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Another taste of Kerala


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2 hours ago, KennethT said:

Do they really call it "Jew Town"?

Yes. I admonished my brother in law too, but the road signs and maps plainly say Jew Town. The history of Jewish settlement in Kerala is amazing and worth a quick search.

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Quite a few years ago we travelled in Kerala and spent a few days in Kochi. I was very interested to see the old synagogue there - in Jew Town - supposed to be something like 600 years old. We somehow ended up there on a Friday night and found ourselves at the sabbath services in the beautiful sanctuary, which was interesting enough. But then we were invited for dinner at the home of a woman who was at the centre of the Jewish community, just a short walk from the synagogue. We had already made dinner plans, having bought a fish that was going to be cooked by one of the vendors near the fishing docks. But we decided we couldn't pass up a chance to at least make a quick visit to her home. We stayed for a couple of glasses of wine and the blessing over the bread, and met some of the family and friends. And, a little reluctantly, we said thanks and left.

 

Mistake on so many levels. 

 

The fish was terrible and I had my one and only stomach episode of a month of travel in India. We really should have stayed - it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in such a rare space, in such a fascinating Jewish home in a disappearing community. Only a few months later, Joan Nathan published an article in the New York Times about this very home, along with a recipe from Queenie Hallegua for Cumin Coriander Chicken. I now make that dish every year for Passover, kicking myself for not staying to really talk with her over dinner, but grateful that we ever met her at all. 

 

That article comes up if you google Cumin Coriander Chicken but I can't really link to it because I don't have access to NY Times cooking.

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4 hours ago, Kerala said:

Yes. I admonished my brother in law too, but the road signs and maps plainly say Jew Town. The history of Jewish settlement in Kerala is amazing and worth a quick search.

 

4 hours ago, Kerala said:

Yes. I admonished my brother in law too, but the road signs and maps plainly say Jew Town. The history of Jewish settlement in Kerala is amazing and worth a quick search.

I am guessing Jewish history accounts for the visceral reaction to this which you will not find when we call a section of a city Chinatown or Koreatown. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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19 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 

I am guessing Jewish history accounts for the visceral reaction to this which you will not find when we call a section of a city Chinatown or Koreatown. 

There is definitely something visceral but it's more than that. China and Korea are countries. So Chinatown and Koreatown are named for that. I think the visceral feeling comes from a history of being segregated, looked down on, and forced to live in ghettos. I'm not saying other cultures haven't experienced the same but it's how I feel. 

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2 minutes ago, KennethT said:

There is definitely something visceral but it's more than that. China and Korea are countries. So Chinatown and Koreatown are named for that. I think the visceral feeling comes from a history of being segregated, looked down on, and forced to live in ghettos. I'm not saying other cultures haven't experienced the same but it's how I feel. 

You wrote what I started to type. Thanks.  It is considered here as a slur like the nasty expression 'he tried to Jew me down (on a price)  Wonderful history. I did as @Kerala suggested google and review the history. 

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51 minutes ago, KennethT said:

There is definitely something visceral but it's more than that. China and Korea are countries. So Chinatown and Koreatown are named for that. I think the visceral feeling comes from a history of being segregated, looked down on, and forced to live in ghettos. I'm not saying other cultures haven't experienced the same but it's how I feel. 

It’s not the place to debate it so I won’t. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Posted (edited)

The next day we celebrated my niece's birthday at The Papaya Cafe in Cochin. There is a strong innovative drive in Kerala cooking, and people want something new as well as something old. We love putting things together. Here's the menu.

https://papayamedia.in/Papaya_Menu_Main.pdf

It's mixing western/ fast food ideas with traditional processes. The atmosphere is light, modern, with an up to the minute laid back funk sound track, not too loud to talk. They have art exhibitions including an NFT show last weekend. There are art books, art and literary magazines, old National Geographics, graphic novels and novels in Malayalam and English to browse. If it all sounds unbearably hip, I have to say it all worked well together.

IMG_20220710_132547.thumb.jpg.76ee1cb4c3d4841bfb55ed9fe2518369.jpg

Plantain fritters in a cumin batter with a mild chicken curry. IMG_20220710_132805.thumb.jpg.aae1fd49657b1c3cc2376130d36c2ce3.jpg

Chilli chicken wingsIMG_20220710_133537.thumb.jpg.7d2e693f695e48173f970cb366d60386.jpg

Shrimp tempura with a virgin passion fruit mojito standing guard. The tempura was light.and crisp, the shrimp just firm. The virgin mojitos were superb. The wife loves mojitos but I've always been a bit disdainful. These would have been killer with some rum. Licencing laws are difficult here. IMG_20220710_140602.thumb.jpg.034914d7480c1d900419b8c09c52c4dd.jpg

A beef lasagna with tapioca mash, pasta sheets, parmesan and Kerala fried beef.

