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Another taste of Kerala


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It's been 5 long years since we last went to Kerala, which I wrote about here.

That was to celebrate my niece's wedding. This time we're back on the occasion of the rice feeding ceremony for the couple's 5 month old son. It won't be as big a do as the wedding but it will be a more intimate gathering.

So here is my first lunch in my mother's kitchen. IMG_20220705_235917.thumb.jpg.e8d11e170f94e90ead53aa2643d718b9.jpg

 

Rice, yellow daal, pan-fried mackerel and a mackarel curry. In the background is some fried chicken and a green lentil daal. I never asked for nor touched the fork, honest!

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Thanks! So is the ceremony the little one's first solid food commemoration?  Is the yellow daal split peas? How does the seasoning differ between the two for this meal? Mackeral being strong? is the seasoning gentle to allow that to come out or more aggressive to match it? When eating e==with your hand is there usually a small water bowl for in between or just rinse before and after? Sorry for the onslaught of questions but I am interested.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, it's the little boy's first solid food! We haven't seen as much of him as we'd like, even though we live less than 180 miles apart in England- often cancelled trips due to C*****.

 

The yellow daal is split moong, the green is whole moong, skin on. I'm ashamed to say I can't give specific cooking instructions to a lot of what I'm going to show. I was never a very enthusiastic vegetarian, and my wife and daughters don't like the spiciness of my mother's cooking, so I rarely cook Indian food. That's why this topic appears under Indian dining rather than Indian cooking.

 

The mackerel is very fresh. It was bought from the boat on the beach that morning, and the woman who carries it on her head to sell it called on our neighbour, a regular customer. My parents live alone and my father is not keen on fish, so my

 mother has asked the neighbour to give her a shout whenever the fish woman comes in case there is an excuse- like today! It's actually not as strong in taste as what I'm used to in Europe, barely a fishy smell. The seasoning is robust, especially the curry, which is, frankly, hot. A prominent feature of Keralan fish curry is pot tamarind, sour and not as sweet as the more common long tamarind. You can see the fried curry leaves in the plate of fried mackerel. I love curry leaves and I'm thankful you can get them fresh in the UK much more easily now than in the past.

 

We wash our hands before and after the meal. We eat with the right hand, of course.

 

I didn't mention the pot of yoghurt at 11 o'clock to the plate. Made at home, tangy but not sour.

Edited by Kerala
Details on the fisher woman. (log)
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Thank you for the explanations. Do left handed people eat with right out of custom? I guess like shaking hands in Western culture - always right. My lefty sister will reach her left hand out for a cooking item or garden tool if we work together and it throws me off for a sec. I've broken enough bones on my right arm side to be slightly ambidextrous.  

 

Is the yogurt a home process or? I ask because this Serious Eats article made me wonder.  https://www.seriouseats.com/ode-to-dahi-5216400

 

Again thanks for taking the time on your vacation. I just re-watched "The 100 Foot Journey" so the juxtaposition of cultures is on my mind.

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I wrote a long answer, but yes-always the right hand for food.

 

That's a lovely article on dahi. I've never come across that word before. The yoghurt above is made at home. In Britain my mum, then later my dad, would place the pot of boiled milk in the airing cupboard, wrapped up in a towel. I can remember some early failures, as the author mentions.

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Breakfast:masala dosa with sambar, one of those breakfasts that Malayali ex-pats cry over. On the left of the plate is an idi appam, rice string-hopper, with a filling of grated coconut. This is my daughter's plate, and she has added a spoonful of sugar on the right hand side.

IMG_20220705_104737.jpg

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My mum called this a prawn stir-fry, which it certainly wasn't. It looked like a biriyani on the serving dish, although, again, it wasn't. It could be called a pilau, but someone might get lynched. Prawns, possibly shrimp, stirred in with rice cooked with whole spices, beans, carrot, topped with fried onions and raisins. She made it very mild for the girls, and they loved it. I enjoyed it too. I wasn't bothered by the semantics, and added a side portion of prawns pickle to boost the spice quotient. IMG_20220705_122440.thumb.jpg.941b20f6fe445385d753c961139a2824.jpg

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Prawns pickle is full of prawns, garlic, chilli, ginger and spice. Hot, spicy, tangy, prawn flavour +++. A very intense dish, with all the flavours turned up, and packed full of whole prawns. My older sister and my mum both make it, and I would give the edge to my sister, probably because she fries the prawns for a shorter time than my mother. A firmer texture is preferred in Kerala.

Thanks for making me look up a recipe, @heidih

I've never attempted it, but this

looks right.

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1 hour ago, Kerala said:

I've never attempted it, but this looks right.

