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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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