Thursday, July 7, 2016

Socio Historical Journey

I saw this book lying on the table. While casually browsing through the pages, this particular picture caught my attention and the face looked familiar. 

Then I realized that this is the same lady whom I had clicked about six years ago  when I had been to Jew street in Kerala. In fact the location and the chair also looks same. 

That was when I had a serious look at the book which was titled “Cuisine Kerala” I usually avoid cuisine books, but I found this one interesting as it also mentions a bit about  the history of the place.

Like what induced the people from the British Raj (including Lord Mountbatten) to buy the biscuits from Mambally Bappu after he started his own bakery in Tellicherry (now Thalassery) way back in 1880.  

The sight of the Chukku Kaapi reminded me of how we used to have the Chakkara Kappi when we visited Kerala every year for our annual holidays. The Chakkara was made from palm sugar which had more health benefits as compared to the present day Sharkara (Jaggery) which is made from cane sugar.   

I never knew that these huge dhows were still being made in Beypore, Kozhikode. These were very much in demand earlier by the Arab traders and was also a mode of transport for people who dared to venture to “the Gulf” from Kerala in the early fifties and sixties. 

No fish curry is complete unless you add the “kodampuli” (Malabar Tamarind)  After preparation you keep the fish curry for a day whereby the taste of tamarind seeps into the fish. No wonder some call it “Yesterday’s Fish Curry” 

Whenever there is a Onam Sadhya, I look forward to this Inji curry (or inji puli as some call it)

As mentioned in the book, tourists have embraced the homestay concept which gives a boost to tourism

They like to try out cooking in the Indian style, or experiment eating from a banana leaf, though it may not be easy - notice the fork on the leaf? 

I like the layout of the book and the pictures. Kudos to Mr P N Shahnavas (and his photographers team) for doing a good job. Most of the pictures are candid and look natural.

I think the author (Theresa Varghese) has done a good job, considering the fact that she must have actually traveled the length and breadth of Kerala to collect all the information.
One thing worth noting is that these are not the regular recipes but are those that are handed down for generations where nothing is written down.

I also like the way credit has been given to each person who has contributed the recipe. 

I did a casual search and found that the book is  available on 

On the whole I should say it is a good book, as mentioned on the front page – a socio historical culinary journey through the Spice Coast. 

All pictures in this blog post (except for the second one) are from the above mentioned book.