Long hour train journeys can be tiring but, fun too. You meet new people, share a few moments of your life, and spend hours watching the moving landscape. The never-ending banter of food vendors walking up and down the aisle, hawkers selling toys, locks, inflatable pillows. While some Indian train stations are popular for their regional special foods like Jhaalmuri from Howrah Junction, Kolkata, Poha from Ratlam Junction, Madhya Pradesh. Not many are fans of Railway food and prefer carrying food from home on the journey. Be it for yourself or fussy kids, food is an important aspect while travelling for a holiday with family. For some, it is a necessity - they might not eat outside due to religious reasons, or health concerns. For others, food is fun! A few hours or days without proper food takes a toll on them.
Rice is a staple food in Southern India. Apart from having Rasambhaat and Sambhar bhaat for a meal, they love tossing rice in aromatic ingredients and create delectable dishes like Lemon rice and tamarind rice (Puliyodare). Idli, Dosa and vada are loved not only in the South but, all over India equally. Even the remotest railway stations in South India has vendors carrying bamboo baskets loaded with idlis wrapped in banana leaves. A few rupees in your pocket will easily fetch you a wholesome meal of idlis dunked in a spoonful of til oil or ghee mixed with MilagaiPodi (Gun powder). Being fermented and steamed, idli is considered to be nutritious and safe. While idli is normally served with chutney and sambhar, while travelling it is customary to serve with dry chutney powders as one does not have to worry about leakage or spoilage. Ask any elderly women in Southern India how to make ‘travel dosa’ and they will share the secret with you. Unlike the thin, crisp dosas, while travelling ensure that you make them a little thicker and cook generously with oil, ghee or butter so they stay moist for a longer period of time. Cool them completely and wrap in banana leaves (or aluminium foil if you can’t get leaves), and store in an airtight container. Enjoy the dosas with dry chutney powders, or with tomato or onion pickle. Light dishes like upma also makes a great travel food. When preparing upma for travel, it is important to use oodles of oil to avoid turning it into a lump. Also, while packing if you feel it is turning lumpy then add melted oil/ghee and break them using the back of a spoon. Enjoy these soft foods with a side of crispy Yellow banana wafers.
Take some of these foods along when you travel. They will not only keep you hunger-free but also fill your heart with love from home!