Not many people would associate India with beef. Spirituality yes, perhaps even vegetarianism, but certainly not beef.But then they have probably never been to Kerala, We the people of Kerala love our beef – preferably fried. No one can take it away as we are united for it . Try doing it and you will face the wrath of Malayalees.
The Kerala beef fry is the stuff of legend.
The best sort, is served at tiny shops by the roadside, so nondescript that you might miss them completely if not for the aroma wafting out. The dish is available in such wide manner in Kerala that you can call it our signature dish.It is a truly delicious smell with hints of coconut, curry leaves, cinnamon, cloves, coriander powder and roasted chilly. Such shops don’t bother you with menus. If you have come in , it means you need beef fry.
That’s the only thing most of the Keralites without any discrimination of religion , caste , gender or size wants and orders .Also along with it the quintessential Kerala bread, “Malabar Porotta” . I too normally do the same whenever I go to a roadside shop.
“When I put beef fry in my mouth, my tongue tells me I am in real heaven now,” . May this is also one more reason why Kerala is called “Gods Own Country”. The key to this “heavenly” dish is coconut, a selection of Kerala spices and a lot of patience. If anyone needs the recipe you can get in touch with us and we will guide you through the process.
To make authentic beef fry or “Thanga Kotthu Irachi”, the meat has to be stir fried along with coconut flakes on a slow flame for quite a long time.
People who visit Kerala prefer beef curry, made in a gravy of tomatoes and coconut milk, since that is what they associate with Indian food, but it is the beef fry that is the most popular preparation with locals in Kerala. Full of flavour, it can be had every day or made part of a special Sunday lunch.
The recipe for beef fry incorporates a special preparation of ground spices that include coriander powder, chilli, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves.
This fragrant mixture is massaged on to small cubes of beef along with an equal portion of coconut chunks.
This is then all slow cooked in a pan with a heavy bottom. The more the beef is roasted, the darker the colour and richer the aroma of the dish.
“I love that it is so succulent and melts in my mouth, and unlike mutton and chicken, it is light on the stomach”,
This love for beef is, as mentioned before, unusual for Hindu-majority India, but we Keralites don’t care and please don’t come to us preaching about anything otherwise.
“Beef is very important for Kerala. There can be a Hindu, Muslim and Christian sitting at one table and they’d bond over a plate of beef fry and Porotta despite any differences of caste and class,”
Beef is such an intrinsic part of the Kerala identity in fact, it has even become political. But as a normal Kerala person I don’t care about it . I just want to enjoy my beef.
For the average Kerala citizen, spicy beef and a couple of glasses of the locally brewed coconut toddy are essential fodder for heady political debates.
If they ever decide to ban beef in Kerala , I swear you will find me on the streets along with my fellow men on the streets. And I assure you that will be the most secular protest that you will ever see in India , after the Independence struggle, which too was marred by many incidents though.