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Cuisines in kerala

The kerala Cuisine
The unusual cuisine of Kerala brings to the fore the culinary expertise of the people of Kerala. Producing some of the tastiest foods on earth, the people of Kerala are gourmets with a difference.
The cuisine is very hot and spicy and offers several gastronomic opportunities. The food is generally fresh, aromatic and flavoured. Keralites are mostly fish-and-rice eating people.
The land and the food are rich with coconut, though one can't imagine Kerala food without chilies, curry leaf, mustard seed, tamarind and asafoetida.

Just a pinchful of tamarind can substitute tomatoes, but there is no real substitute for curry leaf. Since time immemorial, coconut has been an integral part of the cuisine of Kerala. These people put to good use whatever the land offers and the result is a marvellous cuisine that is simple yet palate tickling. They relish equally a dish as simple as 'kanji' (rice gruel) or as extravagant as the 'sadya' (feast).

Sadya is the elaborate dish, which is a totally extravagant affair. Avial, an all time favourite, is a happy blend of vegetables, coconut paste and green chillies. Avial's seasoning is a spoonful of fresh coconut oil and a sprinkling of raw curry leaves, stirred in immediately after the dish is taken off the stove.

'Kottucurry' is made out of cubed potatoes, onions and green chillies cooked in coconut milk with plenty of red chilli. 'Olan', a bland dish of pumpkin and red grams is prepared by cooking it in thin gravy of coconut milk.

The rich and irresistible desserts form an essential part of the meals. These are served midway through the meals. Payasam is a thick fluid dish of brown molasses, coconut milk and spices, garnished with cashewnuts and raisins. There could be a succession of payasams, such as the lentil payasam and the jackfruit payasam, Bengal gram payasam and so on, though 'Adapradhaman', a rich payasam with thin rice wafers, is arguably the ultimate delicacy.

'Palppayasam', made with sugar, ghee and spices, brewed in creamy white milk is regarded as the last word in sweet dishes. This is served with a golden yellow sweet pancake known as 'boli'.

The Tangy Rasam
The hot Rasam, served after a delectable array of sweets, is a tangy deviation from the symphony of tastes and is poured on another serving of rice. The famous British 'Mulligatawny Soup' is said to have derived its flavour from Rasam.

Rasam is a mixture of chilly and pepper corns powders boiled in diluted tamarind juice. The pulissery is seasoned buttermilk with turmeric powder and green chillies. 'Moru' or plain sour buttermilk comes salted and with chopped green chillies and ginger.


Appam is the soft pancake made from toddy fermented rice batter, with a soft spongy middle, which is laced with crispy edges. It is generally consumed with either vegetable or chicken or mutton stew, thoroughly mellowed with thick coconut milk and garnished with curry leaves.

A type of steam cake, 'Puttu' is made from rice flour and steamed in long hollow bamboo or metal cylinders. Depending on the taste preference, Puttu can be had with steamed bananas and sugar or with a spicy curry made from gram or chickpeas.

Tapioca And Fish Curry
A sumptuous, mouthwatering delicacy, it's a not- to- be-missed combination of 'Kappa' and 'Meen curry'. With natural flavours erupting out of it liberally, the fish curry is made with garlic paste, onions and red chillies and seasoned with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Specialties in Kerala Cuisine
Kerala is noted for its variety of pancakes and steamed rice cakes made from pounded rice. Though the same ingredients are used all over the state, each of the communities has its own specialties.

For the Muslims, the lightly flavored biriyani-made of mutton, chicken, egg or fish-takes pride of place. In seafood, mussels are a favorite. A concoction of mussel and rice flour, cooked in the shell is called arikadaka. The Arab influence on the local cuisine is very visible in the rich meat curries and desserts. A community of Muslims who live in an area called Kuttichara, have a special dish-a whole roasted goat stuffed with chickens inside which are eggs.

