CONCLUSION…. COCHINI JEWISH CUISINE

Even though Cochini Jews observed their religious customs, their cuisine has always been influenced by local food habits…… Culinary influence of coconut is very much visible…… While making their dishes, they used coconut milk as an alternative to dairy products.

Some more of the Cochini Jewish specialities are as follows…..
Manja Choru : Chicken fat & stock flavoured yellow rice.

Hubba : Semolina dumplings filled with minced chicken, cabbage, celery, onions & coriander.

Chuttuli meen : Pan fried fish with shallot paste.

Pulip : Cochini Jewish usage for salad.

Motta Salada : Sweet made with egg yolk…… This sweet is very similar to Mutta Mala of Mapila Cuisine…….This is served during weddings & bar mitzvahs (coming of age rituals for children).

Cochin Jewish Cakes : This is made from a rich batter of semolina, eggs, sugar, ghee, raisins & nuts….. This is an Rosh Hashanah speciality.

Ural : Wheat pudding very similar to the halwa….. This is had to break fast during Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Chukunda : Tiny fried/baked sweet rice balls.

Achappam : Crunchy flower shaped snack…….similar to Struva, Swedish rosettes.

Sharkkara Ada : Stuffing made with coconut & jaggery is placed in rice dough and steamed in banana leaf…… This is eaten to break the 24 hour Fast of Ab.

Churullappam : Crepe filled with stuffing made with coconut & sugar.

Mooli : A hot drink is prepared by boiling coriander & cumin seeds in water….. Little cardamom, cinnamon & cloves are added….. Served hot with sugar….. This drink is served in those houses observing bereavement.

Cochini Jews have contributed vastly to the the varied cuisine of Kerala.

COCONUT RICE

This delicious rice dish of Cochini Jews is very interesting.

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INGREDIENTS : 2 cups Basmati rice, 1/2 cup grated coconut, 2 cups coconut milk, 3-4 onions, 1″ ginger, 1-2 cloves garlic, 3-4 cardamoms, 5-7 cloves, 1 2″ cinnamon stick, few black pepper corns, salt to taste, coconut oil, 2 cups water.

DIRECTIONS : Wash the rice thoroughly…….. Soak for at least half as hour….. Heat oil…… Finely chop onions and stir fry till golden brown……20170707_104753Grate the garlic cloves & ginger and add to fried onions….. Sauté…… Drain the rice and add to the above mixture…… Add salt….. Sauté……. Add cardamom, cloves, black pepper corns & cinnamon……. 20170707_105138Sauté……. Mix in grated coconut and coconut milk…..20170707_105347

20170707_105808Stir well….. When the rice mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat…… Cover….. Simmer for at least 10- 12 minutes……. Add water as required….. When done, remove from heat….. Keep aside covered for at least 10 minutes……. 20170707_114027Serve hot.

NOTE : Normally for each cup of Basmati rice, one requires 2 cups of water….. Here, as one is adding 2 cups of coconut milk, one should add 2 cups of water.

CHICKEN CUTLET

This Cochin Jewish style cutlets are very similar to schnitzels made in Austria…….. This is one of the favourite snacks of the Cochini Jews……. Can be also had as starters.

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INGREDIENTS : 500gms Chicken breasts, 8- 10 cloves garlic, 1/2 ” ginger, 2-3 green chillies, 1/2-1 tsp black pepper powder, salt to taste, 1 lemon(optional), 1-2 eggs, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup flour, oil as required.

DIRECTIONS : Wash & make fillets of chicken breasts…… Beat the fillet with mallet according to the thickness required……. Make a paste of garlic, ginger and green chillies……. marinate chicken fillets with the paste, black pepper powder, salt and lemon juice……… Mix bread crumbs with little salt……

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Dredge the chicken fillets in flour, then egg and finally bread crumbs to form cutlets…….

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Heat oil…. Fry the cutlets on medium heat till golden brown and crisp on both sides……

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Take out on paper towels…….. Serve hot.

NOTE : Lemon juice is optional…… Black pepper & green chillies can be reduced according to taste.

CHICKEN PASTEL

This is an old recipe, most probably, of Portuguese origin…… These are deep fried half moon parcels made with rice/flour and filled with stuffing ….. Various types of stuffings are made from different vegetables, eggs, fish, varieties of meats, etc……. Can be had as snacks/starters……

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INGREDIENTS :
For Dough : 3 cups rice flour/all purpose flour, 1 egg lightly beaten, 4tbsp melted butter, 1tbsp vegetable oil, 3/4th cup water, salt to taste.
For Stuffing : 500 gms chicken mince, 6-8 onions, few cloves garlic (optional), 1 potato, 2 carrots, 1-2 tsp black pepper powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1-2 tbsp vinegar, 2-3 green chillies, few sprigs of coriander, salt to taste.
Oil for frying.

