The author,Lathika George is a Bombay-born Syrian Christian who moved to Kerala in her teens.All the illustrations in the book are by the authors sister Latha George.
The first thing you'd notice in the book are the pretty illustrations.Especially the one of a typical Suriani household kitchen and those pretty ones of bharanis,urulis,velakku,coconut tree,in short each one is worth writing about.
A brief history about the Syrian Christians of Kerala follows and makes for an interesting read.Despite being a Keralite,I never knew most of the stuff that is written,which clearly explains the great amount of research gone into the book.
Suriani is a generic term used for Syrian Christians in Kerala.Though primarily Kerala based,the Suriani Christians have a cuisine unique to them.It is predominantly non-vegetarian with much importance given to sea-food.Vegetarian side-dishes are a part of the menu too,most of them simple and quite easy to put together.
The book is classified into Rice preparations,Vegetables and lentils,Seafood,Beef,Mutton and Pork dishes,Poultry and Eggs,Accompaniments,Sweet and Savory snacks,Pickles & Puddings and Payasams.As expected,it has all the Syrian favorites Beef Ularthiyathu,Duck Roast,Mutton Biriyani,Yesterdays Fish curry to name a few.
No worries for the vegetarians since there are some great vegetarian dishes too-Cherupayar Olathiyathu,Chena Erissery,Koon Olathiyathu,Cashewnut Saute and many more.
I think more than the recipes,the book makes for a good read.Contrary to cookbooks with recipes,most of the posts here include a li'l anecdote from the author.Like this Achinga Payar Ularthu,which comes with a full page folklore about two dove sisters.
Little sister dove,kurr,kurr,
A measure of beans,kurr,kurr"
Or the Spicy Bharani Soup which so wonderfully explains the ritual baths for the new born baby and the mother by the 'kulapir chedathi'.
"Special baths start as soon as the child is born,or in modern times,when the mother and child are brought home from the hospital.The process begins around ten in the morning when the sun has risen high.The dhanwanthari thailam,a medicated oil prepared especially for this purpose,is warmed and lavishly applied all over the new mother's body,followed by a vigorous massage which lasts for an hour"
The pictures[though less] are very beautiful too.But it would have been nice if many of the pictures were in colour,than in black and white.
If you like Kerala non-veg cooking,you'll like this book.If you like reading cookbooks[like me!],you'll like it too!Keep watching this space for more dishes from The Suriani Kitchen!