Kerala has a cuisine as distinctive as its cultural life. Influenced by its long coastline and flavored by the all-pervasive coconut, it is enriched by exotic fruits,vegetable and seafood and garnished with the distinctive aroma of spices.Kerala cuisine has a combination of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and meat. Culinary spices have been cultivated in Kerala for millennial and they are characteristic of its cuisine. The cuisine of Kerala is characterized by the use of coconut, either chopped or grated and used as garnishing, coconut milk or paste is used to thicken gravies and coconut oil is used for cooking. Though one can’t imagine Kerala food without chilies, curry leaf, mustard seed, tamarind and asafetida.
Rice is a dominant staple that is eaten at all times of day. Breakfast dishes are frequently based on the rice preparations idli, puttu Idiyappam, or pulse-based vada or tapioca. These may be accompanied by chutney, kadala, payasam, payar poppadum. Beside these the regular south-Indian delicacies like Idli and Dosa are common among the people of Kerala which is teamed up with sour sambar and coconut chutney. The most popular dish of Kerala is Avial which is made up of vegetables, coconut paste and green chilies.
Appam is a basic meal made with fermented rice batter having crust sides and spongy middle and can be enjoyed with egg masala, meat recipes or fish curry. Lunch dishes include rice and curry along with rasam, pulisherry and sambar. Sadhya is a vegetarian dish, often served on a banana leaf and followed with a cup of payasam which is a sweet dish made with milk, sugar, jaggery and coconut. Popular snacks include banana chips, yam crisps, tapioca chips, unniyappam and kuzhalappam. Non-vegetarian dishes, including those with beef and pork, are popular in the state. Sea food specialties include karimeen, prawn, shrimp and other lobster dishes.
Kerala wakes up to one of the best breakfasts in the world- both in terms of taste and nutritional value. Some of the items taht usually occupy the morning table are the puttu(made of rice flour and coconut) and kadala(gram) curry; idiappam (noodle-like rice cakes) and egg/vegetable curry; appam (soft centered pancakes) and mutton/ vegetable stew. Little wonder that Travel & Leisure chose Kerala morning spread as one of the best breakfasts of the world!
Served on plantain leaf and eaten with the hand, the sadya is the traditional feast of Kerala. A five course meal, the sadya includes an amazing variety if up to 27 vegetarian delights. Crispy pappadoms (wafers deep fried in coconut oil ) and a variety of pickles accompany this sumptuous spread. The sadya is rounded off with different varieties of payasams(sweet deserts).
With the long coastline , over 44 rivers, innumerable lagoons and lakes, Kerala has abundant marine wealth. Among the seafood delicacies are prawns, lobsters, crabs, mussels etc. all enticingly cooked with exotic spices. karimeen or pearlspot a backwater fish is famous for it great taste.
The Moplah cuisine of Malabar and Syrian Christian cuisine of central Kerala are unique in its rich flavor. While the former show clear Arabic influences, the latter has been influenced by Syrian , Dutch, Portuguese and the British. Extensive use of fish, red chillies and kudampuli, a souring agent sets apart Syrian cuisine. The lightly flavored aromatic Malabari Biryani is treat for the taste buds.