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.