Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kerala Coconut Curd For A Green St. Patricks Day Dinner.

   Every year there comes a day when everybody is Irish. I'm talking about St. Patrick's Day. It's one of those peculiarly American holidays when no matter who you are or where your family originally came from, we're all part of one big, noisy partying horde. The streets are jammed with parades, people wear buttons saying "Kiss Me I'm Irish" and the rivers run green. In some places, that can actually be a refreshing change.

   So what does a blog dedicated to Indian food have to do with the wearing of the green? Usually the greens I'm mainly dealing with are cilantro sprigs rather than shamrocks but hey, actually I'm part Irish. My full name is Kathleen Anne Bridget Gori.

   Waaaaay way back, part of my mothers' family came from the town of Killawillen in the Barony of Barrymore in the Blackwater Valley just outside of Cork. Three sisters arrived in San Francisco in January of 1851. One of them was my great, great grandmother. Things being as they were in the boom-town that was early day San Francisco, following a rather "hus-hush" evening at the Infamous Bella Union gambling saloon and Temple of Terpsichore, where where according to family legend, she was known to earn a few extra bucks of an evening blowing on dice for unlucky gamblers... was there she hooked up with a dashing 49'er from New Orleans of French Ancestry, my great great grandfather John. John got around. He was a successful businessman who did what smart guys did during the gold rush. They sold stuff to other guys looking for gold. 8 years later in 1859, he made an honest woman of her when they married at Old St. Mary's Church, still standing today. One of my favorite stories about this old church where I went to confession as a child, was it's clock tower which bore the motto: "Son, Observe the Time and Fly from Evil" (Ecclesiasticus 4:23). This gentle reminder was aimed at the men who frequented the surrounding "joints" such as The Bella Union  in the 1850s.

   Great grandpa had a lot of hobbies not the least of which was this organization of which he was the President.

"ST. MARY'S TEMPERANCE, BENEVOLENT, ANT)  LIBRARY ASSOCIATION.— Organized 1867. Regular meetings first and Third Sundays of each month. Number of members, sixty. Library open every first and third Sunday from two to four-o'clock p.m. This association has been organized for the purpose of protecting the Catholic working man against the moral and social evils (Bella note) usually attendant upon a life of arduous and precarious labor. A large reading room has been fitted up for the accommodation of the society in the basement of Saint Marys Cathedral.(no girls allowed) It has a carefully selected library, numbering at present over two thousand five hundred volumes, consisting of all the Catholic works published in America, to which will soon be added those of Irish and English publishers. There is also a good collection of other useful and instructive works. "

Their child met this guy, the second on the left in the back, Iron Mike Walsh.

   Mike was a member of the San Francisco Police Department's Chinatown Squad. Born in San Francisco in 1854, he joined the department in 1880 and at his death in 1921, was it's longest serving officer. No retirement in those days. Supposedly he was undercover ( look at him! how that worked I have no idea) and moonlighted as a bare knuckle boxer. One sparring partner was John L Sullivan. After that, the Irish fade from my mom's family tree, swamped in a sea of Italian immigrants and names ending in vowels.

  As for my dad's side, fuggedabout it! They're straight off the boat from Italy. Never the less, every year at this time, I get a little Irish pride on and go looking for green in various forms. This time I think I've found something that makes a perfect Irish looking accent to any Indian dinner, and that's a Kerala Coconut Curd.

   Before I started cooking Indian food, all I knew from curds were Little Miss Muffets Curds and Whey. Curds however are a whole lot tastier than that. They're a delicious blend of yogurt, spices and in the case of this recipe, coconut! They mix up super fast and are a perfect side on any table, no matter what you're serving.Did I mention they're fast to fix? Yes they are. Mix this up and in 15 minutes your relishing.


