A huge mound of rice appears on the plate in front of me. It glitters with oil, speckled with spots of burgundy marigold and olive green. Neglecting to eat with my left hand like the locals do, I grab the big metal spoon and dive into the edible hill before me. The seasoned rice is not left without comrades; chunks of sauteed vegetables like potato, carrots and onions abound in the middle. Sparks of saffron, coriander and mint dance together, mingling with the guest of honour, biryani masala. Mildly spicy, the dish is devoured quickly, my spoon digging in until I’m wholly sated with hearty home-cooking. This traditional, authentic Kerala dish of heaping proportion is served fresh everyday for 60R (less than 2USD) at Joy’s blue alley-side restaurant in Kovalam.