IMG_20220710_140637.thumb.jpg.31600dad48dcb77f6efdbc65619ad1b7.jpg

Brown rice, chicken, salad

IMG_20220710_140631.thumb.jpg.938fbbe62d9e62396e217ff4712fbda3.jpg

Brown rice, chicken, coriander, papadom strips.

IMG_20220710_140705.thumb.jpg.dda7a73d9fa87d1d19db8d8963b8883a.jpg

Fajita chicken wraps. Tapioca and beetroot crisps on the side.

IMG_20220710_140535.thumb.jpg.550307c9a6f992ac6383e85ea20f110e.jpg

Kappa (tapioca) au gratin sitting over a mild chicken curry.

IMG_20220710_140905.thumb.jpg.67de68b67e495dec3c546ff936842711.jpg

Pidi and chicken. Pidi are rice flour gnocchi, quite dense, about 1.5cm diameter, usually served with chicken or other meat curry. This was covered in melted cheese and topped with crispy papadom pieces. Odd, but not unpleasant. This was my main.

IMG_20220710_145552.thumb.jpg.74f23a1ea865e3e4f0f66c9e10b73207.jpg

Dessert was batter fried coins of banana with a jaggery (molasses) dipping sauce topped with plain ice cream. Hard to fault. Coffee only came with Italian names. I had a machiato.

Overall, a great vibe and interesting, tasty food. Nothing too hot for the spice shy. The preparations were intriguing and thought provoking.   The portions were large, and we over-filled on the starters despite the waiter's warning. I would go back given the chance, but order less. Oh, for a serviceable wine list!

IMG_20220710_150020.jpg

 

PS a note on pricing. Rs 9950, about £ 105, $125 for 15 people.

Edited by Kerala (log)
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56 minutes ago, Kerala said:

The next day we celebrated my niece's birthday at The Papaya Cafe in Cochin. There is a strong innovative drive in Kerala cooking, and people want something new as well as something old. We love putting things together. Here's the menu.

https://papayamedia.in/Papaya_Menu_Main.pdf

 

Having read the menu, I would avoid it like the plague.

That said, the worst Indian food I've ever eaten was in India. That was in 1970 / 71. Hopefully it has improved. I'm sorry to say that I did vist Kerala, but can't really remember the food scene.

I am enjoying your story. Please don't take this too negatively. I am willing to be converted!

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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That menu would put many Malayalis off, too. I wasn't sure about it, but much of it worked well. I appreciated they were trying something new. There's room for all sorts of food and all sorts of views. 

 

Not sure about the cheese, though. Brave choice.


 

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4 hours ago, Kerala said:

That menu

Brought to mind a North American diner.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Then the rail journey.

 

Breakfast next day at home:

IMG_20220712_102809.thumb.jpg.3e873e9fa3ec719976856373f10f6ddc.jpg

Idi appamIMG_20220712_102758.thumb.jpg.eea3c856e471db533fdbd42009f8a09c.jpg

Egg curry.

IMG_20220712_102830.thumb.jpg.3d0448a2bb87e3f69f52c0ba1c745b79.jpg

Prawn curry with coconut.

IMG_20220712_102845.thumb.jpg.7780c8f0bd3c6cad66fd3e81c8e6526e.jpg

Okra mezhukkupuratti. IMG_20220712_135239.thumb.jpg.9dc9611378b4f51d01a3836924f6c558.jpg

Small bananas afterwards.

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Posted (edited)

IMG_20220712_141831.thumb.jpg.cf5794dd2267a20de9292f72052913d0.jpgWe had some squid brought around by our friendly fisher woman. She buys the catch off the boat before dawn, and it's on our table by noon. The squid was a big hit, just perfectly spiced and cooked. IMG_20220712_142113.thumb.jpg.a6d5d3532e7e76841db37ef10e9a7752.jpg

Squid, rice, thoran, yoghurt.

I've had squid around the world, and this was the best squid meal I've ever had.

