Traditional Delicacies of Kerala Foods of India

By Minnie Mathew

Bordered by land on three sides and the Arabian Sea in the west,

the Indian state of Kerala is divided into three geographical

regions – the highlands, the midlands, and the lowlands. The

cuisine of this fertile land, so rich in nature’s bounty, is

linked to the rich influences from both land and sea, which

created the unique synthesis of its food and cultural traditions.

The wonderful array of spices which grow here, the vast varieties

of fish, the vegetables, poultry and meats which abound, have all

influenced the food preferences of the Keralite and include both

vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. Before these delectable dishes

are forgotten and become extinct, Minnie Matthew has collected

some of these traditional recipes from her mother, Saramma, an

outstanding cook, in an effort to capture the authentic food of

Kerala, as well as some of Saramma’s magical culinary secrets, for

future generations. This book had been created for the benefit of

those who have not had the opportunity to live in traditional

Kerala households but who are keen to savour the flavours of

traditional cooking. This ethnic cookbook demystifies traditional

cooking for the modern cook. The recipes are easy to prepare and

are easily adapted to the contemporary kitchen. The array of

fascinating recipes include fish, vegetables, rice, meat, savoury

and sweets, as well as dishes for breakfast/high tea dishes,

desserts, chutneys, chutney powders, pickles and preserves. In

each section, the Author provides nutritional facts and the

recipes include Saramma’s invaluable tips for enhancing the taste

and flavour of the dishes. Suggestions for dishes to be cooked on

various occasions are also provided. In a modern world, there

still remains considerable interest in traditional recipes.

Foreigners in particular express great interest in understanding

the traditional cooking of India. However, it is difficult to find

cookery books on traditional cookery and traditional dishes are

rarely seen on restaurant menus. They can only be cherished when

cooked at home – with love.

Minnie Mathew
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Dr Minnie Mathew is a globally renowned nutritionist who has served extensively as Senior Advisor, Trainer and Programmer to the United Nations World Food Programme. She has also been a global facilitator for the United Nations Development Action Framework (UNDAF) and gender mainstreaming. She has been a member of various international missions to evaluate and suggest development strategies. She has prepared a strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition in South America, as well as developed an initiative to build entrepreneurship skills for managing small scale production units in India. For this, she was presented the International Women’s Day Award in 1999 by the United Nations World Food Programme. Minnie has served on various Government of India and State Government committees dealing with issues of hunger and malnutrition. She is also an adviser and evaluator for PhD students. Currently she is the Director for Women’s Studies in the Avinashilingam University, Coimbatore. Minnie has authored several books in her professional domain and also writes for popular women’s magazines. This is her first attempt at documenting the cuisine of her native Kerala and her mother’s traditional recipes.