More and more I find myself captivated by the cuisine of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. It is less sweet and meaty than the cuisines of northern India, and focuses instead on fish, green chilis, coconut, mustard seeds, and oddly, rice used as a seasoning. The tastes are fresh, nutty and crisp, like a breath of cool air. Another ingredient found in most dishes are curry or kari leaves, which have nothing to do with curry but are highly aromatic.
The plate above holds shrimp cooked in coconut milk, a Madhur Jaffrey recipe; I used canned milk (but a reputable brand recommended by Su-mei Yu); it is offset by an ingredient called kodampoli or fish tamarind, which is smoky and sour. Kodampoli is not tamarind at all and is hard to find – I used lemon juice.
The other dish is another Keralan favorite that I’ve written about here before, okra with yogurt. I could eat buckets of it.