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The Kerala is known as the "Land of Spices". Even the Kerala cuisine is known for its spicy and hot foods. Traditionally, in Kerala food is served on a banana leaf. Kerala Foods One has to take food with right hand. Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and spices to flavour the local cuisine giving it a sharp pungency that is heightened with the use of tamarind, while coconut gives it its richness, absorbing some of the tongue-teasing, pepper-hot flavours. Tender coconut water is a refreshing nutritious thirst quencher. The crunchy papadam, banana and jackfruit chips can give french-fries a run for their money any day.

Kerala cuisine is a combination of Vegetables, meats and seafood flavoured with a variety of spices. Seafood's are main diet of Coastal Kerala. Whereas Vegetable is the main diet in plains of Kerala and Meat is the main course among tribal and northern Kerala.

» Rice Main Course of Food
» Morning Meals
» Midday Meals
» Diverse Use of Ingredients
» Variety of Mounth Watering Snacks
» Typical Food Items

Rice Main Course of Food

IdlisThe essential ingredient of the daily diet is rice. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is some rice preparation or the other, served along with a variety of fish. Fish is consumed in a variety of ways – it is preserved after being dried and salted or cooked in a delicious coconut gravy. Prawns, shrimps and crustaceans constitute some of the other delicacies.

Break Fast - Morning Meals

Kera people are early risers, especially women in the villages, who invariably start the day in the pre-dawn darkness with a quick glass of chai (tea) before getting stuck into a couple of hours' grinding rice, coconut and spices for the day's meals. Brakfast proper gets under way when the kids are up, and consists of pootu - cylinders of roughly pounded rice and coconut steamed together in hollowed out bamboos or appam - soft, slightly cupped rice pancakes that are deliciously spongy in the centre, Iddiappams, a kind of vermicelli, are another breakfast staple, made by squeezing runny rice dough through a special press and then steaming it. These are accompanied by the sweetest Kerala bananas, and may be a cup of warm tea, or else with saucers os spicy egg masala, a rich tasty gravy bases on onions which is poured over the pootu, appam or iddiappam and eaten with the fingers.

Washed down with cups of strong, milky chai or local filter coffee, varsions of the standard Kerala breakfast are served in tea shacks (chayakada) and corner cafes all over the state - mostly to men, who use the opportunity to read the local paper and debate the latest political scandals.

In large towns and cities, however, a more generic, South Indin-style breakfast prevails, based on dishes originally devised in the Karnatakan pilgrimage town of Udipi These include scrumptious deep-fried savoury doughnuts made of chickpea flur called vada, and circular steamed rice cakes, or iddlis, which are broken up and soaked in sambar (a chilli-hot, sour, watery broth) or mushed together with chatni (a tangy paste often made with ground coconut and finely chopped fresh green chillis).

You'll find iddli-vada-sambar breakfasts being dished up from dawn onwards, and around the clock in railway and bus stations. By 11am, however, most, places will have switched to their lunchtime meals menu.

Opening times are more errtic in the resorts of Kovalam and Varkala, where cafes serve a hotchpotch of travellers standards such a banana pancakes, muesli, toast, omelettes, porridge lassis and fruit shakes. Proper espresso is also widely availabl, along with freshly baked wholemeal bread, croissants and copious fresh fruit salads with honey, grated coconut and yoghurt (curd).

If you're staying in a smart hotel, buffet breakfasts are the norm, consisting of limp versions of Western food and even limper South Indian dishes.

Midday Meals

Midday meals consist of boiled rice that may be mixed with moru (curd or bitter milk) or rasam (thin clear pepper water or soup) and a range of vegetables. Pachadi is a delicious dish, cooked out of tiny pieces of mango, mixed with hot spices. Sambar, pulses prepared with vegetables is a standard daily fare. Thoran, a coconut-based dry fish dish that is mixed with minutely chopped vegetables, herbs and curry leaves, and similar to avial, which is cooked in a sauce, is another delectable dish. Pappaddakams, or crunchy round flakes made of rice flour, chutneys (a kind of sauce) and pickles, are scrumptious additions without which a meal is incomplete.

Wheat preparations are more popular in Muslim establishments. Well-prepared spirals called barottas and pathiris are made from refined flour, fried in oil and served with vegetables and curries. Chappathi, poori (a sort of baked or deep fried equivalent of bread) may be cooked optionally.

Diverse Use of Ingredients

A melange of aromas resulting from the free use of pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chillies, and mustard, used in most curries, fill the kitchens of the well-to-do, but generally the poorer folks content themselves with kanji (rice with water) and take fish with tapioca. Most dishes in Kerala are cooked in coconut oil and are incomplete without a mandatory use of coconut in some form or the other.

Variety of Mounth Watering Snacks

Kerala has an abundance of jackfruits, pineapples, mangoes, custard apples and an endless variety of bananas. Traditional homemade snacks like uppari, a variety of banana chips, and achappam, rice flour cookies, are served with evening coffee.

Typical Food Items

The typical Kerala feast served on a banana leaf, is a sumptuous spread of rice and more than 14 vegetable dishes, topped with `payasam', the delicious sweet dessert cooked in milk. Some of the delicious are: -


While Plain Steamed rice is usually taken with dishes in Sadya (Vegetarian), it is the basic ingredient. Biryanis (in Non vegetarian meals of the Arabic tradition).


Combination of vegetables like pumpkin, drumstick, potato, chilly etc and coconut sauce, it is a very popular side dish. Even mango, jackfruit and cashew nuts are included in Avil.

Vegetables like Cabbage, Coconut, and Green chilly and mustard seed are either fried or steamed with spices like turmeric. Sometimes green papaya is used.


It is made out of drumstick, tomato, potato, onion etc mixed with turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander seeds and many more spices.


Beans and gourds mixed with several spices like chilly powder.


Made using Banana and curd mixed with coconut paste and green chilly.


Rasam is a best for digestion. It is similar to a clear broth; Rasam may be flavoured tamarind, lemon, tomato, lentils and/or pepper.


Main ingredients are Pumpkin, Coconut milk and curd with green chilly. A pleasing finish to the meal.


Sugared rice or noodles, served as a sweet.


Popular snacks include banana chips, yam crisps, Tapioca chips deep-fried with chilly powder. .


There's no shortage of sweets in Kerala. Jaggery is often used as a sweetener. It can be boiled and made into paste form. It can be used as a sweet sauce with curd or fruit. Milk rice, coconut rice, or vermicelli sweetened with jaggery is common dessert.

Avalose is a rice-based sweet rolled into a ball with jaggery. Unniappam is pulped jackfruit, mixed with rice flour and jaggery, wrapped in a leaf and steamed.

Prathaman is lentils boiled with coconut, cardamom and ginger. Jaggery and cashew nuts are also added. Halwa is made from bananas.

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