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Savoring the Spice Coast of India: Fresh Flavors from Kerala Hardcover – August 1, 2000

27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

This comprehensive introduction to the use of many rich and flavorful spices--including cardamom, black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon--takes readers beyond usual notions of Indian cooking. When combined with meats, fruits, and vegetables--especially in dry curries and rice dishes--such spices will leave anyone who has enjoyed Indian cuisine with a new appreciation for the unique southern style of cooking. A must-read preface provides a colorful description of the region and a historical overview of the state of Kerala, a center for the spice trade located on the southwest coast. More winning, the chapter features compelling background and autobiographical information about the author, her family, and her roots in Kerala. While the recipes, collected from many trips to the region and time spent in the kitchens of Indian relatives and friends, are full of exotic spices and vegetables, Kaimal offers alternatives to some of the unusual ingredients that may be difficult to find in the typical grocery store. Sourdough Crêpes with Potato Masala, Sweet Green Mango Chutney, Spicy Beef Curry, and even Christmas Cake are just a few samples of the variety. For those interested in traditional Indian cooking, this is both a rich source of history and a thorough introduction to the southern Indian palate. --Teresa Simanton

From Publishers Weekly

With northern India's Moghul cuisine now a culinary mainstay in the U.S., Kaimal (Curried Favors) returns to her ancestral homeland on the southwestern edge of the country, where a greater emphasis is placed on ingredients such as coconut, tamarind, brown mustard seeds and curry leaves. (These last are so important that Kaimal even provides a source for curry leaf plants.) Bold flavors are relished in Kerala, even at breakfast, which usually includes Sourdough Crepes or Sourdough Dumplings made with a slightly fermented batter. The primary meal of the day, explains Kaimal, consists of rice, a dry vegetable curry, a wet vegetable curry, a dhal, as well as a dish of fish, poultry or meat, and she provides intriguing examples of each. Beets with Coconut assembles a unique combination of flavors, while Fried Bitter Gourd in Yogurt Sauce celebrates the strong taste of this unusual produce. Eight different dhals are offered, and entr?es are as varied and inviting as Stuffed Fish with Sweet and Spicy Masala (masala is simply a spice mixture), Peppery Chicken Curry, Shrimp Biriyani (a casserole with rice) and the ever-popular Lamb Vindaloo, this original version tempered with minced golden raisins. Rice, breads and chutneys also add welcome infusions of taste. This is an immensely appealing book for anyone wishing to expand an Indian repertoire.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060192577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060192570
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Leslie D. Ehrlich on December 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book features the cuisine of southwest India, a region whose cuisine is very different from the brown glop Americans think of as Indian food. The food is very varied and very fresh, featuring lots of vegetables and legumes with subtle gradations in spicing. It's a pleasure to make and a pleasure to eat. And it makes terrific party buffet food.
That having been said, this book is not as effective as the author's other book, Curried Favors.
The introduction is wonderful. The author goes back to the India, weaving together explanations of the origins of the cuisine and its various influences with portraits of her family and how they taught her to cook it. This section is delightful. You come away much wiser and yet feeling as if you've been immersed in her culture and embraced by her family.
But the recipes themselves could be a little better. It's not that the results aren't terrific. They are. But the recipes lack the perfect clarity and sequencing of Curried Favors, where the ingredients list is set up to facilitate prep and the instructions lead you confidently through to a successful conclusion. Sometimes it takes an extra reading or two to figure out how to line up your prep or how the dish will be put together. If you're patient and read again you'll be just fine, but if you started with the other book you'll be a little frustrated that this one isn't just as wonderful.
Net net -- if you're looking for your first Indian cookbook, buy Curried Favors over any other book -- including Madhur Jaffrey, by the way. If you love Curried Favors, you can buy this one as a supplement. But you'll still reach for Curried Favors first.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those cookbooks where every one of the recipes I've tried so far have turned out well and tasted delicious. This is one of my big considerations when judging the quality of a cookbook. I've probably tried a dozen recipes so far (such as Shrimp in Tamarind Sauce, Thoor Dal with Onions and Tomatoes, Tomato and Cucmber Pachadi, Fried Bananas . . . ) All have tasted great. Nice pictures, good introduction to planning menus, ingredients, and cooking. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in South Indian cuisine (which, by the way is different from the more popular north Indian cuisine found in most Indian restaurants - much lighter I think).
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After I saw this authoress on a daytime show, I had to have this exquisite cookbook. Over 110 recipes of ultimate flavors and colors--a kaleidoscope of adventures from Maya Kaimal's homeland. I think that is what makes this easy to follow page turner special, her up close and personal touches from her relatives own kitchens. She also compares her Hindu background of cooking with Christianity and Muslim dishes from the same region.
The photographs of India and the completed dishes are mouth watering. I have never been one to curry favor for curried flavors! Yet, these snacks and meals are of a lighter fare. I made Spinach Theron first--with coconut, cumin, and tumeric. And found even my non-veggie teens loved it.
I highly recommend this spicy book. Just shopping for the ingredients is an adventure...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Wallis Davenport on October 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We just love this cookbook! We enjoy Indian food but primarily have tried food from Northern Indian provinces, such as from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks, so were unsure what to expect from the Kerala region. Kaimal delivers with awesome recipes for full-flavored filling dishes that are easy-to-prepare. Most of the recipes rely heavily on coconut for flavor as well as a host of other spices and are simply irresistible.
What I really love about the cookbook is that she divides the recipe into parts and often mentions that you can prepare up to a certain part in advance so that there's less of a rush at the end. In addition, each recipe has a preparation time, which has always been accurate. Most recipes take between 35 minutes to 1 hour to prepare and use ingredients you can find at any supermarket. As for the unusual ingredients, such as curry leaves - she gives a thorough resources page for mail order so and also gives tips on how to store them to keep them as long as possible in your freezer.
We've tried over 50 recipes in Savoring the Spice Coast of India, and EVERY ONE has been truly delicious. There is a wealth of both vegetarian and meat dishes, and also side and dessert dishes so you can have a really balanced meal. Highly recommended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is absolutely the best cookbook I have bought in years. Not only are the recipes easy to follow, once you stock your pantry with a few key ingredients (unsweetened coconut, curry leaves, coriander, and chilis) most of the other items will be in there already. Every single thing I have made has turned out great -- chickpeas with onion, fish in fragrant coconut milk, tomato onion fry -- and with very little preparation or shopping time. Two of us preparted a three course meal straight out of the book in a little over an hour.
Beyond the content of the recipes, the book itself is well written and contains georgeous photos of South India. If you are looking for a tasty yet simple approach to the cusine of India, this is your book.
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