chips )
my grandfather thampuran would mumble avende vayaru kolavum
 ( that means his stomach would be a mess )
I would wait for the brown paper bag to be delivered and would tear it open to feast on it and this would continue with grandma replenishing the stock as soon as  it got over
 luckily those days me being as thin as a reed
 ( unbelievable right )and nobody talked of dieting like now it was alright to do such things !

before we returned to Madras the big mansion  would smell of boiling jaggery and jack fruit for making jam and cashew nuts from our trees  fried to be packed for us along with ripe and unripe mangoes ,jackfruits sappotas and so many other things in sacks 

once we got into the Mangalore mail with all our sacks deposited by grinning faithfuls we would wave Parappangadi good bye but to me it was more expectation as I waited for Tirur just two stations away where my fathers relatives waited with packets of what else chips and halwa knowing me 
lovingly they would come to me calling Hari hari chips undu tto ( brought chips for you )

and so we would reach Madras with enough chips to start a small shop and I would jealously guard the yellow gold from my mother who had a large hearted penchant to donate it to our nosy neighbors who would barge in asking
 Hari chips enge ?( Hari where is the chips )
Even to this day whenever anyone from my family come from India the only thing I ask them to buy for me is a packet of my dear chips 
thsi chip from my childhood  came to me now  because I got a packet of chips from Philipines of all places !and a friend commented on my strange passion for what else CHIPS

( I acknowledge and thank for some  photos from online )

1 comment:

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Lovely to read this post and it took me back to childhood days when banana chips made from pure coconut oil was part of Vishu, Onam, sadya and all. We used to have everything made at home itself.

Btw, Happy Vishu to you, Hari uncle, Premila aunty, Sruthy and Shyam!

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