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Hiden India: The Kerala Spicelands Sunset with Palm Trees
kerala & her spices
Hidden Korea


Below are some recipes to try. Just click on what interests your appetite.



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2 T. coconut oil (or substitute peanut oil)

1 t. whole mustard seeds

10 curry leaves

1 T. chopped onion

1 t. chopped garlic

½ t. finely chopped whole green chili

¼ t. chili powder

pinch turmeric powder

pinch powdered fennel seed

8 medium prawns ( or large shrimp, 10-15 count), cleaned and de veined

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 T. shredded dry coconut

Heat coconut oil in deep, heavy skillet. Add mustard seeds and sauté until they crackle. Add curry leaves, chopped onion, and chopped garlic, and finely chopped green chili. Sauté until onion turns translucent. Add chili powder, coriander powder turmeric powder, powdered fennel seed and sauté, stirring until well blended. Add prawns or shrimp along with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Remove to warm serving dish, sprinkle with shredded coconut and serve. Serves 4 as appetizer or accompanied with lots of rice.

(From: Chef B.T. Pillai, Taj Garden Retreat, Varkala, Kerala

Note: Curry leaves are from a small tree native to India. They are available in Indian and some Asian stores. If you cannot find them, then omit from the recipe.


2 t. coriander powder

1 t. chili powder

½ t. turmeric powder

¼ t. dried mustard

¼ t. freshly ground black pepper

2 T. peanut oil

½ cup sliced onions

1 T. chopped fresh ginger

3 long green chilies (cayenne or serrano), slit open along one side

5-6 fresh curry leaves

½ t. finely chopped garlic

1 lb. Fish filets (ocean perch or whitefish will do), cut into 2-inch x 2-inch pieces

¼ - ½ t. white vinegar

salt to taste

water to cover fish

1 cup coconut milk, mixed with 1 cup water.

Stir together the coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, dried mustard and ground black pepper. Heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add green chilies and saute until saute until soft. Add mixed powders and saute well, stirring until well mixed. Add curry leaves and garlic and saute gently until garlic just turns color. Add fish to pan together with vinegar and salt. Add fish and water to just cover fish. Bring water to gentle boil, cover pan and cook until the water is reduced to half its volume, about 5-10 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and stir the coconut milk gently to mix with spices. Cook gently, uncovered until the sauce becomes thickened to taste, about 5 minutes or more. Place on warm serving plate and serve with lots of rice. Serves 4.

(adapted from Mrs. K.M. Mathews’ Kerala Cookery, (Kottayam, Kerala, 1985)