There was more to the meal:

IMG_20220712_141823.thumb.jpg.cdbb044f169b433cdcd8149ad928a52f.jpg

 

Prawn curry, my sister's favourite. IMG_20220712_141801.thumb.jpg.cde634fe01cf63dfeda6b9df279854f3.jpg

Fried prawns, my favourite.

IMG_20220712_141741.thumb.jpg.e2b464754abc08e6ab323123d155e37e.jpg

The thoran.

IMG_20220712_141747.thumb.jpg.4953fed526b0ef5a8aa3d1f36e167509.jpg

Pulisheri.

These names refer to the type of preparation. The actual dish prepared will vary depending on produce availability and choice.

 

IMG_20220712_141735.jpg

 

Edited by Kerala (log)
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All looks fabulous @Kerala. So jealous of your trip with family, I reckon it would be a huge difference to being a western tourist.

I think someone else asked the question about the spice mix on my thread. IIdidn’t know at the time, so it’s good to solve the mystery.
Jew town was pretty fascinating, and the synagogue was a first for me.

Did you know every handmade tile is different ?

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Posted (edited)

Went back to Lulu Mall TVM again. Different food stalls, very different results!

IMG_20220715_172028.thumb.jpg.4b61fade1281eccaa8d447df4103b180.jpg

Kutthu parotta with fried chicken and chicken curry sauce. IMG_20220713_191601.thumb.jpg.81bd1cc260b4df6d61532cce75c59c5f.jpg

The fried chicken, close up. Zoom in to see the roasted fennel seeds and curry leaves. IMG_20220713_193343.thumb.jpg.4bace72a2f07ca3ff264ea172a8d4e6e.jpgOh, this took me right back to my boarding school days-one of the few good things about those days!

IMG_20220713_193352.jpg

Indo-chinese chicken stuff with noodles. Yum yum. @liuzhou

don't look!

Edited by Kerala (log)
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Posted (edited)

There's a hypermarket at the mall. Huge choice of packed food goods as well as non-food items, but the choice is not exactly what you'd find in a supermarket in Britain-fair enough. The fresh produce is fantastic though. IMG_20220713_164425.thumb.jpg.997e688042552324825a0b4185d858b4.jpgIMG_20220713_164311_BURST001_COVER.thumb.jpg.c549e7b45b352ff3e0f7b9c956a69155.jpgIMG_20220713_164149.thumb.jpg.b819a7fe40c59ae9ab68de2bdd357de1.jpgIMG_20220713_164229.thumb.jpg.8abd127578217ab511b9459ca39eef0f.jpg

The fish looks and smells fresh
IMG_20220713_183659.thumb.jpg.2d94fc90371a39e3f4672e6b8f7fed38.jpgIMG_20220713_183817.thumb.jpg.ed7616ad8f3111474c9dbc9354d91557.jpg

Massive fish. I was just shooting pics as I passed through. IMG_20220713_183808.thumb.jpg.5b09d399a0c5412c3eef8b3a2d234bc9.jpg

I didn't take many pics of the large butchers section, IMG_20220713_210715.thumb.jpg.95ba0f7c3ea542ebcab8be6319c71521.jpg

but here's turkey, black chicken and duck. 

I think if you were in Cochin or Trivandrum and you felt you just had to cook, Lulu Mall would actually be a reasonable place to source your food conveniently, although certainly not the cheapest or most authentic option.

Edited by Kerala (log)
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On 7/13/2022 at 6:52 PM, KennethT said:

There is definitely something visceral but it's more than that. China and Korea are countries. So Chinatown and Koreatown are named for that. I think the visceral feeling comes from a history of being segregated, looked down on, and forced to live in ghettos. I'm not saying other cultures haven't experienced the same but it's how I feel. 

 

Dinner here tonight is a northern Indian curry with Tilda Basmati to break in my new Zojirushi.

 

@KennethT I hate to witness someone else's pain.  Around these parts I can think of Englishtown, Frenchtown, Germantown, and Quakertown.  Without bothering to get out an atlas or a map.  None of these place names currently imply racism or opprobrium.  If it matters, I am a Quaker and "Quaker" is a religious slur.  In parts of this country Quakers were whipped, banished, mutilated, and put to death.  And dying by exposure in the wilderness, not even permitted to live in ghettos.

 

But knowing the effect on others I would hesitate to use the name of the ancient Keralan town in question.  Even though, however unlikely, I would like to visit it.

 

 

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