For the Christians, who can be seen in large concentration in areas like Kottayam and Pala, ishtew (a derivation of the European stew), with appam is a must for every marriage reception. There would also be beef cutlets with sallas (a salad made of finely cut onions, green chilies and vinegar), chicken roast, olathan erachi (fried mutton, beef or pork), meen moilee (a yellow fish curry), meen mulagittathu (a fiery red fish curry), and peera pattichathu (a dry fish dish of grated coconut). Another interesting feature is the abundant use of coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coconut milk.

Kerala also has it's own fermented beverages -the famous kallu or (toddy) and patta charayam (arrack). Arrack is extremely intoxicating and is usually consumed with spicy pickles and boiled eggs (patta and mutta).

Rice Main Course of Food
The essential ingredient of the daily diet is rice. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is some rice preparation or the other, served along with a variety of fish. Fish is consumed in a variety of ways - it is preserved after being dried and salted or cooked in a delicious coconut gravy. Prawns, shrimps and crustaceans constitute some of the other famous delicacies.

Morning Meals

After the morning dose of coffee, a typical malayali household serves breakfast that may either consist of soft idlis, prepared out of a paste of

fermented rice and black pulses, or dosa, an oval spread of the same ingredients. Well-seasoned appams or periappams, made by mixing this paste with tomatoes, onions and other handy vegetables, are some of the other morning culinary delights.

Midday Meals
Midday meals consist of boiled rice that may be mixed with moru (curd or bitter milk) or rasam (thin clear pepper water or soup) and a range of vegetables. Pachadi is a delicious dish, cooked out of tiny pieces of mango, mixed with hot spices. Sambar, pulses prepared with vegetables is a standard daily fare. Thoran, a coconut-based dry fish dish that is mixed with minutely chopped vegetables, herbs and curry leaves, and similar to avial, which is cooked in a sauce, is another delectable dish. Pappaddakams, or crunchy round flakes made of rice flour, chutneys (a kind of sauce) and pickles, are scrumptious additions without which a meal is incomplete.

Wheat preparations are more popular in Muslim establishments. Well-prepared spirals called barottas and pathiris are made from refined flour, fried in oil and served with vegetables and curries. Chappathi, poori (a sort of baked or deep fried equivalent of bread) may be cooked optionally.

Diverse Use of Ingredients
A melange of aromas resulting from the free use of pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chillies, and mustard, used in most curries, fill the kitchens of the well-to-do, but generally the poorer folks content themselves with kanji (rice with water) and take fish with tapioca. Most dishes in Kerala are cooked in coconut oil and are incomplete without a mandatory use of coconut in some form or the other.

Kerala Snacks
Kerala is equally famous for traditionally homemade snacks a variety of banana chips, and rice flour cookies, are served with evening coffee

How To Eat food in Kerala
The method of serving a sadya or meal in Kerala is very precise. The leaves to be eaten from are always the end section of the plantain leaf. When it is laid on the table, the narrow part of the leaf must always be on the left side. Serving begins from the bottom left half of the leaf on which is placed a small yellow banana. Next to this are served jaggery coated banana chips plain banana chips and papad. Then beginning from the top left half of the leaf are placed lime curry, mango pickle, in jipuli (a thick ginger tamarind curry), lime pickle, thoran (a dry mix of any vegetable with coconut), vegetable stew or olan (gourd is the main ingredient), aviyal (a thick mixture of vegetables in a coconut based gravy), Pachadi (raw mango and curd mixture) and khichdi.

Only after all these are placed on the leaf, does the person begin eating. Thereafter the rice is served at the bottom center. The sambhar (a lentil based gravy that came to Kerala from neighboring Tamil Nadu) and kalan (a curry of yam and curd, spiced with pepper) is poured onto the rice. When the meal is over, pradaman (rice flour, coconut milk and jaggery) or pal payasam (sugar sweetened milk and rice) is served onto the leaf. After dessert, rasam (fiery pepper water) is poured into cupped hands to be drunk and then a little bit of curd to aid digestion


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