Tasty food of Kerala
- On 2021-01-07
Kerala is a state in Southern India that is known as a tropical paradise with wide sandy beaches. Kerala is also known as the Spice garden of India because of the variety of spices it grows in the entire year. The capital of Kerala is Thiruvananthapuram. Kerala stretches for about 580 km along the Malabar Coast, varying in width from roughly 30 to 120 km.
According to Hindu mythology, Kerala was created by Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu by throwing his ax across the sea to create new land for his devotees to live peacefully. So, Kerala is God's own creation, hence it is called God's own country! It is even named as one of the ten paradises of the world by National Geographic Traveller and millions of tourists make their visit to Kerala to experience the nostalgic beauty of this place. Kerala is mostly known and is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives and backwaters.
The climate of Kerala varies a little from season to season. The daily temperatures usually rise from 27 to 32 °C throughout the year which makes it a warmer place during the summer. Kerala is perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors. Hiking, water sports, camping, safaris, and bird watching, you can find it all in Kerala.
Kerala comprises awesome hill stations, best beaches to relax, backwater safari, houseboat stay, exploring Wildlife Sanctuaries, Ayurvedic Spa, and much more, which we can’t miss out on to experience fully. There are some of the best places in Kerala that you must visit once in your lifetime.
Best time to visit Kerala: The best time of year to visit Kerala is from October to April. The weather during this time of year is milder and it rains less. And this is also peak season, attracting the highest number of domestic and international travelers. December until February are generally the busiest months.
Surrounded by the sea, Kerala is home to numerous lip-smacking dishes prepared out of seafood, some of which include mussels, crab, tiger prawns, king prawns, tiny prawns, oysters, sardines, mackerel, tuna, and gorgeous red lobsters. One just cannot stop salivating when walking the streets of Kerala. Unlike its neighbors, Kerala takes a lot of pride in its long list of non-vegetarian food that the state has to offer to its perpetually hungry tourists
Airports: Cochin International Airport, Trivandrum International Airport
Railway Stations: Thiruvananthapuram Central, Ernakulam Junction (South)
Main Cities: Main Cities of Kerala are Cochin & Thiruvananthapuram.
(Note* - To start your journey one must need to start from Cochin or Thiruvananthapuram.)
food one must try on a trip to kerela
- PUTTU AND KADALA CURRY
- APPAM – STEW
- IDIYAPPAM – EGG CURRY
- DOSA – SAMBAR
- MALABAR BIRIYANI
- NAADAN KOZHI VARUTHATHU / SPICY CHICKEN FRY
- KERALA BEEF FRY – MALABAR PAROTTA
- PRAWN THEEYAL
- NAADAN KOZHI CURRY (KERALA CHICKEN CURRY)
- CASSAVA – KERALA FISH CURRY
- KALLUMMAKKAYA ULARTHIYATH / MUSSEL STIR FRY
- THATTU DOSA – OMLET – CHUTNEY
- BANANA CHIPS
- KAPPA KUZHACHATHU
PUTTU AND KADALA CURRY
Puttu is a popular breakfast dish in all the parts of Kerala which is steamed rice flour mixed with water and salt in a cylinder-like a steam pot. Puttu goes with any curries or just banana and grated coconut but the best side dish is the kadala curry (black chickpeas curry), a spicy coconut gravy and boiled chickpeas are the ingredients. This will make your belly full and the high protein content will not make you hungry until noon which is why the Keralites only have heavy breakfast so as to avoid snacks in between breakfast and lunch.
The king of all the Kerala dishes specially made for Onam and other celebrations the sadhya is a multi-course meal that includes many vegetarian curries to be eaten with rice and the final dessert course will be payasam. The multi courses aim to balance sweet, sour, spicy, and tangy dishes to celebrate the multi-taste buds of the palate. When you are visiting Kerala, try at least once a sadhya to know the essence of Kerala.
The dishes are served in specific places on the banana leaf in a specific order. For example, the pickles are served on the top left corner and the banana on the bottom left corner, which helps the waiters to easily identify and decide on offering additional servings. The most common ingredients in all the dishes are rice, vegetables, coconut, and coconut oil as they are abundant in Kerala. Coconut milk is used in some dishes and coconut oil is used for frying and also as an ingredient in others.
There are variations in the menu depending on the place and religion. Some communities, especially those in the northern part of Kerala, include non-vegetarian dishes in the sadhya. Although the custom was to use traditional and seasonal vegetables indigenous to Kerala or the South West Coast of India, it has become common practice to include vegetables such as carrots, pineapples, beans in the dishes. Tradition has it that onion and garlic are not typically used in the sadhya. Conventionally, the meal may be followed by attila murukku, chewing of betel leaf with lime and areca nut. This helps digestion of the meal and also cleanses the palate.