DIRECTIONS : Mix together butter, oil, egg and water……. Combine about 2 cups flour and salt in another bowl……… Pour egg & butter mixture slowly into the salt & flour mixture…..Keep stirring so that the flour does not clump up…… Add rest of the flour while mixing with hands……. Keep working to form a ball and till the dough is not sticking on the fingers…. Knead till the dough is very smooth…… Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for at least for 15mins.

To make the stuffing, heat oil….. Add chopped green chilies, ground garlic & sliced onions…… Sauté…….Add finely chopped potatoes & carrots….. Sauté……. Now add in the minced chicken……..Mix in black pepper powder, turmeric powder & salt…. Cook covered till almost done and the mixture dries up…… Stir in vinegar and chopped coriander leaves….Sauté till done….. Cool.

Divide the dough in small balls….. Roll each ball out thinly…… Place a heaped spoon of stuffing on each , fold to make half moons and seal……. Deep fry these pastels in hot oil till golden brown…..Serve hot.

NOTE : If made with rice flour, covering the dough with damp cloth is a must.

 

COCHINI JEWISH CUISINE

My journey through Kerala cuisine is getting more & more interesting……. Found another cuisine – Cochini Jewish Cuisine…… Jews of Kerala mainly stay in & around Cochin…… That is why they are called Cochini Jews…… But they are not a single unit : Malabari Jews (also known as Black Jews) who stay mainly in Ernakulam’s Jewtown…. And…. Pardesi Jews ( also known as White Jews) who stay mainly in Matancherry’s Synagogue Lane……. Their Synagogues are different & they never intermarried…… Meshuararim Jews (also known as Brown Jews) are a tiny offshoot of the Pardesi Jews….. Malabari Jews most probably arrived in India as traders during the time of King Soloman…… While Pardesi Jews are a community of Sephardic Jews, who most probably arrived in Cochin, around 16th Century after their expulsion from Iberia.

Jewish cuisine is based on “Kashrut”…… Kashrut means keeping kosher in Hebrew……Kosher is the Hebrew word meaning fit……kashrut prohibits pork, fishes with no fins & scales ( i.e. no prawns, shrimps, lobsters, crabs, scallops, etc.) and mixing meat with dairy.

Malabari & Pardesi food are almost same except that Malabris have greater varieties of fish delicacies while Pardesis have richer vegetarian varieties.

The staple food of Cochinim is rice (unpolished/parboiled)….. Like all Keralites they have rice in different forms like idli, dosa, puttu, appam, etc……… Coconut & coconut products like coconut milk & coconut oil play an important role in this cuisine as these are safe from the point of view of Kashrut.

 

Syrian Christian Cuisine Conclusion ……

Journey through the Syrian Christian Cuisine has been a superb experience……. Also known as Nasrani/Suriani Cuisine, this wonderful cuisine is rich & varied……. Other than the dishes I have tried out there are so many…..
Fish Molee : Mildly spiced fish stew with coconut milk.
Palappam : Lace rimmed pancakes.
Vattayappam : Steamed spongy rice batter cakes.
Kallappam : Toddy pancakes.
Inriappam : Unleavened bread of rice & black beans….named after the abbreviation INRI on the crucifix….. Prepared & had on Maundy Thursday…. After supper, inriappam is dipped in molasses & coconut milk and offered to all family members in a symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper.
Tharavu Roast : Tharavu or Duck roast is generally made during festive occasions.

They have a wide varieties of sweet & savoury snacks called Palahaarams which can generally be stored in airtight containers……
Avalos Podi : Ground roasted rice, coconut, cumin seeds, salt mixture which is mixed with sugar.
Churuttu : Syrupy avalos podi encased in wafer thin pastry made from stiff unroasted pastry dough in banana leaf.
Avalos Unda : Grainy balls made with avalos Podi which is held together with a thin sugar syrup containing lime juice, ghee & cardamom powder.
Manga Thera : Mango & roasted rice flour leather/mat.
Elayappam/Ela Ada : Steamed banana leaf cakes…… These can be kept refrigerated for at least a week.
Kumbilappam/Chakka Appam : Steamed jackfruit cones steamed in fragrant vazhana (also known as Edana/ bay) leaves…. Lasts a week when refrigerated.

Mentioned a few…..there are so many!!!

Recipes handed down from generation to generation, Syrian Christian Cuisine is an unique part of Kerala.