(Photo of Malabar Prawn Biryani, from Eastern Spices)
Ever since Sunita’s family introduced me to the absolutely crazy food in Calicut (Kozhikode), I consider myself a staunch honorary citizen. If luscious food weren’t enough, Calicut is also one of India’s ancient cities; the centre of the old world’s spice trade, particularly Pepper trade. So, it has Food & History going for it, which is two strong strikes for that city.
So, when I heard that the good citizens of the city have set up a Calicut Heritage Forum, I was very pleased.
Given Calicut’s ancient links to the larger world through the spice trade, the local cuisine is probably one of the world’s earliest ‘fusion cuisines’, what with its influences from the ancient Tamil Kingdoms, the Arabs on their way to Malacca and later the Mulsims from Central Asia via India’s north. Maybe someone can help document and develop this aspect – say, The Top 100 recipes of Malabar. Maybe someone could even set up a ‘School of Ancient Malabar Cooking’!
I for one, will feel happy contributing time, effort and resources to this noble cause. In the meantime, if any of you get to Calicut, please do check out the Malabar Biryani & the Prawn Fry at Paragon restaurant under the flyover in downtown Calicut.