Kadumanga (above left, flanked by lemon pickle) is a signature accompaniment to the food of Kerala, in southwest India. This tiny restaurant's rendition of diced unripe mango, dosed with chili paste, has an uncompromising bite, according to one Kerala-born Chowhound.
A couple of months earlier, our table of four agreed that the pickles are great, but we also got the impression that catering is a large component of Kerala Masala Hut's business. Curry leaves, noted on the menu, were not evident in dry-sauteed chicken pepper Sukkavaruval (first photo below, $9.95). It was tasty nonetheless, but a savvy tablemate suggested that calling in advance might prompt the kitchen to shop more diligently for fresh vegetables and herbs. Also shown: mutton kothu parota (at bottom, $12), "chopped layered bread" sauteed with tomato, scallions, and cilantro sprouts. If Keralans celebrated Thanksgiving, we agreed, this is what their stuffing might taste like.
Kerala Masala Hut
261-01 Jericho Turnpike (at 246th St.), Bellerose, Queens