Sunday, April 20, 2008

A meal from God’s own country

Feasting is an inseparable part of any celebration. As part of my mom-in-law’s 60th birthday celebrations we had organized a sadya (traditional Kerala meal) for neighbours and friends. This is a meal made only on special occasions like onam, marriages etc and I always look forward to it.

The moment you think kerala cuisine think coconut! Grated, shredded, powdered, milked, oil, coconut in every possible form is used liberally in all courses of the meal. What is interesting is that although Kerala is known for its spice cultivation the taste of local cuisine is very delicate, spices are used sparingly and with imagination.

Sadya is always served on a banana leaf and there are some prescribed rules for the way the dishes are served. There were 17 items on the menu excluding rice! Four different curries, pickles, chutneys, banana chips, pappadum, sambar, rasam and two different payasams (sweet dishes).

Unlike the west the meal is eaten with single minded concentration, there is no talk while eating. The meal is eaten using your right hand, various curries are mixed with rice, much like an artist mixing colours on his pallete and after you finish you fold your banana leaf and make place for the next person.

So next time you are in kerala try this meal and don’t forget to burp after the meal, it means you have eaten your full and have enjoyed your meal!!

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