The Kerala Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections from the Syrian Christians of South India

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Hippocrene Books, 2009 - Cooking - 240 pages
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This book evokes the beauty of a bygone era and the vibrant texture of community life through a hundred recipes, engaging recollections, and beautiful photographs. Long before the time of Christ, the lure of spices took traders and seafarers to Kerala, a prosperous and highly literate state on the tropical Malabar Coast of south-western India. Saint Thomas the Apostle also travelled this spice route, preaching to and converting several Brahmin families who later intermarried with the Syrians who settled in Kerala; the Syrian Christians or Nazaranis of Kerala were born of this confluence. Centuries later, ayurvedic massage resorts and scenic backwaters make this lush land a top tourist destination, and spices still draw both traveller and gourmand to the rich, abundant culinary tradition of this people. Meen Vevichathu (Fish Curry cooked in a clay pot), Erachi Olathiathu (Fried Meat), and Njandu Karri (Crab Curry) are among the book's savoury delights, along with varied rice preparations such as Puttu (Steamed Rice Cake), Paalappam (Lace-Rimmed Pancakes), and tropical desserts such as Karikku Pudding (Tender Coconut Pudding) and Thenga Paalum Nendrikkai (Baked Plantain with Coconut Cream). Interwoven between these recipes, in the best tradition of the cookbook memoir, are tales from the past and present, of talking doves, toddy shops, travelling chefs and killer coconuts.

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About the author (2009)

Lathika George is a Bombay-born Syrian Christian who moved to Kerala in her teens. She now lives in Kodaikanal with her husband, where she runs a landscape design firm specialising in hill station gardens, and visits Kerala frequently. An intrepid cook and culinary enthusiast, she is currently working on her next book which explores the cuisine of the hill tribes of Northeast India.

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