Now that we are planning a catered meal from malabar I thought I'd repost the kerala specialties portion of their menu along with *some* explanation. As I don't speak malayalee, and don't own the kaimal book a lot of this is cribbed from elsewhere on the net and a little incomplete
the menu and some descriptions
Traditional Kerala Dishes
rice flour fritter
Malabar Chili Chicken
smaller and thicker than north indian paranthas
see the saveur link
Mix. Veg Curry
Rene G desription from banana leaf
Fish mouly was good with chunks of pomfret in a rather spicy tart red sauce. I thought the sauce was great but the fish suffered a bit from sitting
I'm not sure how they moilee here - it's often a "white curry", the dish Rene mentioned is another famous kerala dish, but I think usually soured with a fruit unavailable here.
Kappa & Fish Curry
from the menu of an london kerala restaurant:
"The most famous dish of "Kallu Shaap ( Toddy Shops ) all over Kerala. King fish cooked in a sauce made from onions, fried chillies, turmeric and ginger served with a plate of cassava steamed in turmeric water"
from Reneg report on banan leaf-Kappa was another highlight for me. Big chunks of tapioca root were seasoned with coconut, turmeric, mustard seed (and another seed I couldnt identify), and curry leaf.
These are thick soup like curries with Erisseri-thick curry with toasted coconut and mung dal
thinner soups, rasam is tart and usually fiery "pepper water", sambhar is thickened with dal
Fish Curry/Fish Fry/Fish Thoran
frys are dry dishes where the meat is boiled with spices then fried with a litle of the liquid until tender, thoran are stirfry with slivered coconut
Beef Fried/ Pork Fried
Veg. Avial/Veg. Thoran/Theeyal
avial lots of vegs with coco & tamarin & wet, hindu, thiyal - dry tamarind, toasted coco, slightly sweet
Avial was very good with quite a variety of vegetables bound together with coconut and spices.
pachadis are kinda like raitas but the kerala ones are cooked a little and often topped with mustard seeds and oil there are cooked in
dessert puddings Semiya is Noodle Pudding, ada is flour
The problem is of course that I want EVERYTHING, but if I was to choose from the menu I would love some chicken curry, beef fry, a veg thoren, I'm more interested in the appam than the vada.
special dishes - I would love the roast duck that richard mentioned (a keral christian specialty) as well as the jackfruit dish. Other veg dishes I would be interested in are:
Kadala curry with black channa (peppery dark curry of black chick peas
okra cooked in coconut, crushed mustard and green chilli sauce and tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies.
Richard, how does their veg selection/pachadi choice work - can you specify a veg or is it mixed veg or based on what's fresh/available?
Tindori, similar to baby cucumbers, and cashew nuts dry roasted with coconut, mustard seeds and curry leaves
I'd also love a few seafood dishes which might not work as well with the format of the meal
Fish lavishly marinated in spice paste peciall spice mix and steamed in a banana leaf
njandu mellagu varathatu
crab chilli fry
Anyway, I hope this helps and might be a good start for menu selection and discussion.
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