Please come with me through this Peppertrail to my corner of the pepper country, the old kingdom of Kochi, in central Kerala. Black pepper, the most widely used spice in the world, is native to my home state of Kerala, located at the southwestern tip of India. Centuries ago black pepper attracted many foreign traders to our shores. This long history of foreign trade had considerable impact on our agriculture, cuisine and to a certain extent even on our language.
The Nayars (hereditary warriors) and the Royalty of Kerala still continue to observe the ceremonial aspects of the ancient matrilineal system. To be in Kerala at any time of the year is to be in the midst of a festival. Astrology, convention, and resourcefulness together have bestowed us with a wealth of festive days. Each of these festivals features certain specific dishes that are prepared only on that occasion. And in each family, the same festive dishes for each of these occasions continue to be prepared and served by one generation after another.
Let me introduce you through these articles to our ancient cultural traditions, fascinating food history and our delicious and simple cuisine.