APPAM – STEW
Appam is like a pancake made with a rice batter made in a special appachatty, the round shallow dish that is used to make hot round appams. The middle portion is soft and spongy while the sides will be crispy, the appam can be teamed up with any curries but the best is a hot stew, vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Kerala stew has no chili powder instead peppers and green chilies are used in abundance to give the heat. Potatoes, onions, ginger garlic are the other inevitable ingredients along with coconut milk and chopped chicken, mutton, beef, or vegetables. Appam and stew should not be missed for appam is a delicacy only found in the South of India here in Kerala.
IDIYAPPAM – EGG CURRY
Idiyappam or noolappam is also a dish made out of rice dough, thin strands of rice dough will be made from seva and then cooked in steam to get idiyappam. Soft idiyappam with hot egg curry is a great way to start the day in Kerala, since the idiyappam is steam cooked they are so light and fluffy. Try to learn to make idiyappam in Kerala and buy a seva for yourself then make this simple dish at your home.
DOSA – SAMBAR
Dosa is a famous South Indian dish and tries them while you are in Kerala with hot sambar which is a vegetable curry made in a spicy sour curry including lentils. Different vegetables, shallots, lentils and various spices like cumin, turmeric powder, chili, coriander, with tamarind paste goes into the preparation of sambar. Curries using ingredients less than 5 do not even exist in Kerala, everything is flavourful and created with step-by-step procedures.
In popular tradition, the origin of the dosa is linked to Udupi, probably because of the dish's association with the Udupi restaurants. Also, the original Tamil dosa was softer and thicker. The thinner and crispier version of dosa was first made in present-day Karnataka. A recipe for dosa (as Osaka) can be found in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present-day Karnataka.
The soul food of Malayalees, a plate of biryani is enough to make a person happy here in Kerala. Made with many spices, meat, and basmati rice Malabar biriyani stands out on its own from the other biriyanis. The preparation needs a long time but the wait is worth the final product of aromatic rice and meat accompanied with a boiled egg, yogurt salsa, and pickle. There need not be any curries to eat this biriyani, find a tasty biriyani spot while you visit Kerala and have it to enjoy the pleasure of multi-levels of flavourful soul food.
Ingredients vary according to the region and the type of meat and vegetables used. Meat (of either chicken, goat, beef, lamb, prawn, or fish is the prime ingredient with rice. As is common in dishes of the Indian subcontinent, vegetables are sometimes also used when preparing biryani. Corn may be used depending on the season and availability. Navratan biryani tends to use sweeter, richer ingredients such as cashews, kismis, and fruits, such as apples and pineapples.
NAADAN KOZHI VARUTHATHU / SPICY CHICKEN FRY
Naadan Kozhi Varuthathu is Spicy Chicken fried in a bunch of spices, by marinating and frying the pieces in hot coconut oil to a brown color. Chicken lovers have to try this dish, the crispy skin and soft flavourful meat is heavenly let alone the aroma of the fry will make you fall in love with this Kerala special Chicken Fry.
KERALA BEEF FRY – MALABAR PAROTTA
Kerala Beef Fry is a spicy delicacy made by beef stir-fried with pepper, onions, ginger-garlic, and garam masala in coconut oil to make this yummy beef fry. The dish is generously coated with curry leaves, adding great contrast to the dark hue of the dish. The beef fry goes well with Malabar Parotta, a kind of parotta made with flour and oil which is soft but heavy on calories. The combination taste of these two will make you forget about calories and just dive into the pleasure of beef fry with parotta.
There are a variety of prawns available in Kerala, the large ones are usually roasted and the small ones are made into ‘Chemmen theeyal’ fried coconut gravy with prawns. The dish can be served along with rice or breakfast dishes like appam, idiyappam.
Theeyal is a South Indian dish originating from the Indian state of Kerala. It has a soupy consistency and is made from a mixture of spices consisting of roasted coconut, coriander seeds, dried red chili and fenugreek. All spices are ground to a paste and cooked in tamarind water with vegetables. When completed it looks like a rich medium brown gravy and is normally served with rice.
Theeyal, which means "burnt dish", is a typical Kerala dish featuring roasted coconut and is usually dark brown in color. It gets its color from the toasting of grated coconut and also from tamarind. In some parts of Kerala, theeyal is included in a traditional sadya menu.
NAADAN KOZHI CURRY (KERALA CHICKEN CURRY)
This is not a usual kind of chicken curry, Kerala Chicken curry is flavourful spicy and sort of creamy from the coconut milk added to it. The spicy curry goes with breakfast foods, rice or parottas the chicken curry is made in almost every nonvegetarian home, the Christian community makes nonvegetarian special like the Kerala Chicken Curry on all Sundays. Savor the hot spicy flavourful Kerala Chicken Curry the next time you visit Kerala for holidays.
