The Cochin Jewish Book of Meat and Fish
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For 2000 years, the Jews of Cochin from India's Malabar coast adhered to dietary laws of the Hebrew Bible. Coconut milk-laced, spiced, aromatic dishes of grain, vegetables and permitted meats and fish became quintessentially kosher and Jewish. Coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and coconut dominate their cuisine. The Cochinis in Israel still serve/enjoy the same traditional Kerala fare. More
The Cochinim (as the Jews from Cochin are called in Israel), like Jews across the world, love their food. However, their diet does not have the bland cholent, kishke and gefilte that are considered traditional Jewish fare. Throughout the 2000 years of their joyful history in the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin, on the lush, rain-swept Malabar coast of India, the observance of kosher laws has been absolute and a mark of their identity. They acculturated without being assimilated into the dominant culture of the Hindus. The Cochini cuisine is a flavourful combination of rich spices like cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper combined with coconut and coriander to make a wonderful array of dishes, all adhering to the strict dietary laws of the Hebrew Bible. Every Cochin Jewish kitchen became a place for gourmet cooking, with dishes that burst with flavour and health, tantalizing and satiating generations. The Jewish housewife picked up ideas from friends, neighbors and acquaintances, tweaked them to conform to Jewish law and passed it down from generation to generation.They infused their dishes with the magic of tamarind and curry leaves, and created others using ginger, turmeric, asafoetida, red and green chillies and fenugreek. Aromas, colours, mystery flavours, the heat of chillies and spices cooled with coconut milk combine to make Keralan and Cochini cuisine a kaleidoscopic adventure that keeps rolling through the day - everyday. The Cochinis in Israel still prepare the same traditional fare. As they say in Hebrew, "Be Te’avon" - Enjoy!
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