Friday, July 6, 2012

Cardamom Kitchen iPad App

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Susan Pachikara (COPYRIGHT 2011)

My parents left India in the early 60s to begin their lifelong adventures in North America. Children of Kerala’s midlands, they grew up with lush paddy fields, towering coconut trees, and the flavor of hundreds of varieties of bananas – some subtle, some strong. They watched the monsoon rains coax pepper vines out of the ground and give birth to prickly skinned chakka (jackfruit) and fleshy manga (mangoes) the color of the sun.

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Susan Pachikara (COPYRIGHT 2011)

Like other immigrants, my parents left much of their lives behind when they left India. To quell their longing for home and close the 8,000 mile divide, they recreated the flavors of Kerala in their tiny Midwest kitchen. My mom loaded the cupboards with turmeric and cumin and coriander that she shipped in from a retailer in New York. She cracked open hairy coconuts to shred their chewy flesh and squeeze out their thick milk. My father stocked the counter with bananas and any other tropical fruit he could find. 

Spinach in Spiced Yogurt 1
Preparing Spinach in Spiced Yogurt 

By the time I came around, the ingredients my parents knew as children were easier to find.  I grew up with the heady smell of sautéed ginger and the floral flavor of cardamom like my cousins in India. Even though we were in the Bible belt, we had parboiled rice and moru kachiyathu (turmeric-flavored yogurt) nearly every night.  

Kerala Fried Shrimp 3
Preparing Kerala Fried Shrimp

As a child, I swore I would never fix a Malayalee meal when I lived on my own. But by the time I left home, the flavors of Kerala had sunken into my bones. To recreate the flavors of my mom's kitchen, I began to write down family recipes step-by-step, line-by-line. Grandma Anne’s Stir-fried Cabbage with Coconut. Grandma Susan’s Pan-fried Plantains. My mom’s Mild Fish Curry. 


The Cardamom Kitchen iPad App includes 25 of my favorite family recipes featuring the flavors of Kerala - a place National Geographic Travel Magazine called “Paradise Found." Full-flavored and fool-proof, the recipes call for simple cooking techniques (boiling, stir-frying or sauteing) and can be easily mastered. The App also includes over 130 step-by-step photos to lead users through every dish, start to finish. So if you'd like embark on a culinary tour of Kerala for less than the cost of a tall Mocha Coconut Frappuccino, come along with me.
Advance purchase required!
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