It’s the last Saturday of the month, and I am here with a book review! InShaAllah, I am trying to make this segment as regular as possible, so that my ever increasing collection of cookbooks are touched and cooked from. 🙂
Being from the Malabar side, I have always been intrigued to learn more about the cooking there. As I have always mentioned, the cooking done in my part of Malabar is very limited. When I got married and moved to Payyoli, I was surprised by the different types of food they would cook up in a matter of minutes! I still haven’t posted many of what I have learned from there, but as time goes by I will cook it up and feature them on the blog, InShaAllah. It is a passion of mine to collect as much as sources I can of Malabar cooking as available. Cooking in Malabar can be a labour intensive process and thanks to the quick fixes available now, so many recipes are moving into the extinct categories and I really admire it when authors come forward and record some recipes for the future.
Today’s book is just doing that. “Malabar Cuisine – Traditional Moplah Favourites” is a coordinated effort of Rasheed, Roshna Khader, Reshmi Joseph and Salim Pushpanath and is published by Dee Bee Info Publications. I must admit that the cover photo is beautiful! Just like how a proper Malabar lady dresses up. My mattamma wears a big jhimki just like in the picture and Azza has already booked it from her! 😀 OK, jokes apart, I came to know about this book through this post and immediately searched for it, to discover that it was out of stock with Amazon. Later, I was able to get a copy for myself, I got it shipped to my home with a few other books and umma managed to send them across through a relative. 🙂 I have forgotten to note when I got this for myself but I am sure it is more than one year with me.
The book starts off with an introduction about Malabar in general – the base, the trade, the food, etc and then move onto the recipes. The book has around 36 recipes, apart from a basic garam masala recipe. It is printed on glossy paper and amazingly good quality, colourful photography styled by Roshna Khader and clicked by Lenin S Lankayil – a big plus point for sure! There is a picture for almost every recipe, which is quite rare in cookbooks these days, so you have an idea how much your final product will look like. The book covers some basic recipes like pathiri, nei pathiri, neychoru, a few biriyanis to some non-vegetarian curries, sides and desserts. The book is not really categorised properly nor does it have a recipe index, however it doesn’t matter since the number of recipes are not much. Also, vegetarian options are very limited to the recipe I am going to share today, kappa puzhukku and a lentil curry, however Malabar is notorious for its lack of vegetarian options, so I don’t blame the book… 😉 There are some forgotten recipes which this book takes care of, like the Persian Payasam and Ethapazham Madhura Curry – which reminded me of my late grandmother, may Allah bless her soul… – that I have tried before and posted on the blog.
What I have selected today from the cook is this delicious and simple potato stir fry. If you remember, just last month, I posted 3 back to back potato recipes and here is one more to it! 😉 The introduction to this recipe reads like this: “The word ‘Musakhan’ has evolved from the Arabic word ‘Mushakil’ which means ‘joining together’.” This dry potato roast tossed up in a mix of aromatic spices is amazing with chapathis or as a side dish of rice and curry. Definitely, the fried shallots adds a different dimension to this dish and makes it a must try. Half boiled potatoes are marinated into a spice mix for some time and then tossed up in a base of fried shallots and ginger. I must tell that this is totally delicious! I ate up the leftover without being bothered about eating more rice! This dish is definitely going to feature more on our tables especially when all I want is a simple and fuss free side to go with my rice or for a lazy dinner! Before moving off to the recipe, hope you enjoyed this review as well! InShaAllah, will keep coming up every month, as much as I can squeeze in!
- 400 gm potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 inch pc ginger, chopped
- ½ cup shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- FOR MARINADE:
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Boil the potatoes in salted water till half cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Combine the ingredients under "for marinade" into a paste.
- Add the drained potatoes and toss up to coat well.
- In a deep saucepan, heat the oil. Add the ginger and shallots and saute till wilted and slight browned.
- Add the curry leaves and marinated potatoes and saute.
- Cook till the masala is dry and well coated. Serve hot with rice, or as the book suggests, with chapathi or even bread!