|my niece Rika|
The tropical coast of Kerala stretches along the Arabian Sea bringing an abundance of fish, shellfish, and coconuts while the fragrant curry leaves, mustard seeds and black pepper of the region distinctly flavor the cuisine. Native cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric are also widely used and the combinations of spices, legumes and vegetables can be utterly intoxicating. Vastly different from the more commonly known dishes from the north, the south offers a lighter, fresher alternative that is less oily and has no cream at all and unfortunately, a style of cuisine that most people know nothing about.
The key to cooking these recipes is the spices. We are fortunate to have access to a few markets that basically have everything needed to create an authentic south India meal. The best for hard to find ingredients is the International Market in Metairie. While a little funky and sometimes intimidating, it is THE source in area for spices, dhals (legumes), rice, curry leaves, tamarind, housewares and everything you would need to prepare any of the recipes in either book.
|Aamti - Maharashtrian Lentils, one of our staples|
To answer Mary's question, yes, both Kerry and I have been cooking a lot of Indian food lately, but it sometimes harder for me to write about because of the mysterious ingredients and cooking techniques that can be difficult to describe. But I'm going to do my best, starting with a simple and delicious sambar, a spicy stew of legumes and vegetables that will knock your socks off if you take the time to get the right ingredients to make the spice mix.
|Coconut and Green Chilli Prawns|