We were excited to cook with Aroma Dipu at the Casa Linda Restaurant and Cooking School in Kochi. We always wonder if the experiences we have will be a good match for you when you (hopefully, someday) travel to this corner of India.
Aroma came highly recommended and we had such a great time with her and her family, we know Casa Linda Cooking School will be a great match for you too. And, as it turns out, Aroma and her family know all about making great matches.
Aroma and her family
Our first impression of Aroma was her calm, kind way of being. She smiled as she arranged bowls of brightly coloured diced and chopped ingredients on the tables she had pushed together for our cooking lesson at Casa Linda.
Born and raised in Kochi, Aroma runs this restaurant/hotel with her husband Dipu. South Indian women take the first name of their husband as their last name when they marry. Thus Aroma became Aroma Dipu when she married. Aroma and Dipu not only gave us a cooking lesson, they also taught us a lot about South Indian marriages and customs.
Match making 101
We asked about the secret of their ability to live so happily while commuting and working long hours together. Dipu smiled and told us that when their families made their match, they knew it would be a good one. He went on to explain.
Dipu and Aroma’s parents both hired astrologers to seek marriage partners for their children. Aroma and Dipu matched perfectly on seven of the 10 standard categories. For context, four to five is considered an acceptable match. So, with a score of seven, they felt confident they would have a nice life together. Two children and many years later, they are living the astrologer’s prediction to a tee.
They not only get along well, but so do their parents. Though the couple work downtown near the Fort Kochi waterfront, they live seven kilometres away from their restaurant. They explain that by living a little out of town, their parents can live with them. The parents are happy to care for the children and home while Dipu and Aroma grow their business. They smile and talk about this blessing of being happy with one’s partner in life.
With so many of us in the Western world surfing between work and home, we often lack ways to connect with potential partners. Many utilize dating sites for virtual introductions. So, while it’s tempting to think the ancient custom of match-making might be quaint or outdated, Aroma and Dipu took it in a different light. “Even in India, people use the web to connect, but, we thought, our families know us best, so who better to choose for us?”
Then, Dipu related the story of his brother and his wife who had a match of nine out of 10. “You can’t believe how happy they are!” he said chuckling.
Cooking with Aroma
With this light mood in the air, we turned our attention to cooking. Dipu’s mother Susheela was there to assist Aroma. We were happy for the privilege of learning one of her best recipes for prawns and will share that recipe with you in a later post.
Susheela was VERY shy and didn’t speak much English but we saw how much ease there was between the family members. Our time at Casa Linda flowed by like the breeze through the open windows.
We’ve shared a bit about Kochi and fun things to do and places to stay in previous posts. Over the next few posts, we’ll share Susheela’s Coconut Prawns and Aroma’s Fish Moilee, Appams, Fresh Coconut Milk, Coconut Chutney and an all-time favourite Keralan dish called Ishtoo.
In case you are wondering, Aroma’s food scored a 10 out of 10 match for fulfilling our hunger for the tastes of Kerala. And, we think you’ll truly enjoy a cooking lesson with Aroma Dipu at the Casa Linda Cooking School.