So it’s flatbreads in North India. But down south in Kerala it’s rice.
And not just good old Basmati. Here there’s a rice unique to Kerala. Big, soft velvety grains in a reddish-brown colour. Not surprisingly it’s called Rose Rice. It’s unpolished, full of Vitamin B and fibre with a robust and earthy flavor. And amateur cooks need not worry about it turning into a sticky mess. The grains separate and maintain their shape easily. You may want to take a kilo home!
Rose rice works very well with fish curry (try Alleppey Fish curry on our dinner menu). And blends equally with chicken and vegetarian dishes. But avoid some north Indian dishes like, for example, Chicken Patiala because that chicken dish is wrapped in a pancake. Roti like chapatti is a better combination here.
History has it, or maybe hearsay, that South Indians have been big rice-eaters since 1 AD. Certainly its popularity today would suggest it’s been part of the staple diet here for centuries. And sometimes there’s no escaping it in one guise or another. Even at breakfast time it may peer out at you dressed up as something else. Take, for example, the wonderful doshai . They’re made primarily from rice flour. Then at lunch time it’s rice again in the form of lacy light pancakes known as appams.
But don’t worry. The disguise is subtle. You’ll love it.