Like of any places, Kerala cuisine also finds its route in the culture, geography, and tradition of the place. As with any other Indian dishes, Kerala food can be neatly classified under vegetarian Kerala food or non-vegetarian Kerala food categories. There are some dishes that use combination of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian ingredients, but these dishes are categories under non-vegetarian Kerala food.
Although non-vegetarian Kerala cuisine savors richness of various spices, the vegetarian Kerala cuisine is milder and blander in taste. It usage very little spice and is suitable for non-native as well as non-Indian taste buds. Another thing particular about Kerala food is the oil it is cooked in, and the way it is served.
Almost all the traditional food in Kerala is cooked in coconut oil, which by the way also helps in blunting the hot taste of spices, and the food is served in a banana leaf. As an outsider you must always remember to take food from the right hand, as this is considered a good manner and “must know etiquette” in not only Kerala, but all of India.
Kerala’s staple food
Like people of other South Indian states, people of Kerala also devour on rice, which is a staple diet here. People here consume rice with one or more types of curries, and even they cook rice differently than the people of other southern states of India.
People like to eat Choru (parboiled rice, which is made by boiling rice with rice husk. This makes rice more nutritious, as believed by locals.), Kanji (rice congee, which is a kind of rice porridge), and Tapioca (known as kappa in Kerala and is most famous in central Kerala) which is eaten with fish.
Sadya is a traditional banquet of Kerala, which essentially is a sumptuous vegetarian meal that is served on a banana leaf. A person gets a spread of rice with as many as fourteen vegetable dishes (side dishes), which is topped by a sweet desert called “Payasam” which is cooked in milk. One gets the following in a Sadya:
• Rice — Plain steamed rice.
• Sambar — Made from potato, onion, drumstick in chilli powder, coriander seed, and turmeric powder.
• Aviyal — Made from drumstick, pumpkin, chilly, potato, etc., and coconut sauce.
• Parippu — It is a normal Indian dal or pulse preparation.
• Thoran — Made from finely chopped vegetables like bitter gourd, beans, jackfruit, etc.
• Pappadam — It is a normal Indian papad.
• Kaalan — Made from banana and curd which is mixed with green chili and coconut powder.
• Olan — Made from beans and gourds mixed with all kinds of spices.
• Sharkara upperi
• Kaya upperi
• Puli inji — It’s a dark brown curry made from ginger, jaggery, and green chilli. It is also known as Injipuli in some parts of Kerala.
• Paayasam — Sweet rice or noodles which is served as a sweet dish.
People in Kerala are also fond of sweet dishes. If you enjoy tasting food from various cultures, and of various preparations then Kerala food is a must taste for you. You must visit Kerala for the quality of its food.