Savoring the Spice Coast of India: Fresh Flavors from Kerala

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9780060192570: Savoring the Spice Coast of India: Fresh Flavors from Kerala

"I was nine years old when I first went to Kerala, my father's boyhood home, where the lush tip of India meets the Arabian Sea. I'd heard stories about this place, seen photographs, and even tasted the lively South Indian curries my father cooked in our suburban Boston home. Still, nothing prepared me for how extraordinarily exotic it would seem when I stepped off that Indian Airlines plane ...."

A colorful land of spices and coconut palms, the southern state of Kerala is home to some of the most vibrant and flavorful cooking in all of India. Virtually undiscovered by Americans, its distinctive cuisine is influenced as much by its abundance of fresh ingredients (including fish, lamb, coconut, ginger, green chilies, black pepper, tamarind, and curry leaves) as by its different religious groups (Hindu, Christian, and Muslim) and cultures that make up its population. Now acclaimed cookbook author Maya Kaimal offers a unique culinary journey to Kerala, sharing the authentic recipes passed down by her family and other Keralan cooks.

Vastly different from the familiar North Indian staples of tandoori chicken, fried breads, and thick sauces, the food of Kerala has a lively tropical spirit, revealed in dishes like Tamarind Shrimp, Vegetables in Fragrant Coconut Milk, Batter-Fried Bananas, and the ubiquitous Sourdough Pancakes known as dhosa. Kaimal offers more than one hundred of these flavorful recipes, each carefully adapted for the home kitchen. Chapters on getting started, stocking your pantry, and planning a complete South Indian meal

provide thoughtful explanations of ingredients, seasonings, and techniques, making it easy for home cooks to create the complex layers of flavor that characterize Keralan cuisine.

Enlivened by Kaimal's passion for her father's homeland, and by outstanding four-color photographs, Savoring the Spice Coast of India is more than simply a cookbook. It is a captivating taste of a culture and cuisine to which you will want to return again and again.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Maya Kaimal is the author of Curried Favors: Family Recipes from South India, winner of the IACP Julia Child Award for First Cookbook in 1996. She has appeared on the Today show and the Food Network, and has written about food for Food & Wine, Saveur, and the Los Angeles Times syndicate. Kaimal lives in New York and frequently travels to Kerala to visit her family.

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