Kerala Food Ingredients Know How
Tapioca is fully grown the root of the tapioca plant. The name derived from the ‘cassava’ or ‘yuca’ plant. It is often used to thicken soups and sweeten the flavour of the food. Kerala is one of the states in india which use tapioca as staple food. Tapioca is gluten free and almost completely protein free.In Kerala tapioca is the best combination meal along with a spicy fish curry.
The two most famous kerala banana varieties are Plantain(large yellow banana) and red banana.
- Red is a variety of banana with reddish-purple skin and is smaller in size than other bananas. When comparing to other bananas the red banana is sweeter and softer. Redder the fruit the more taste. It is higher in vitamin c. Red bananas are eaten in the same way as yellow bananas and they are available year round.
- Plantain is used in many forms in kerala cuisine .The famous kerala chip is made from plantain. Numerous sweets and savouries also made from plantain. Plantain contains very little beta-carotene. The vitamin C content of plantain is very similar to those of sweet potato, cassava and potato, but the concentration may vary with the crop, maturity at harvest, soil, and farming conditions. An average plantain has about 220 calories and is a good source of potassium and dietary fibre. Raw plantain is good for making Crisps.
Banana Flower and stem flower is only taken after the banana had grown to its full volume often used in Kerala cooking as a source for main vegetarian dish enriched with high national value. Banana stem is the inner most part which is white in colour looks similar to palm heart also treated same as banana flower. Both will oxidise faster if not kept in water after cutting
partly milled rice and is a whole, natural grain. Brown rice is nutritious than white rice. This rice is now more expensive because of its low supply and difficult of storage. Brown rice has a shelf life of approximately six to seven months. In kerala most of the families are using brown rice and rice is the staple food of kerala.
A tuber were both leaves and root is used for cooking. The plant is called elephant ears due to the similarity over elephant ear due to its large size. Colacasia is an Integral Part of ‘Sambar’ the very famous Kerala Dish which is a must in all Vegetarian feast. colacasia is high starch content and has a sticky nature . Good for sautéing , stir frying with an addition of grated coconut.
Another tuber which is very common in kerala ,its stem and root is used for cooking. Unlike colacasia the root is hard and requires long cooking.Yam is best for stewing . it can be used for stirfrying also but a pre-cooking is advised
were name kerala is originated from;
‘ kera’ is referred to coconut tree, and coconut is termed as ‘nalikeram’.the kerala cooking will not be completed without coconut . Coconut has been used mainly in three forms grated coconut, coconut milk and coconut oil . The kerala dishes will not be original if you are not using coconut oil in cooking. According to the studies made by coconut board of indian government.
Coconut is composed mainly of medium chain fatty acids or medium chain triglycerides that are burned almost immediately to produce energy for the body. They are not converted into body fat or cholesterol to the degree other fats are. Coconut oil, has low polyunsaturated fatty acid, is very stable and resistant to oxidation. Since coconut oil is naturally saturated, it does not need hydrogenation, thereby considerably reducing the chances of high blood cholesterol and high low density lipo proteins .
Coconut oil possesses a distinct short and medium chain fatty acid composition. Over 70% of the saturated fatty acids present in coconut oil are short and medium chain containing less than 12 carbon atoms. The medium chain fatty acids account for 63.5% of the total fatty acids. Coconut oil being a naturally saturated oil does not contain any trans-fat.virgin coconut oil is a major source of lauric acid and vitamin e.it also helps in the absorption of fat soluble Vitamins a, d, e and k.
Asafoetida is extracted from the root of perineal plant which is native to afganisthan and imported to india . The plant is a species of ferula ,looks similar to fennel . Asafoetida mainly sold in two forms solid cake and powdered . In olden days kerala house hold used solid asafoetida diluted in lukewarm water . Raw flavor of asafoetida is unpleasant , but when heated with oil or ghee(clarified butter) it gives a very appetizing flavor. Asafoetida has great medicinal values it aids digestion and many curing properties that has been proved scientifically.
Jackfruit is the largest tree born fruit, grown extensively on tropical climate region. Archaeological surveys in indian had found jack fruit cultivation back 3000 t0 6000 years back. In kerala cuisine jackfruit also used with its own respected place. Jack fruit is used both in its raw and ripened form. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous, and is a source of dietary fiber. The flavour is similar to a tart banana. Varieties are distinguished according to the characteristics of the fruits’ flesh.
House womens used to preserve best harvest of ripe jackfruit by making Jackfruit jams in bulk. Which can be later turn to payasam by adding coconut milk to it.
Drumstick is taken from drumstick tree. It is an exceptional nutritious vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses. Drumstick is the most commonly used vegetable in kerala. It is a main ingredient to make curries and side dishes like ‘Sambar’, ‘Theeyal’ and ‘Thoran’. The leaf from the tree is really full of nutritional value also contains vitamin-C. Leaves are cooked and used like spinach. This is available plenty in kerala and there will atleast one tree in almost every house in kerala. Drumstick and leaves are helpful in increasing breast milk in the breast feeding months.Drumstick is believed to have great aphrodisiac properties.
Toddy is an alcoholic beverage taken from the sap of coconut tree or palm tree . It’s a traditional beverage of kerala traces goes to history. The toddy is collected in a mud pot from the unbloomed flower pod of coconut or palm tree. The pot is taken in the morning or evening , where morning is sweet and evening tend to more in alcoholic presence since its allowed to ferment.
Toddy is traditional used to ferment rice to make appam(hoppers).Now yeast is used instead.