 

Interesting recipe, but 'mixie jar' threw me! Mr Google suggests it is very Indian! I'll use my string pull chopper instead. If I get round to making it.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Posted (edited)

Qatar Airways has managed to lose all 8 pieces of our luggage. So in search of bras, knickers, socks, tee shirts and some posh clobber:IMG_20220705_212006.thumb.jpg.7536de56ffb1cd5bade88a8588f7ba09.jpg

Yes, it's Lulu Mall Thiruvananthapuram, World of Happiness! Young people carrying water included. I'll spare the retail detail, and move on to the food court meal. IMG_20220705_200643.thumb.jpg.76c84aab7f30deb0e6016a9f3fbeaf0b.jpg

My Chicken 65 Biriyani meal. Disappointing even without comparison to the lovely biriyani at Lulu Mall Kochi last time. OK, I've had much worse food many times for much more and much less money, and sometimes I've been grateful for it. Not tonight. IMG_20220705_201338.thumb.jpg.006fd4f8279762fef069c03184126ea4.jpg

Fried chicken momo, my daughter's choice. Quite good. The red sauce is a fiery chilli sauce. She saw the seeds and thought they were tomato seeds, and heaped up a load on a momo, much to her regret. In retrospect she was probably expecting a tomato acchar, the gentle traditional accompaniment her Nepalese maternal grandmother serves her. IMG_20220705_201351.thumb.jpg.78b4e176d3f054806c26fba65b5ac3a3.jpg

Steamed paneer momo, which looks the same as the steamed chicken momo. The chicken was good but the paneer was not. Momo has become very popular all over India, but this is the first time I've seen it in Kerala. IMG_20220705_203434.thumb.jpg.fb2ca0f42c9da45e388c334af2965454.jpgIMG_20220705_203414.thumb.jpg.8cf767f03cd9c770d17513d4fd562865.jpg

Cardamom milk, masala chai and almond milk, all served hot at a tea stall. Excellent.

 

Edited by Kerala
Typos and wrong picture. (log)
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Chicken 65 was item number 65 on an apocryphal menu. It was so popular that the recipe lives on long after the restaurant, the chef and the owner are forgotten. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

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20 hours ago, Kerala said:

Chicken 65 was item number 65 on an apocryphal menu. It was so popular that the recipe lives on long after the restaurant, the chef and the owner are forgotten. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

But, you know, don't quote me!

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Posted (edited)

Breakfast again. A mild egg curry.

IMG_20220706_095146.thumb.jpg.1c766352336a30e845e7ba468224db0d.jpg

Idi appam with a bit of sugar for one of the girls. IMG_20220706_095352.thumb.jpg.550fc08f28edfe883192beaac0141e7c.jpg

Edited by Kerala (log)
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Posted (edited)

IMG_20220706_145036.thumb.jpg.300711284df501c7c41afccf21ec1d98.jpgIMG_20220706_145042.thumb.jpg.a12de582dca29197f2389f48e5fda8f2.jpg

A quick lunch at the Taj Vivanta in Thiruvananthapuram. Large portions, well prepared. Paratha with mutton ulartthiyathu. Traditionally beef, but no one wants the controversy.

Edited just now by Kerala (log) IMG_20220706_150641.thumb.jpg.ecf808f93208d3727278551a790a4919.jpg

Mango lassi.

IMG-20220707-WA0005.thumb.jpg.136363aeeaa1a9ca2972686baffbd337.jpg

Nasi goreng.

A quick lunch at the Taj Vivanta in Thiruvananthapuram. Large portions, well prepared. The Nasi goreng was nice, not an Indianised version.

Edited by Kerala
Spelling, pics. (log)
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Beef ulartthiyathu is small pieces of beef with shallots and coconut pieces, fried and cooked down with ginger and lots of spices to a dark brown, almost black sticky reduction. It's so great that even many Hindus who don't eat beef give it a free pass. No kidding. Only in Kerala!

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I'm happy to report the fish seller doesn't carry that on her head door to door! Her cousin drives her around in an auto-rickshaw. My mother bought 2 kg of prawns for Rs 1000, about £10 or $12. Since we were travelling the next day, she froze half of it. The mackerel was just Rs 125 a piece. IMG_20220710_011714.thumb.jpg.acfde46a944d3be2fd1c99d76ed679fe.jpg

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Are the anchovies cleaned or whole?

 

They were very small, but were gutted and washed before being dredged in seasoning to be fried.

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Hopefully not to derail your lovely Kerala thread, but what came to mind was the Japanese owner of a website from whom I purchased my beloved artisanal traditionally fired sake cup...

 

Cup05082021.jpg

 

 

He was promoting an alliance of anchovy producing towns and villages around the globe.  With so much to fight about in this world his anchovy mission brought me joy.  Most of my anchovies come in little jars from Spain.

 

Thank you, @Kerala for sharing with us your trip.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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