Cuisine of Kerala
This tropical green state on the southwest of India is skirted by 373 miles of beautiful palm-fringed coastline, and a charming laid-back way of life. A truly idyllic setting for peace and tranquility.
Flanked by the Arabian sea on the west, and endowed with an abundant of fragrant spices like pepper, cardamom, ginger, clove and cinnamon, this part of India has attracted flotillas for centuries from every corner of the globe like Phoenicia, Greece, China, Arabia, Syria, Portugal, France, Netherland, Rome and Britain.
The cuisine of Kerala takes full advantage of the lands produce: excellent seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fine meat. The food here is invariably rich and spicy. Coconuts grow in abundance in Kerala, and consequently, grated coconut and coconut milk are widely used in dishes and curries.
The staple food of Keral is parboiled rice. Blessed with a charming myriad of rivers and backwaters, Keralites are fortunate to enjoy a wide variety of fresh and salt water fish and seafood. Fresh catches like black pearl spot, prawns, oysters and squid are used to prepare tantalizing seafood delicacies. Dry, salted fish also feature heavily in the menu
The cuisine of Kerala is seasoned with curry leaves, chilly peppers, asafetida, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds among other spices rendering food its distinctive flavor. Souring agents like tamarind, limejuice and kodampulli (kokum or garcinia indica) are used to add zing to most dishes.
Kerala is known for its traditional banquet or sadhya, a vegetarian meal served with boiled rice and a host of side-dishes. The sadhya is complemented by payasam, a sweet milk dessert native to Kerala. The typical Kerala is served on a banana leaf, and consists of many vegetarian dishes, topped with `payasam'. If you ever have a chance to experience sadya, my advice is not to miss it. It's going to be a totally novel experience.
Malabari biryani, karimeen pollichathu (steamed fish in plantain leaf), chemmeen ularthiyathu (prawn roast), kappa (tapioca cake) with meen mulakittthu (a fiery red fish curry), appam (laced pancakes) with stew, kadumanga achar (tender mango pickle), kanji and payar (rice gruel with beans) are some of the defining staples and most celebrated dishes from this region.
Popular vegetarian dishes include sambar, aviyal, Kaalan, theeyal, thoran puli-sherry, o-lan, erisherry, puli-inji, kappa (tapioca), etc.
Common non-vegetarian dishes include stew using chicken, beef, lamb, or fish, traditional chicken curry, fish moli, fried fish, etc.
The National Geographic Traveler magazine rated breakfast in Kerala – puttu (steamed rice cakes), idiappam (string hoppers), appam (lacey rice pancakes), idli/doas (fermented rice pancakes) and pathiri (unleavened rice pancakes) – as one of the best in the world. What's more, Kerala was ranked world's 50 must-see destinations and also one of "ten earthly paradises" by the same magazine.