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Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: Recipes and Remembrances of a Vegetarian Legacy Paperback – March 4, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The purpose of this modest no-frills book is to place a region, its history, and its family and cultural heritages into a coherent context for understanding food. -- By Anne Mendelson in The New York Times, July 18, 2007

"Ammini guides you through Kerala's history and heritage, seasonal festivals, and irresistible varieties of precious recipes handed down from one generation to the next". -- My Workshop, March 26, 2007

"Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is the perfect kind of book to curl up with and experience Kerala cooking at its best." -- Indian Food Rocks, March 14, 2007

"Ramachandran has preserved the originality of her traditional family recipes, and made them accessible to those outside the tradition, without overwhelming the readers". -- Mahanandi, March 19, 2007

"This cookbook do justice to a very unique and sophisticated culinary tradition emerging from what was once considered the spice capital of the world". -- Jugalbandi, April 12, 2007

As experience shows, anything one makes following a recipe from this book is bound to turn out delicious - be it a deceptively simple potato stew or a medley of vegetables in the classic dish, aviyal. -- By Vidya Heble in India SE, Singapore, August 7, 2007

From the Back Cover

"Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is more than a cookbook-it is a collection of treasured memories and delicious family recipes presented against a backdrop of Indian culinary and cultural history. Augmented with an extensive bibliography, the book is also a wonderful guide to cooking with herbs and spices. A comprehensive glossary provides the origins and history of each grain and spice. Familiar with Western cooking methods, Ramachandran shows how to integrate these recipes into a Western-style menu and suggests ways for home cooks to expand their repertoire without having to create an entire menu of dishes. Culinary historians and home cooks alike will enjoy Ramachandran's treasured stories and recipes in Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts."
-Monica Bhide, Writer and Author of The Spice is Right & Everything Indian Cookbook

"Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is a labor of love . offering both mouth-watering recipes and a personal account of an ancient matrilineal culture. Highly educational yet approachable, this is a must-have for anyone interested in the food and customs of the Indian subcontinent."
-Suneeta Vaswani, Cooking School Teacher and Author of Easy Indian Cooking

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (March 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595409768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595409761
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading the book, "Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts".

What a fantastic treatise! Congratulations to the author on a superb job!!

This is not just a cookbook but a review of the transition of a way of living from the past to the present.

There is something fascinating about Kerala. They seem to maintain their traditions for a long time. Some activities (Harvesting the coconuts for example) are the same today as they were in year 1342 as described by Ibn Battuta. I always felt that if we want to go back and live few centuries back, one of the best ways we can do is to go to Kerala and stay in a remote village.

But for many in Kerala, the past few decades have brought the biggest change in their way of living. A society that lived a matrilineal way of life is changing to patriarchical. Joint families of 50 to 100 members living together have disappeared. Individual kingdoms are no more and their special kitchens are gone. Families have become global rather than local.

So we may feel a need to look at the past and review the shift in culture from the past to the present.

This book fulfils such a need. What a "delicious" way to "taste" the past through a cookbook from a person who has experienced the change, first hand. Author has done a magnificent job. Not only has she given us descriptions of festivals throughout the year, family functions, the typical food served at each occasion and their recipes but also the history behind some of the ingredients. What a treat!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Congratulations to the author.

K.R.Chandran
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Format: Paperback
This book is a great introduction to the myraid flavors of Southern Indian cuisine - which are simple and sublime.

The book focusses on Kerala and the author provides a fascinating background into the culture and customs of that state, immensely helpful to anyone new to its cuisine. I am from the South of India myself and can vouch for the authenticity and reliability of the recipes.

Ammini's voice is reassuring - introducing vegetables like telinga potatoes, ripe and unripe plaintains and breadfruit or teaching the basics of pillowy appams.

I have tried many of the recipes from the book and they are all keepers.

If you are interested in the culinary history of food of kerala, treat yourself to this book!!
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Format: Paperback
This is a really remarkable book, self-published and free of hype. There are no glitzy photographs of the food, which is a shame because I'll bet it's beautiful, but there is a pithy history of Kerala and then there are the recipes. They are exquisite, and the vibrant flavors of the food are conveyed by the author's enthusiastic descriptions. I'm not a vegetarian, but could live meatlessly and lusciously for weeks on these recipes. For vegetarians, this is a bonanza. The recipes range from relatively simple to complex, but none of them seem undoable in an American kitchen. The author has lived in America for a while, so she is familiar with the equipment and ingredients available here, and makes this cuisine approachable for us. Her notes are thorough and engaging, and well worth a read even if you don't plan to make that particular dish. If you have any interest in Indian cooking, or even if you don't want to cook it but enjoy reading about it, this is the best book on Indian cuisine that I've seen in a long time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had the manuscript in my hands way before the book ever went into production. And that was a thrill of a lifetime.

And today, I have bought a copy of the book for my sister. And now I have to think of others I can send it to. And I know there shall be many.

Congratulations Ammini!!!

Below is the foreword I wrote for the book... that should sum up everything in my words.

Suvir

Foreword

In this richly flavored book on the household cooking of Kerala and its many vegetarian marvels, Ammini Ramachandran takes us into a journey that even tour guides driving you through Kerala's many vistas would be unable to share. How fortunate and blessed I feel to be able to introduce and perpetuate this brilliance. These are recipes gathered over a long, heartfelt, and celebrated lifetime. That Ammini calls Dallas, Texas, her home should be no surprise; hers is a passion and respect for the native land that only someone living outside of it can have. Lucky for us!

I first met Ammini through online chat forums that I moderated and that she contributed to. Always generous, never one to take credit, she posted meticulous and detailed missives on the magic of her region's culinary traditions. I was smitten at reading her first post. The rest is history. Her works soon became the stuff of midnight yearning. When hungry for good food, and being lazy to cook or eat, I found myself sating my hunger with the aromas that wafted through the computer screen as I read her writing. How exciting it is to finally see her passion in print, enabling us to cook like her, live her history, and celebrate her Kerala.
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