Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kerala Cuisine

Kerala has a distinctive cuisine, very unusual and different from the rest of India.  Cooking in Kerala is all about discovery, aroma and colour.  Kerala cuisine is very hot and spicy and offers several gastronomic opportunities to those willing to experiment  with the local dishes
The typical Keralite loves his rice, especially the rich, unpolished brown variety called Chembavu.  Rice is, in fact, the staple food of Kerala.  Apart from being consumed boiled along with a variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes, rice is pounded into flour and used to make delicacies like Puttu, Iddilli, Dosa, the round spongy vattayappam, the lacy-edged palappam, the pancake like kallappam, the sweet unniyappam, idiyappam that looks like fine noodles, and the stuffed ball called kozhukotta.  And then, there is the pathiri, chapathi-like bread that comes in different size, shapes and tastes.  The thin plain variety is called vattipathiri, the box type is pettipathiri and a sweet cake, Chattipathiri.  There are also pathiris stuffed with beef, chicken, mutton and fish.  Except from the Brahmins who are strict vegetarians, most Keralites  eat meat and fish
However, Hindus usually refrain from non-vegetarian food on auspicious days, thought for the other community no festive occasion is complete without it.
It is the influence of the foreigners-especially the Arabs-that, unlike most of the other part of the country, beef is quite popular in this state
In Kerala Puttu is a favourite breakfast dish.  Layers of rice flour mix are alternated with grated coconut in a hollow bamboo or metal cylinder and steamed.  Iddilies and dosas are also popular in Kerala

The traditional Kerala meals is served on plantain leaf. A typical vegetarian Onam lunch modeled on the traditional meal called ‘sadya’ – rice accompanied by dishes like thoran, kaalan, pachadi and olan is the best for those visiting the state during the post – harvest Onam season.  Thorans are made of finely chopped boiled vegetables.  Avial, a mixed vegetable gravy dish thickened with coconut and yoghurt, is a special dish of the region.  For dessert, there is payasam-sweet and porridge-like with vermicelli or rice, with sugar or jaggery.  Traditional meals are eaten by hand
Be it seafood , meat, vegetable, rice or other cereals, the emphasis is on ‘healthy food’.  Spice that flavour the local cuisine give it a sharp pungency that is heightened by the use of tamarind
Kerala is noted for a variety of pancakes and steamed rice cakes made from rice.  Though the same ingredients are used all over the state, each community has its own specialties.
The stew is a delicious dish, vastly popular among Syrian Christians.  Chicken and potato are simmered gently in creamy white coconut milk flavoured with black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, green chillies, lime juice and shallots. Biriyani reigns supreme in the cuisine of north Kerala.  Seafood and beef are available in plenty.  Fruit-based dishes also from part of Kerala cuisine. Fruits common in Kerala such as Jack fruit, pine apple, mangoes and an endless variety of  bananas are including in curries to accompany rice and other dishes.