"Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is a wonderful book: a moving glance into a world that I would never otherwise have encountered. Recipes that make me want to rush to the kitchen, intriguing techniques that could be used with other cuisines, fascinating personal stories about growing up in a big Kerala household, all embedded in a deep understanding of Kerala as a pivot of Asian history. It's a wonderful tribute to Kerala and a stunning gift for the rest of us."
Culinary Historian and author of The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii's Culinary Heritage. Winner of the 1997 IACP Jane Grigson Prize for Distinguished Scholarship
"Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is a jewel of a cookbook---from its authentic recipes (many published here for the first time) to Amminni Ramachandran's evocative personal anecdotes of Kerala's culinary traditions. It is at once scholarly, yet accessible, and especially charming for its delicious recipes and intriguing stories from the royal kitchens of Kochi".
Author of The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen
Winner of IACP best international cookbook
and co- author of The Breath of a Wok
Winner of the 2005 IACP Jane Grigson Prize for Distinguished Scholarship and the IACP best international cookbook
"In this passionate celebration of her ancestral cuisine, Ammini Ramachandran deftly interweaves history, religion, tradition, geography, and especially, intimate family memories to bring the delicious Keralan story to life. Her recipes were savored not just at home but at temples too, where priests doled out scrumptious spicy brown chickpeas or sweet rice pudding treats. Foods that have been blessed, she says, "had a very special taste". A lush area of diverse vegetation on the southwest coast of India, Kerala is unique not only for its age-old interaction with foreigners, but also for its matrilineal society. As large, extended joint families give way to smaller, nuclear ones and many Keralans have scattered around the world, Ammini tells us, "Today life in a tharavad [traditional home] is merely an old memory." Familiar with the dosas and idlis of this cuisine, I was tantalized by the rich panople of vegetarian recipes detailed here: from an extraordinary coconut rice to luscious fudges and semolina puddings; from a hot potato salad to fenugreek-fragrant mashed spinach and rasam, the predecessor of mulligatawny soup. Ammini makes it all very accessible, beginning with thorough explanations of the fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables emphasized in the Keralan kitchen. She demystifies all the various kinds and types of grains, flours, and legumes I had always stared longingly at in Indian groceries. And she shares her discoveries: sensible substitutions, invaluable trucs (including a method for salting any deep-fried food), and suggestions for integrating these traditional recipes into non-traditional menus. The world that Ammini chronicles may have vanished, but her food, enriched with memory and love, offers a very special taste for us all".
Food Writer and author of Gefilte Variations: 200 Inspired Re-creations of Classics from the Jewish Kitchen, with Menus, Stories, and Traditions for the Holidays and Year-Round
"Ammini Ramachandran has taken a big leap forward on behalf of Indian Cuisines for the Western audience. Her richly detailed focus on her home state of Kerala and its historical significance in the spice trade is a much-needed addition to Indian culinary literature. Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts press our fingers right on the cultural and culinary pulse of Ammini’s beloved homeland. Best of all her recipe work! With Ammini’s loving guidance through her clearly written recipes the far away and the exotic are completely at home in an American kitchen."
Chef instructor, The California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu Program
"Kerala's vegetarian cuisine is notably different from cuisines from other parts of India because of its semi-isolated geographic location and influence of centuries of spice trade. I believe what differentiates Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is that it presents this cuisine against a backdrop of culinary and cultural history. The development of spice trade and more of Kerala's colorful past is the subject of a historical chapter. A comprehensive glossary provides the origins and history of every grain and spice used, along with any folklore associated with it. The recipes in this book can easily be integrated into any menu and will add variety and interest to the vegetarian or non-vegetarian's culinary repertoire."
Writer and Author of
The Spice is Right.Callawind Publications Inc., and
Everything Indian Cookbook. Adams Media Corporation
"Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is a labor of love. To me, an urban Indian from North India, it is a fascinating read, offering both mouth-watering recipes and a personal account of an ancient and unique matrilineal culture. Highly educational yet approachable, this is a must-have for anyone interested in the food and customs of the Indian subcontinent."
Cooking School Teacher and Author of
Easy Indian Cooking. Robert Rose