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Kerala famous food items is popular as the land of spices and the cuisine of this state is renowned for its hot and spicy flavors. Usually served on banana leaves, most of the food prepared in Kerala contains spices and coconut to enhance the flavor of local dishes, besides adding a sharp spiciness which is finely enhanced with tamarind. Apart from adding richness to any cuisine, coconut has the ability to soak up some of the tongue-teasing and pepper-hot flavors. The extraordinary food of Kerala represents the cooking expertise of the local residents of the state. Providing us with some of the delicious dishes, the people of this vibrant state are epicures with a difference.
The kerala famous food is usually hot and spicy, providing a number of gastronomic opportunities. The cuisine is fresh, finely flavored and having sweet aroma that is hard to find in any other cuisine. The gastronomy of the state is rich in meats, seafood and a combination of different variety of vegetables, flavored with diverse spices. Every cuisine makes a preferred choice in different parts of the state. While seafood is chief food in Coastal Kerala, vegetables are the main food in the plains of Kerala. On the other hand, meat serves as a main course in Northern Kerala and among the tribal communities.
The local people of the state make best use of everything that the land offers, resulting in amazing cuisines that are a delight for all those who come here to get a taste of it. Whether it is a dish as effortless as Kanji or as extravagant as Sadya, Keralities take pleasure in gastronomy. Although, every dish cooked in Kerala is special and delicious, below mentioned are some of the popular cuisines of the state.
Known as banquet in Malayalam, Sadya is an assortment of vegetarian dishes that is served on banana leaves in Kerala. Prepared usually by th.e men, the Hindu feast is cooked in a large quantity for weddings and special occasions. Normally, 24 to 28 dishes are included in Sadya, but the number can increase up to 64 if it is grand such as Sadya for Aranmula Boatrace, known as Valla Sadya.
While plain boiled rice makes the main dish of Sadya, other items, together known as Kootan, are served with rice including the Sambar, Avial, Rasam, Pulisseri, Olan, Thoran, along with other local food. Payasam, the traditional dessert which is of diverse variety is served at the end. The elaborate dish is rich in aroma, flavor and taste.
The Tangy Rasam
The tangy hot Rasam is served post a delicious array of amazing sweets. Poured on a serving of plain boiled rice, it is a divergence from symphony of flavors. Rasam is made from a combination of chilly and pepper corn powder which is then boiled in tamarind juice. Buttermilk together with green chillies and turmeric powder is used to season the pulissery. Plain sour buttermilk, also known as moru, is salted and mixed with ginger and green chillies. The well known British Mulligatawny soup is believed to have acquired its flavor from the Tangy Rasam.
Avial, a common dish of Kerala is made up of a combination of vegetables such as potato, drumstick, pumpkin and chilly, which is then seasoned with curry leaves and coconut oil to enhance its aroma and flavor. It is taken as one of the most essential items of Sadya. The word avial means “cooked in water” or “boiled” and signifies the way the cuisine is made.
Other vegetables that are generally used for making the dish include elephant yam, carrots, brinjal, beans, plantain, snake gourd, cucumber and avarai. Out of these, carrots and beans are fresh introduction. People residing in North Kerala make use of bitter gourd as well. Theis can be enjoyed either as a gravy dish or can be had as a semi-solid dish. It is usually served with rice.
Made with fermented batter of rice and coconut milk, Appam is a kind of a pancake which is normally consumed in breakfast or dinner. While the centre of it is soft and spongy, the edges are crispy. Apart from being a popular dish in Kerala, it is a famous food in Sri Lanka where it is known to have an anglicized name, “Hoppers”.
Whether it is Kallappam, Acchappam, Neyyappam, Pesaha appam or Vattayappam, appam has different forms, each having a unique taste and aroma. An individual can have it with chicken, vegetable or mutton stew, provided it is completely smoothened with concentrated coconut milk and decorated with curry leaves.
Well-liked in Indian state of Kerala and Sri Lanka, Puttu is a made up of rice flour and is cooked in metal cylinders. Other cooking vessels include chiratta puttu, which is a coconut shell, a long hollow bamboo, popularly known as Malay Archipelago, a pan similar to the one used to make idli, having small holes in the base and pressure cookers. Puttu mainly consists of ground rice, coconut and water. Although, cumin is generally used for flavoring it, other spices can also be used.
Puttu is often served with a number of breakfast cuisines, like plantain, jackfruit, fish curry, papadum, mango, kadala curry and chicken curry. It is best served with steamed bananas or chickpeas or curry made from gram. People residing in some parts of Kerala consume it with sweet black coffee.
Banana chips are dried or cooked banana slices that can either be coated with honey or sugar to add a sweet flavor to it or can be fried in spices for a salty and spicy taste. Normally, under-ripe bananas are used for making these chips, the slices of which are fried in coconut oil or sunflower oil, following which they are dried and preservatives are added to them.
Upperi is a famous form of fried banana chips made in Kerala by frying the banana slices in coconut oil. Ripe and unripe bananas are used for this purpose and are covered with spices or jaggery for sweet and spicy variants. The banana chips form an essential part of Sadya and are served during weddings and other festivals like Onam. Those made from unripe bananas make crispy and tasty snack.
Jack Fruit Chips
Jack fruit is one of the main fruits of Kerala. Both ripe and unripe varieties of jack fruit are used to make a range of dishes. The edible portion of it is known as ghare, meaning the “Konkani”. The fruit is required to be completely grown and must have thick flesh before it can be used for making different cuisines.
Jack fruit chips, one of the most liked items of Kerala are made from unripe jack fruit. The slices of jack fruit are cut finely and are then deep fried in coconut oil. To add tangy taste to it, different types of spices are added.
The state of Kerala is a big consumer of tapioca. Fish curry accompanied by Tapioca is the most loved and popular dish, Kerala is known for. The thin finely sliced wafers of tapioca are fried in coconut oil and coated with a variety of spices to make crispy tapioca chips. Rich in carbohydrates, these are widely available in the northern region of Kerala. It serves as a tasty and crunchy snack.
Also known as string hoppers, noolputtu or noolappam, idiyappam is a popular dish in Kerala. Made from wheat flour or rice flour, in combination with water and salt, idiyappam is served as a main cuisine in breakfast or dinner with curry, including potato, fish, egg or meat curry and coconut chutney. It is served with sugared coconut milk in the Malabar area of Kerala. Using wheat flour for preparing idiyappam gives it a brownish color.
A rice pudding made by boiling broken wheat or rice with coconut milk, jaggery and sugar is what makes Payasam a popular dish in Kerala. It is served post rasam rice along with other forms of buttermilk. Payasam is one of the crucial parts of Sadya and is served on big banana leaves rather than the cups.
Being a vital Kerala dish, it is available in different forms, each cooked from varied fruits. For an instance, Chakkapredhaman is made from the pulp of jack fruit and flat ground rice is used to make adapradhaman.
Tapioca and Fish Curry
One of the most popular and preferred dishes of Kerala is Tapioca and fish curry. The vibrant state of Kerala is best known for this cuisine. The combination of fish curry and tapioca is not to be missed, as the rich taste and aroma of the cuisine is hard to experience in any other food item.
The extravagant delicacies are loaded with natural flavors and fine spices. The fish curry made from onions, red chilies and garlic paste, seasoned with curry leaves is served with tapioca. It generally serves as a main course in dinner.
The diversity that Kerala has in cuisines and spices is difficult to find anywhere else. Each dish offers a unique flavor and richness. When visiting Kerala, make sure to try different flavors. It would not be wrong to say the food here is incomplete without curry leaves, asafoetida, chillies, mustard seed and chilies.