Ever since I moved away from Kottayam, I've had intermittent cravings for traditional Kerala food, which is absolutely impossible to come by unless you know Malayalees in the city. A magazine here suggested a Keralan restaurant in INA Market, but when I went there, they were serving roti, biryani...nary a shred of coconut in sight! Needless to say, I refused to patronize the place. Anyhow, I'm babbling about this because the Kerala shack at Dilli Haat is the only place I've been able to find puttu kadala, a great breakfast food that is sort of a log of rice flour and shreds of coconut, served with spicy garbanzo bean stew. It is nowhere near as good as that served at the school where I worked, but you take what you can get.
Anyhow, S and I hit up the old DH this weekend and made a beeline for the food; discouraged by the sleeping workers at the Kerala stall (granted, it was only 11 a.m.), we decided to try the cuisine of Chhatisgarh. And let me say -- most excellent. We had paranthas and bhindi masala (fresh, fresh, fresh and piping hot), but the piece de resistance was uncontestably kokam, or, as the menu described, "tribes drink." God only knows what was in it -- it was red, cold, and had a taste I couldn't quite put my finger on -- but I don't care. Delicious. They also had great bamboo tables, magazines about the state, and our server insisted we take a map. Three thumbs up.