On February 18, local Atlanta supper clubs Dinner Party Atlanta and Spice Route Supper Club have joined forces to bring you “An Evening in Kerala.” The event will be held downtown at The Grand Atrium: 200 Peachtree Street (formerly Macy’s), and the meal will be prepared by Asha Gomez – founder of the Spice Route Supper Club and former resident of Kerala, India (watch her in action on the event website).
Kerala is a state in the south-western region of India that faces the Arabian Sea. The area was a major port and subsequent player in the Euro-African-Asian spice route that traded black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger – all spices and ingredients popular in Indian cuisine.
An Evening in Kerala will be a 21-course vegetarian sadya (banquet feast) inclusive with music and dancing. Cocktails will begin at 8 p.m. followed by dinner at 9 p.m.
I recently spoke to Asha where she dished vibrantly about Kerala cuisine and what to expect at the event.
Q: So walk me through the sadya that you plan on throwing?
AG: Well a sadya is traditionally 13 dishes or more, the one on the 18th will be comprised of 21 vegetarian dishes. The first thing that is done is that banana leaves will be quickly run through flames to release the oils, as well as their pleasant aroma. The leaves will also develop a sheen, and then they will be laid down and used as plates, like it is traditionally done in Kerala.
Q: Is there a particular sequence that a sadya follows?
AG: Indeed! The meal usually begins with milder dishes and progresses into richer ones. First, we will lay out dried condiments such as dried banana and jackfruit chips followed by a small serving of rice, yellow lentil dal, and papadum (thin wafer bread) with ghee (clarified butter).
And then a rice and sambal (savory spicy soup) dish will be served followed by a series of yogurt-based curries, or pachadi as it’s called in Kerala. The vegetable dishes in the pachadi are very vibrant, which is the basic idea of a sadya. The leaves are your canvas and you fill it with colorful food like carrots, beets, pumpkin, cucumbers and okra.
Then following the pachadi will be thoran, which are sautéed vegetables such as curry leaves cooked in coconut oil. Thereafter I will do a different set of dishes that are not traditionally sadya but more demonstrative of my style. And of course, a dessert will follow along with chai tea.
Q: And what else can participants expect?
AG: There will be different segments of dances throughout the meal, and an MC will walk through the history of Kerala. And like a true sadya, non-alcoholic fruit drinks flavored with spices will be served as well.
A chance at free tickets for An Evening in Kerala
Does that make you hungry? In conjunction with the event, the AJC dining team will be giving away two free tickets at a value of $100 per ticket to one of you lucky readers.
To qualify, the first 50 comments that are submitted for this blog post will be entered in the drawing; then one name will be randomly selected sometime thereafter. Please ensure that you provide your correct email when you comment so that your confirmation can be delivered. Duplicate submissions will be discarded.
- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog
– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.