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Savoring the Spice Coast of India: Fresh Flavors from Kerala Hardcover – August 1, 2000
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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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My particular favorite recipes are the piralen, meen molee, and the vadala. Actually, the piralen is now a weekly staple for us because it is so quick and simple to make. Since my prior cooking experiences had been primarily Pakistani and North Indian dishes of a heavier nature, I was amazed at how light and refreshing South Indian cuisine can be. I have just purchased Curried Favors and I can't wait to dig into it!
I will be using this book for years to come and look forward to cooking these Keralite delights for my own future children.
Now, I am just waiting for Maya's North Indian cuisine cookbook (hint, hint :-)
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.
There are over 100 recipes, a few which have been attempted with success and great satisfaction: Fish in Fragrant Cocunut Milk; Spiced Meat Samosas (dense meat pastries).
This is exotic food and it helps with her clear sections on Pantry and Background. Explore, this is unique and tropical, and the cookbook is clearly a beauty, with its wonderful color photography and excellent writing.
Also, Kaimal often comments in the intro to each recipe which religious community in Kerala cooks which dish, and her remarks are very useful. Most of the Indians I know come from the Syrian Christian community there, and the recipes which she specifies as being from that community are truly the ones that they grew up eating at home. This book is a must-have for any homesick Keralites out there!