"The only Kerala dish without curry leaves is boiled rice," jokes chef John Samuel, tossing spices into a bubbling pot of coconut and cashew curry. Bright and aromatic, southern Indian cooking is a revelation to palates dulled by ghee-laden northern Indian dishes. And nowhere does this explosion of flavors converge better than in the southwestern state of Kerala. Its lush coastline has been a magnet for seafarers for centuries, and its cuisine still bears Portuguese, Jewish and Arab influences. These join a native storehouse of ingredients rich with Ayurvedic properties: turmeric is said to be good for the complexion, and...
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