Kerala has an interesting food culture, one where many of the outside influences have amalgamated with local foods to create something different to the rest of India. It seems to me to be that the food here is more reminiscent of South East Asia rather than India, with more coconut flavours, more spices, lemongrass and ginger.
Having seen the fishing nets in action and the small fishing boats pulled up on the nearby beach it was fairly obvious that fish will be the meals of the stay.
Masala pollichathu – Was one of the first Keralan dishes I ate, a fish fillet coated with spice laden masala, wrapped in banana leaf and cooked on coals. The spice laden masala a thick paste inside the blackened banana leaf, the Keralan spices cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, clove all present is some degree along with slices of tart, dried and roasted coconut.
Meen mappas – A rich light brown- yellowish curry, apparently this an old style Syrian Christian family recipe utilising many local spices and coconut, the delicious pomfret fish was excellent, the rich flavour of the curry had me humming with joy.
I don’t always like the long grain basmati rice, synonymous with Indian cuisine, I find it to be chalky from time to time and a little lacking in zeal. It was nice to see local varieties of rice available both here in Kerala and in Goa, the Keralan rice is a shorter grain, a little shorter and plumper then Thai jasmine. The chewy texture and slightly nutty taste adding a great mouth feel and a bit of flavour depth to a meal, most enjoyable.
Fish molee – A small whole fish, simmered with a sauce made of coconut milk, ginger, mustard seed, curry leaves and turmeric, quite peppery and with a great green chilli kick. The small fish only presenting a limited problem for me regarding bones, but a bit of nimble teeth work was needed to prevent any sharp jabs to the mouth.