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It is said,”What is sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the gander.”Notwithstanding the fact that the taste for food differs across regions, and that different people can have different views about what constitutes delicious and healthy food, yet there are some cuisines that enjoy worldwide recognition and appreciation. Malayaly cuisine is one of them.Especially the cuisine of Alappuzha in central Kerala is what could be described as extremely exotic and relishing. Kerala has been influenced by many culinary methods in past but when you visit the state itself, you will realize how deeply rooted is the traditional Kerala cuisine in the lives of people. Cooking in Kerala is more than just preparation of food. It is a celebration of the rich culture that is deeply imbued in the life of Malayalees.
The cuisine of Alappuzha makes use of quite a few basic ingredients constantly while preparing food. These include rice and coconut. The number of ways in which these two items are used in the Malayaly dishes is hard to even imagine. What makes these dishes so tasty is the inclusion of spices. And here spices do not necessarily mean chillies Spices in Kerala mean much more - a rich use of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves garlic, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Extensive use of curry leaves and mustard seeds also add a distinct taste to Kerala food.
A melange of aromas resulting from the free use of pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chillies, and mustard, used in most curries, fill the kitchens of the well-to-do, but generally the poorer folks content themselves with kanji (rice with water) and take fish with tapioca. Most dishes in Kerala are cooked in coconut oil and are incomplete without a mandatory use of coconut in some form or the other.
Malayalees do not just cook their food, rather they like to cook and serve it in style. In traditional Kerala, there were special utensil made of bronze and brass to cook and serve. Today, much of these utensils have been replaced by more user friendly versions. One of these is chatti which is different for different dishes. As such, there is a cast iron griddle for dosa, shallow cast iron chatti for appam, manchatti (earthernware pot) for fish curry and cheena chatti for preparing pickles and cheena bharanis to store these and tamarind.
A true feast of Kerala items can be enjoyed at the time of sadya, the raditional big feast. Till very recent times, weddings in Kerala were considered grand only if the sadya was grand. The manner in which food is to be served in sadya is also important apart from the dishes that are offered. An improperly laid sadya is indicative of bad or unsophisticated manners. The food is served on a plantain leaf (set in a fixed direction) and that also in a typical manner.
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