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May 12th, 2012

Kerala cooking tips from the experts

This is exciting.

I have done a guest post for India Travel Blog, and they are posting this recipe here as a quid pro quo.  As a  lover of almost all food from south India, I can think of no better recipe to kick off what I hope will be a regular feature.

South Indian Food

India can be a culinary adventure for the variety of foods that it offers. The preparation and ingredients are quite dissimilar between the north and the south making the country an absolute delight to for exploring different tastes. Indians are famous for using an array of spices to enhance the cooking, making sure that the country’s food is considered extremely rich in taste.

There is a lot of emphasis on rice based dishes in the south of India. Though each of the southern states has its own distinct ingredients, there are a few similarities in the food types. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu make good use of lentils, dried chillies, coconut and vegetables like plantain, tamarind, snake gourd, egg plant and ginger.

Out of the four Southern states, Kerala lays more emphasis on non vegetarian food, especially amongst the Christian community. Dishes the state is known for include Puttu (Rice based cakes), Meen Curry (fish), Appams, Iddiyapams and Ethaykkappam (banana fry).

You can try this easy recipe for Palappam, a Kerala dish of fermented bread made with rice batter and coconut milk. It is one of the staple dishes of the South West coastal area. It resembles a pancake and can be eaten with a stew, chutney or sambhar.

Here’s how to prepare this typical Kerala dish :

 

Ingredients:

  1. White raw rice – 3 cups (finely powdered)
  2. Coconut – 1
  3. Yeast – 1 teaspoon
  4. Sugar – 4 teaspoons
  5. Water – One cup for mixing
  6. Lukewarm water – 1/2 cup
  7. Cooked  Rice – two tablespoon
  8. Salt – 1/2   teaspoon

 

Preparation:  The preparation time for this is slightly long as many parts of need settling down and fermentation time.

 

Mix sugar and yeast and mix with warm water and keep aside for 10-15 minutes until it froths (ferments). Meanwhile, grind cooked rice with 1/2 cup of water to make a paste.

 

Sieve the rice flour into a basin and mix the rice paste, fermented yeast and water. Knead it for about 5 minutes into soft dough and let it ferment for 4 hours.

 

Extract the milk from the coconut in 3 cups of water. Add it to the mixed dough and make a thin batter without any lumps. Add sugar according to taste and allow batter to ferment for another 2 hours. Add salt and mix well.

 

Warm up a vessel and rub oil inside so that the batter does not stick. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of the batter in such a way that a thin even layer is formed on the base of the vessel. It can be slightly thick in the centre to avoid sticking. Cover with tight fitting lid and lower heat and let it cook for about 3 minutes. When it is ready, the edges resemble crisp lace and centre soft and well risen. Remove from the vessel and serve it with chicken curry or vegetable stew.

About the guest blogger: This post was written by Mahindra Homestays (http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/). Their homestays offer guests the opportunity to try delicious home cooking, or even take a lesson. There are a number of homestays in Kerala (http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/destinations/kerala) where you will be able to try the dishes mentioned above.

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