You can never go wrong with chicken fry! You take a chicken which is the favorite meat of 99% of the entire population and fry it! Who doesn't love fried stuff?! So, this version of a chicken fry is something that is out of this world. Served on a banana leaf, the chicken is fried with onion, garlic, chili, vinegar, and coriander. The fiery taste of this popular Kerala food item on your tongue will leave you craving for more!
CASSAVA – KERALA FISH CURRY
Cassava or commonly called ‘Kappa’ here in Kerala is a ground crop which when boiled in water turns into a soft smooth textured dish that is combined with the Fish Curry of Kerala. Kappa and Fish curry is a combination of bread and butter for Keralites, rich fish wealth of Kerala makes them a pioneer in acing the perfect spicy red fish curry made with tamarind sauce and coconut milk or paste.
Seafood like mussels, crab, prawns, oysters, sardines, mackerel, and tuna are abundant on the Kerala coast and these are transformed to make tasty curries to be accompanied with Kappa. Even though seafood is the first choice, Kappa can be teamed up with chicken, beef, or mutton dishes. Tri Kappa and fish curry from a toddy shop with some sweet toddy to know why this is one of the best combinations for lunch in Kerala.
KALLUMMAKKAYA ULARTHIYATH / MUSSEL STIR FRY
Mussels which are properly cleaned are cooked with shallots, garlic, chilies, turmeric, garam masala, and grated coconut to make the famous Mussel Stir Fry of Kerala. The dish is best with boiled kappa or cassava and with rice along with hot curries and vegetables. This is a delicacy found majorly in the coastal lines depending on the availability of mussels.
Most dishes of Malabar cuisine, including Thalassery biryani, involve frying in ghee; there are sweet and spicy variants and they are predominantly non-vegetarian. Some typical examples include Ari pathiri, Chatti pathiri, Coin parottas, Kallummakaya fry, Arikkadukka, and Biryanis with chicken, mutton, prawn, fish, egg as well as Sweeteners such as Aleesa, Kadalapparippu ada.
THATTU DOSA – OMLET – CHUTNEY
The people of Kerala usually cook their food to eat in their own kitchens but in some later years, the street food of Kerala is becoming very popular among families. The roadside convertible small shops are known as ‘thattukada’ commonly sell delicious dosa with chutney and omelet. These have become a part of every Malayalee's evenings; the food is delicious but cheap only 25 rupees or so for one person to eat lavishly from these small shops.
The ultimate dessert of Kerala, three different payasams are usually served at the end of sadhya. Paal (milk) Payasam, Ada (Rice batter) Pradhaman and Kadala (lentil) Payasam. The payasams are very sweet and milky in texture, cardamom is the only spice added in payasam along with ghee, raisins, and cashews. The Ada Pradhaman has coconut pieces chopped and added into it for a different flavor.
According to the food historian K. T. Achaya, kheer or payas, as it is known in southern India, was a popular dish in ancient India, first mentioned in ancient Indian literature, it was a mixture of rice, milk, and sugar, a formula that has endured for over two thousand years. Payas was also a staple Hindu temple food, in particular, it was associated with Lord Shiva and served as Prasāda to his devotees.
Filled with healthy ingredients of gram and pumpkin, is one of the traditional kirtans in Kerala cuisine. The blend of coconut and other spices (cumin, turmeric, etc) along with the vegetables is amazing. It should be savored with hot rice for a better experience. Erissery is one of the main side dishes (kootan) served in sadhya.
A specialty from the Malabar region in North Kerala, this is a part of the famous Moplah cuisine of the Muslims of Kerala. It is a thin round pancake made from rice flour and is eaten in combination with curries, primarily non-vegetarian curries such as chicken and mutton. Like appam, it can be consumed at any time of the day and requires a spicy or flavourful curry to go with its otherwise bland taste.
One of the most common snacks found throughout the length and breadth of Kerala, the banana chips are a favorite among Malayalis as well as people from outside. These golden and crunchy chips are made from raw plantains which are thinly sliced, left to dry in the sun, and then deep fried. A common sight in street shops all over the state, it is one of the most popular tea-time snacks served at homes and restaurants around Kerala.
Once a staple food of a certain section of Malayalis in Kerala, this is considered to be the food of the humble folk. A simple comfort food, it is made by boiling tapioca, smashing it, and then mixing it with spices. It can then be eaten with various accompaniments such as green chili chutney, fish curry, chicken, or beef curry. Due to the naturally bland taste of tapioca aka kappa, the accompaniment savored with it is generally on the spicier side.