Hiya! Welcome to our home, where we cook traditional Kerala-style dishes that are either vegan or vegetarian. So now, you can enjoy a taste of Kerala in your kitchen... or in ours! :)
Welcome to our blog! Most of our posts will be written by me, Gaya, and it'll mainly be a mini food diary where I finally pick up the pan and spatula (more like wooden spoon, but spatula seemed to flow better...) instead of just having the utmost pleasure of taste testing everything. :P
So, why traditional vegan/vegetarian Kerala-style dishes?
Let me start at the beginning. 2016 has been an interesting year to say the least (why Alan Rickman, why?!) and a lot of personal firsts. One thing that I was planning to start was to adopt a vegan lifestyle (or, at the very least, becoming vegetarian). Why? Mostly ethical reasons and also to get back to the basics of having wholesome, nutritious food without having to kill other animals for it (a major bonus in my book). Finally, in the summer of 2016, I went to Kerala (where I'm from). There was such an abundance of veggie dishes, that I gave being vegetarian a go (can't let go of curd/ yoghurt yet) and I got really comfortable with not eating meat... and, much to my surprise, not really missing it! Coincidentally, I also happened to pick up a book that talked about the merits of living fully with a life of meaning and balance. This happened to include eating "live nourishment" i.e. eating a healthy, wholesome vegetarian diet. Coincidence or not, I decided to go vegetarian.
Once I got back to Hong Kong (my home/ where I live and was raised), I decided to stick to the habit I fostered in Kerala and continue to be vegetarian as purely as possible. Don't get me wrong, it's tough! Especially in Hong Kong where you go yum cha (tea and dim sum at the local restaurant) with colleagues and the only vegetarian dish is a sad plate of over-steamed seasonal veggies (*sob*). So, I decided the best way to overcome this would be to cook my own food.
Why Kerala-style Cuisine?
I love coconuts. Every time I head back to Kerala (translated as 'the land of coconuts'), my Valliammachi (paternal grandma) cooks up a veritable feast using coconut oil. My father's household swears by coconut oil and we don't cook with any other oil. The tastes are simply sublime. Don't get me wrong, my Ammoomma (maternal grandma) cooks up a storm too, and now that they too cook with coconut oil... let's just say, it's hard to keep the pounds off when I go back to India for the holidays! Having said that, Valliammachi cooks a more traditional fare and, since we don't really implement that cooking style at home in Hong Kong, I thought I'd do the honours and take it upon myself to bring to Hong Kong a small little taste of Kerala and cook traditional Kerala dishes for the family. <3
What is Kerala-Style Cuisine?
Being a state named after the coconut trees that grow in abundance across the land for as far as the eye can see, no dish is complete without coconut in some shape or form! The coconut is either added in milk form, toasted with spices or just grated and added in and always cooked with coconut oil. It's a whole new world of flavours. As Kerala is one of the southern most states of India where paddy fields are aplenty (not as much now as agriculture has had to make way for the tertiary sector), our main source of carbs is rice. It's grounded, toasted, steamed, made into noodles... the whole deal - we got pretty creative ;)
So, here we are! This blog is mostly where I explore the traditions of Kerala one dish at a time in Hong Kong. Hope you enjoy the recipes I cook and share with you all! I've used a mixture of Valliammachi's and the family's recipes as well as recipes that I've adapted from good ol' Google.
If you want to try out the whole experience for yourself, I'd highly recommend a trip to Kerala!