The winds may be wild, the sea turbulent, and the mood sullen. The tragic spillover of the recent floods has its their mark all around. But there's a certain serenity as one walks down the beach in Kozhikode or turns to the streets of the place. Kozhikode has weathered several storms over the centuries and has survived.
As one jaywalks down the beach, the first building that comes up prominently in sight is the general hospital also known as the Beach Hospital surrounded by bright red gulmohar trees. The structure is vintage British, with wide windows opening out to the sea.
The next landmark is the Akashvani house and then on to the Corporation building. Dotting the beach-line are innumerable bunk shops frying and selling anything from clams to roasted peanuts. But there's quite another attraction of a sort here.
Ah! There they stand – those ice vendors – the 'ice urathikkar.'
For the uninitiated, that's the ice urathi or scraped ice. A relatively recent entry into Kozhikode's historic foodscape, ice urathi is not more than three decades old. But it's sinfully delicious and claims to be a Kozhikode special as depicted in several Malayalam movies.
If ice urathi is not quite the name you would choose to call it by, how about yelling for 'ice achar?'
Ice urathi or the quaint achar has a blend of everything contradictory. It's sweet and sour, hot and cold, spicy and sugary to say the least. But it's a taste bomb.
Different types of achars or pickles are mixed together and thrown within scraped out ice. Another heady combination is a mix of scraped ice, nannari (sarasaparilla) serbet, fruit pulp, peanuts, and other stuff which is what makes ice urathi sweet.
Almost all the hotels by the beach serve ice urathi. The scraped ice that falls into the glass is covered in a shower of meetha paan, saffron, peanuts, cashew nuts, and other sweet-savouries and this is what's sold at Adam's Chayakkada by the beach.