Fragrant rice, tongue-tingling curries and tantalizing flavours – the Kerala cuisine is rich, aromatic and versatile. And, if you actually explore it, you will realize that it is much more than the typical South Indian platter.
With lots of options in vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, Kerala also offers some of the most unique flavours and dishes, making it one of the must-visit places for gastronomic vacations.
Below, we are sharing the list of the top 10 Kerala food items with some of the most amazing ones that you can ever taste. So, take a thorough read and pick up a dish for your next food outing.
It is one of the most famous and adored Kerala dishes that is loved both by the locals and the visitors. The dish also holds cultural and religious significance and is often made during the festivals such as Onam.
Also called Ellishery, the dish has many versions, the most common ones being the yam and pumpkin. Some other food items that are added to the dish include coconut, spices, red beans, and black-eyed peas etc. Erissery can be eaten as a main course dish in breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can eat it with rice and any other flatbread of your choice.
Also called Nool Puttu, Chomai, Indiappa, and Noolappam, this is one of the staples in Kerala cuisine. The dish is so ambient in the Kerala household that it is also available as an instant Idiyappam mix in local markets. The dish has an immense following in neighbouring states, such as Tamil Nadu and is basically made of rice.
Idiyappam looks like rice noodles woven into a flat disc shape and you can enjoy it with various types of curries. Many people also eat Idiyappam with vegetable stews, meat curries and other meat-based stews.
Appam with Ishtu
There are many different varieties of Appam and it is enjoyed in numerous forms and with numerous sides and curries. But, while in Kerala, we recommend trying the delicious Appam and Ishtu platter. What makes Appam such a great and go-to dish for all the Keralites, is the fact that you can eat it plain as well.
Appam appears like a thin pancake with crispy sides and is prepared from a semi-thick batter that might or might not have condiments and vegetables added to it. Ishtu, on the other hand, refers to stew that has European origins. The stew is primarily made of meat (lamb, chicken, pork etc), but vegetarian variants are also available, such as vegetable Ishtu and potato Ishtu.
Puttu and Kadala Curry
Puttu is yet another must-try dish in Kerala cuisine that is made of sweet or savoury stuffing. Often called the flavourful idli, the dish looks like a cylindrical roll made of ground rice and coconut shavings. Puttu means “portioned” and is often eaten in the morning, as a breakfast.
In Kerala, people eat Puttu with various curries and stews, but Kadala Curry (made with Kala Chana) is one of the most amazing companions for Puttu. Coming with a lot of distinct flavours and amazingly light texture, the dish keeps your stomach full and satiates your taste buds at the same time. There are many puttu podi brands available in the market for preparing tasty and soft puttu.
So, whenever you are visiting Kerala, ditch the Idlis that you can enjoy anytime and anywhere, but enjoy a plateful of Puttu and Kadala Curry for sure!
Kerala Chicken Roast
Kerala has one of the most delicious cuisines in India, especially for the meat-lovers. Roasted chicken from a typical Kerala kitchen will send you into a different zone. The dish simply tastes like heaven in your mouth. It has a distinct mustard flavour and can be eaten alone or with Roti or Malabar Parotta. The roasted chicken with less gravy is an amazing party starter.
If you are visiting Kerala and love your North Indian Dal-Bhat, you don’t have to worry about missing the staple. Kerala cuisine has many offerings for vegetarians as well, and Parippu curry is one of them. Made with the world-famous yellow moong dal, the curry is a delicious and easy-on-your-pallet dish that you can find in most restaurants.
However, what makes us include a simple dal dish in this list is its unique taste and distinct aroma. While the basic preparation remains the same throughout Kerala, the condiments and presentation might vary from one eatery to another.
Malabar Parota and Erachi Varutharacha Curry
Erachi Varutharacha Curry is the typical Malabar meat curry in roasted coconut paste and is a must-try dish from Kerala cuisine. The curry can be eaten with rice, roti and other Kerala staples, but tastes the best with the Malabar Parotta that appears like a flakier and crispier version of the North Indian Lachha Paratha.
The Erachi Varutharacha Curry is made with the whole chicken and is drenched in the coconut flavour that will stay on your tongue for years to come!
This Kerala style fried fish is one of a kind, as it is cooked in a banana leaf to keep the fish soft inside and crispy outside. The fish stays juicy and the dish develops a tender texture during cooking. This Kerala dish is very famous among travellers in Alleppey, and many backwater tourism operators make it with fresh catch.
So, if you are planning to enjoy a scintillating Kerala Backwater Tour, don’t forget to enjoy the Karimeen Pollichathu as one of your meals. You can try it with flatbreads and rice.
Chemmeen Curry or Kerala Prawn Curry
Kerala is also famous for its seafood dishes and prawn is basically the heart of seafood cuisine. Made with exotic spices and cooked in a delicious curry, the Kerala Prawn Curry has a rich, aromatic and creamy texture. It is enjoyed with rice mostly and can also be eaten with Malabar Parotta.
The dish is easily available in Kerala restaurants and is loved by the locals as well as the visitors.
No list of Kerala Cuisine is complete without a mention of Payasam. However, of all the types of Payasam, or Kheer, the Palada Payasam is the best one. Palada means rice ada, and the dish is made during festivals such as Onam and many other special occasions in every Kerala household.
While the times have introduced many different varieties of Palada Payasam, the traditional recipe comprises milk, sugar and ghee only, apart from Rice ada.
So, we recommend digging into a hearty bowl of Palada Payasam after having a sumptuous Kerala meal for the final touch.
This completes our list of the top10 Kerala dishes that you must try. Did we miss your favourite dish? Or, do we need to mention something that you were expecting?
Please share your views and comments in the section below.