Kerala is truly God’s Own Country with its tranquil backwaters, serene beaches, lush mountains, crystal clear water and picturesque settings. It is also home to one of the most varied and unique cuisines in the world. Foreign influence on the cuisine of Kerala is marked, with each religion from Muslims to Syrian Christians developing their cuisine and style of preparation. Kerala cuisine has an abundance of coconut, rice, tapioca and spices like black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. It also features a lot of seafood like fish, prawns, mussels and crabs because of its long coastline giving it unlimited access to seafood. Here’s a look at the top things you should try out when you visit the Land of Spices:
1. Puttu and Kadala
This is a breakfast delicacy eaten all over Kerala, and is known for its delicious taste and great health benefits. Puttu is a cylindrical shaped steamed rice cake that is cooked within a mould, either long and cylindrical or dome-shaped. The rice cake is garnished with an abundance of coconut shavings giving it a rich taste. Though you can eat this with any spicy gravy, Malayalis prefer eating this with Kadala Curry, which is a thick paste gravy made out of black chickpeas. The gravy is thick as the masala is made out of ground coconut, shallots, rich blend of spices and coconut milk. Puttu can also be eaten with a generous helping of ghee and ripened bananas.
2. Appam with stew
Appam is a pancake made of fermented rice flour and coconut milk, and is extremely thin and lightweight. Most people enjoy it with a thick centre which is fluffy and outer edges that are thin and crispy. It was introduced in Kerala by the Christian community and is a staple breakfast dish for them. Ishtu or stew is a derivative of the European stew and consists of coconut milk, cinnamon, potatoes, chilly, cloves and shallots, eaten with appams. The stew may also feature mango pieces, vegetables, chicken or lamb, depending on the occasion as this is a Holiday classic that is widely eaten during Christmas and Easter breaks. The addition of whole aromatic spices, ginger and fresh coconut milk enhance the natural flavour of the vegetables. The crucial ingredient is fresh coconut milk, which lends a sweet flavour.
3. Karimeen Pollichathu (Fish Fry)