Banana Chips of Kerala (Plantain Chips)

Nothing compares to the ‘Banana Chips of Kerala’. It could be the coconut oil in which the slices of bananas are fried that makes the difference, the banana itself, or maybe both. It could very well be the ‘red’ soil in which these are grown, that gives them such unique taste. Whatever it is, once you taste these chips (when they are still warm), you will never be satisfied with any store-bought ones!

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Stuffed Baby Eggplants

I can’t think of any vegetable more versatile than eggplant and any dish made out of eggplant that’s tastier than this!

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Thair Vadai

‘Maanas’ and ‘Manoj’ are written all over these; I can’t tell which one is more though! And, till it gets over, I don’t have to think about preparing any other food for them. That’s “Thair(means yogurt or curd) Vadai”, the savory lentil donuts soaked in an exotic yogurt sauce, these two relish till the very last drop!

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Vadai

Who can resist a crispy, fluffy, deep fried yet not so oily snack ever? Made using the highly nutritious “Black Gram/Urad Dal”, Vadai is one of the well loved South Indian snacks. Though they can vary in size and shape, it is traditionally shaped as a doughnut, measuring about 6 cm across, the hole in the center being the defining feature. All the ingredients needed to make vadai are typically available in any South Indian kitchen at any given time and that, I guess, would be one of the reasons why it is so commonly prepared at home. Also, in spite of being deep-fried, it is not oily if we get the consistency of the batter right. Just the thrill of getting the shape right is an absolute reward for attempting to make these!

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Avial

No feast is a feast without “Avial”, I guess, for any vegetarian from Kerala. Prepared with vegetables mostly native to the region, avial, with its simple, subtle flavor remains as a signature dish from this beautiful southern state, also known as the spice capital of India. With its strong tradition of Ayurveda practice, Kerala cooking is so healthy, colorful and light compared to the rest of India. For those who are not familiar with the dish, it is more like a “Vegetarian Thai Green Curry” using less ingredients to make the paste. Another way of looking at this dish is like a salad made of cooked vegetables, seasoned with coconut paste, curry leaves and coconut oil.

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Appam

Appam is a bowl shaped crisp crepe with a small pancake in the middle, made of rice, cooked on one side only, in a curved metal pan:) For those who are familiar with “Dosa & Idli”, the two famous breakfasts of South India, appam is like a small crisp dosa with an idli in the middle. Soft, fluffy and spongy in the middle, thin, crisp and lacy on the side, this dish is usually served with a coconut based curry.

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Potato Stew

The simplest, easiest, quickest, tastiest….. this potato stew remains as one of the most favourite dishes of Maanas. May be because, it matches his personality so well – “less or least effort…. more comfort”:) The perfect combination of ‘ginger’, ‘black pepper’, ‘curry leaves’ and that one li’l spoon of ‘pure coconut oil’ in the end, it indeed is very flavourful.

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