Coconut Curd

What you need:

For The Curd:

6 Tbs of fresh grated coconut or 8 Tbs of dried grated unsweetened coconut
6 green serrano chilies seeded and chopped
A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
2 bunches of finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups of plain yogurt

For the Chaunk:

3 Tbs of vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)
2 tsp of brown mustard seeds
2 tsps of channa dal (yellow split peas)
1 tsp of urad dal (if you can't find this don't worry about it)
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
2 dried red chilies broken in half
A few curry leaves

Here's What To Do:

Put the coconut , green chilies, ginger and some of the cilantro in a blender or food processor.
Blend everything into a fine paste.
Add the paste to the yogurt and mix it together.
Add in the salt and set it aside.

In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot, toss in the mustard seeds, the yellow split peas, urad dal, cumin seeds, halved dried red chilies, and a few curry leaves.

 Stir the spice mix around in the hot oil.

When the mustard seeds start to pop, mix everything into the yogurt salad.

 Blend everything together well.

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the salad.
Garnish it with the cooked curry leaves.
Salt to taste
Serve it cold.
This recipe serves 8 as a side dish.

 This is a great spicy/cool relish, wonderful with the vegetarian South Indian dinner I served it with. But it works equally well with the grilled chicken I served it with the next afternoon. So, no matter where you are on March 17th, add a little bit of India to your St. Patricks Day table.

Now, here's another celebration I'd like to invite everyone to take part in, #Indianfoodpalooza !

  Creative Culinary , Indian Simmer and I would like to invite you  to come cook with us in the month of March! Learn the pleasures of the Indian table. Take the plunge!  Whether you've always cooked Indian food or don't know a dosa from a donut, everybody's welcome. The idea is to have some fun and learn a few new dishes.

To participate and be eligible to win all one has to do is this: 

  Post an Indian dish on your blog between March 5, 2012 and April 5, 2012.
   Link your dish up using the linking tool at the bottom of the post; only one entry per person
please. Entering your dish on any of our sites will have it display on all three
   Put a link in your post to this post so that your readers can join us too!

The hashtag for the event: #IndianFoodPalooza

  We  also decided to offer prizes, since that always makes things more interesting. Prizes to be awarded include:

  Dried Coconut  (which I use nearly everyday) from Tropical Traditions for one of our readers that link up a recipe (We have three separate prizes from this company; each of us will be posting
something unique.)

 A set of Indian Spices ( from
My Spice Sage. Ten (4 oz) resealable bags. See website for full product information.
  J.K. Adams artisan maple cutting board from my Creative Culinary's Vino Luci ( store; a wine accessory and gift store.

   Prize winners will be chosen and winners notified April 5, 2012 using the email included on the link created. Winners will have until April 10, 2012 to respond with shipping information or another winner will be chosen.

Please note:  We want to encourage everyone to join us and share their experience but our
sponsors are shipping prizes directly and have requested that we limit the shipping area to the Continental USA.

Inspired? Ready to give this a whirl? The check these out:

Barbara at Creative Culinary is offering a Mumbai Sandwich
Prerna at Indiansimmer is featuring Jalebi

Here are more ideas for great Indian recipes:
  1. KO Rasoi by Sanjana
  2. Chef In You
  3. eCurry by Soma Rathore
  4. Journey Kitchen by Kulsum
  5. Cook In a Curry by Maunika Gowardhan
  6. Tongue Ticklers by Harini Prakash
  7. Lite Bite by Sanjeeta
  8. Veggie Belly by Sala Kanan
  9. Kothiyavunu which is a great source for Kerala recipes
  10. Sandhyas Kitchen
  11. Cookbooks by Suvir Saran and Madhur Jaffrey



  1. First, I love this recipe. Second, I am so enthralled with your family story! How fascinating...those photos are awesome.

    1. Thanks so much! I love it too and yes my ancestors are a pretty colorful bunch!

  2. I relish it. Interesting background and beautiful pictures.

  3. curd looks absolutely delicious.....what gorgeous clicks n beautiful presentation !



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