Travel India: 10 Popular Local Dishes in Kerala

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Image Courtesy: Y’amal

Kerala referred to as ‘God’s own country’ holds the title not only for its beautiful backwaters, its perfect climate, mesmerizing hill stations, and tranquil nature of the backwaters and its houseboats but also for its food. The food served here is very much influenced by the culture and traditions of the place and is the perfect reflection of it.

1. Karimeen fish

Kerala’s backwaters offer more than just aesthetics. They are famous for the Karimeen or the Pearl spot fish in particular. For this reason, the dishes made from the fish was instantly popular. Karimeen marinated with red chillies, vegetables, spices, and a tinge of lemon, baked in leaves which gives it its authentic flavor, is a huge hit among tourists and locals.

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2. Appam and Stew

One of the staple item of Kerala cuisine that you simply cannot resist is the Appam. It is every Keralite mother’s signature dish and features fermented rice flour cooked in coconut milk. To balance the sweetness of the appam, it is served with the stew that contains vegetables, spices, and shallots cooked in coconut milk.

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3. Puttu and Kadala

This curry is listed in the breakfast menu of almost all restaurants. One of the local favorites, Puttu and Kadala is steamed rice-coconut cakes (Puttu) and are served with the kadala curry, which is made with black chickpeas and shallots cooked in coconut milk and these are the staple items of Kerala.

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4. Fish Molee

This is a famous coconut milk-based sea food delicacy. The kingfish is marinated using turmeric, chili powder, and oil. The fish is then fried and cooked in coconut milk along with a spice mix.

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5. Thalassery Biryani

Biryani is a dish that is a perfect combination of meat, spices, and rice. Thalassery, the dish’s first name, is actually a seaport in Kerala and from there the name of the dish has originated. The rice for the Biryani is a high- quality short grain rice known as kaima which has a great fragrance. Meat is cooked with the masala so that it is completely absorbed in it and is then allowed to cook with the rice on low heat.

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6. Erissery or pumpkin and lentil curry

Featuring on the menu on Onam, the state festival, the Erissery or pumpkin, and lentil curry is made by using sliced yams, pumpkin, dried lentils, grated coconut, chilli, cumin seeds, and garlic, all cooked together and served with rice.

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7. Chemmeen curry

Kerala loves their seafood. Chemmeen or Prawn is the staple curry of the Malabar region. Malabar is the region of origin for the Malabar parotta, a perfect side dish to the Prawn curry. The stock for the dish is made by blending fenugreek, fennel, black mustard, chili, all cooked in coconut milk to which brindle berry, raw mango, drumsticks, and marinated prawns.

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8. Kerala Beef curry

This curry is the traditional Beef curry and is made by tenderizing pieces of beef in a tomato, onion, garlic, and spice mix. Even though beef is rarely eaten, the curry is one of the most popular dishes. This dish is best eaten had with Malabar Parotta.

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9. Malabar Parotta

Parotta, a term famous across North India, is a flatbread that is made by rolling plain flour called Maida by putting oil/ghee and water. Eggs are added while kneading in a few recipes. The resultant dough is beaten and flattened.

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10. Payasam

Moving towards the sweeter side of the dishes, Payasam is a dessert served at the end of the meal on special occasions and gatherings. Prepared with Palada, it is a signature dessert served during Onam. It is prepared by using Palada mixture, which is rice ada, milk, rice flour, and sugar, cooked in ghee.

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Coconut milk, seafood, and authentic spices are the base of any Kerala food item. It is in their careful choice that one finds the magic and flavor that makes the dishes so unique. The food items mentioned above all offer an amazing visual and sensory experience to the person eating them. Don’t miss out!

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