Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kohunlich - Mahahual, Mexico

I’m excited to join up again this month with fellow blogger Fiona Ryan's  A-Z Guidebook Travel Linkup over at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. This travel tale link-up goes from April 15th - April 22th, this time travels with the letter "K".

"K" is for Kohunlich, Mexico

A few years back my parents gave me a wonderful present, a trip I had been wanting to make for a very long time...a trip to see the Mayan pyramids. I went with my Dad and Aunt on a cruise which made stops at Cozumel and Mahahual. I was particularly excited to see The Temple of the Masks at Kohunlich, finally when the ship came in to port the three of us waited to be called for the tour. After waiting for an hour we found out they left without us, without an announcement or anything! I was fuming, they offered Dad a refund, but that wasn't going to be enough my Aunt and I went into "Organizer-mode." We managed to find a guy (who just so happened to be from NJ) who'd rent us a jeep and who gave us very brief directions and a hand drawn map on how to get to the site. So we crammed ourselves in, and off we went, down the back roads, past armed federales, sugar cane trucks, and small Mayan villages in search of Kohunlich. Finally after a few wrong turns, we made it to where the cohune palms grow and it was as breath taking as I imagined. Since it's well off the beaten path we were the only ones there. We had 3 hours to explore the very well preserved pyramids, courts, steles, and temples. 

The city was elaborately planned and engineered about 250 to 600 AD, with raised platforms and pyramids, courts and plazas surrounded with palace platforms, all laid out to channel rainwater into a system of cisterns and an enormous reservoir, a marvel of civil engineering. The visual masterpiece is 'The Temple of the Masks' which was built around 500 A.D. and is one of the oldest structures. Protected by the Terminal Classic style construction, and now palm thatched roofs, 5 of the original 8 masks have been preserved beautifully; intricately carved facial details and the paints used to color them still clearly visible. The temple is dedicated to the Yucatan Mayan Sun God, Kinich Ahau (K-inich Ajaw). He is often depicted as a middle-aged man with square eyes with stars in them. It's interesting to note that all the masks in the temple face west so that the sun sets directly on them. Legends say that Kinich Ahau travels down into the dangerous dark underworld of Xibalba (Shebal-ba) every night before rising the next morning. The way the masks are situated could be retelling his dangerous nightly journey, in hopes that he continues to make it and we continue to see the sun rise.

For more Letter "K" travel stories, visit A-Z Guidebook Linkup. Stay tuned next month for more travel, centering around the Letter "L"!
TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Monday, April 11, 2016

Corn & Cabbage Vada (Fritters)

Happy Ugadi! 

This past Friday (4/8) was Telugu New Year also known as Ugadi. It is usually celebrated with the reading of the New Years' almanac and traditional foods. You can read more about our previous years celebrations here: 2014, 2015.

This year, we celebrated Ugadi a little smaller than usual, since we both have been feeling under the weather. We had spicy tomato rasam, lemon rice, corn & cabbage vada, and of course a little Ugadi Pachadi.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Vada, to me they are delicious spicy vegetable doughnuts! Part of the reason I like making/eating Vada is because they are simple, quick, can be made with pretty much any vegetable and are filling. It's great as a snack or a side dish. These tasty ones have a hint of sweetness from the corn which balances the spice from the red onions and chilies nicely, while the cabbage gives them some extra crunch!

Here is my recipe for Corn and Cabbage Vada:

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