From the lip-smacking payasam to the aromatic curries, the list for the famous food of Kerala is endless. Find the most popular ones!
The Popular Cuisines of Kerala
Sadhya, Puttu, and Payasam are among the top most famous food of Kerala. Keralites prepare incredible vegetarian and non-vegetarian food of different tastes!
The State is known as the land of coconut. No wonder, most of the Kerala cuisines contain coconut as the main ingredient in various preparations.
The spices like pepper and ginger are used in abundance enhancing the taste and aroma of traditional Kerala dishes.
1 Sadhya : most traditional food of Kerala
Sadhya is the first answer that you get if you ask any Malayali about top traditionally famous food of Kerala.
It is the most traditional dish in the state, which can be enjoyed as a buffet. Sadhya, which is served in a plain banana leaf, contains almost 24 items with some desserts.
In this pure vegetarian food, several types of dishes namely avail (mix of vegetables), kaalan (mixture of yam and yoghurt), thoran (dried vegetable sprinkled with coconut), kichadi (Cucumber roasted in coconut), Pachadi (sweet made from pineapple or grapes), puliinchi (ginger and tamarind flavor), achar (pickle), pappad are served along with rice and sambar (the main curry with ladies finger and drumstick).
Not to forget, Rasam and curd are also served with a little rice for better digestion.
Interestingly, Payasam is the main dessert served in Sadhya. There are several types of payasam made of different items like rice, wheat, dal, and banana, etc.
Sadhya is used as a lunchtime dish, especially for special occasions like Onam, wedding, birthday, etc.
In essence, this kerala special food is highly recommended!
2 Thalassery Biriyani
Even though Biriyani is a familiar dish in most of the Indian states, Kerala Biriyani has a unique taste due to the difference in ingredients used and preparation style.
In Kerala, different types of biriyanis are prepared in different areas and among them, the most famous is Thalassery Biriyani. What makes this biriyani special is that it uses green chilly and garam masala and completely avoid red chilly powder, coriander powder, and other spices.
Unique fragrant, small-grained, thin rice variety named karma is used in this dish. The meat of chicken, mutton or beef is cooked with the masala on a low heat and layered with rice. The lid of the container is sealed with dough and hot coal or charcoal is then placed above the lid.
Biriyani is mainly served in the special functions of the Muslim community like wedding and Eid etc.
As Thalassery seaport was the centre for the export of spices, Europeans and Arabs had come here for business. The blend of Arab and Malabar culture influenced the cuisine of Kerala also.
You can also experience the influence of Arab food culture in Thalasseri biriyani. Nowadays, it began to be used widely in other communities too.
3 Kappa (Tapioca)
While Kappa (tapioca) was considered as the supplementary food of poor man, who couldn’t afford rice, now it is transformed into an exotic dish.
Even star hotels give room for Kappa in its menu card. This starch-rich food is very tasty as well as healthy. Kappa is nowadays the favorite option of tourists, especially during their houseboat trips.
Kappa ulathiyathu (Boiled and mashed tapioca) is a unique food item in Kerala and it is a nice combination with fish curry or chicken curry.
At the same time is very easy to prepare as well. Many other varieties of kappa dishes are also available in Kerala.
This food can be consumed as a breakfast, side dish for lunch or as an anytime snack.
4 Puttu and Kadalakkari
While searching for the ethnic famous food of Kerala, you will also come across a wide variety of breakfast dishes like Iddli, Dosa, Vellayappam, paalappam, idiyappam, etc.
Among them the most famous and unique item is Puttu, which is nothing but steamed rice cake. This traditional breakfast item is normally served with kadala (black chickpeas) curry or moong dal curry.
It is also a nice combination with ripe banana and pappad. No vegetarians can also try fish curry with puttu.
The rice flour and coconut are mixed and steam it in a metal puttu maker that has a cylindrical or dome shape. Even though rice flour is used widely to make puttu, we can also try wheat flour, ragi, oats or couscous.
You have to mix rice and coconut and make it moisturize with a proper quantity of water to make the puttu soft.
If the rice flour gets the shape of your first, when you take a fistful of rice flour and close your fist, you have added the correct quantity of water.
5 Kerala’s Special Sweets
Unniappam is the most traditional and unique snack item of the state and it is a compulsory item for festivals and functions. This brown colored, small ball-shaped, spongy and crispy sweet dish is made with rice flour, banana, and jaggery using coconut oil.
Even though there may slightly different in ingredients and preparation, the taste is unique and cannot be substituted with anyone.
Pazhampori is another snack, which is also exclusive to Kerala. ‘Pazham’ means banana and ‘pori’ means fried.
So, as the name indicates it is used by frying the ripe banana piece after dipping in the wheat flour batter or maida batter. It is the best combination with a cup of hot tea, especially in the evening time.
‘Ada’, the most traditional snack item of Kerala, cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. A thick batter of rice flour is spread across a piece of banana leaf and sweet filling prepared with coconut, banana, and jaggery is put over the batter. The leaf is folded and steamed.
The non-vegetarians also have lots of options to try in Kerala. As the state is located near seashore, you can enjoy wide varieties of seafood here.
All the communities like Hindus, Muslims, and Christians have their own unique cuisines here.
Plan a trip to Kerala and enjoy the spicy and creamy delicacies it offers.
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