Like art and culture the evolution of the culinary style of a region or country can be traced to history, geography, demography and culture of the land. Since the Kerala society is a melting point of different cultural influences Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Influence of the visitors to the state from ancient times is visible in the dishes. Kerala has its own distinctive cuisine using the ingredients locally available. It is very hot and spicy. Coconut is a main ingredient in all the dishes. Kerala has a long coastline and a number of rivers and backwater networks and as a result a strong fishing industry This has contributed to many sea- and river-food based dishes. Rice along with tapioca is the main starch ingredient used in Kerala food. Kerala is also famous for its spices and black pepper, cardamom, doves, ginger, and cinnamon play a big part in its food. Rice is the staple food of Kerala, like most South-Indian states. Besides the boiled product eaten as a staple, there is a wide range of snacks and breakfast fare made of rice and rice flour. Tapioca is popular in central Kerala and in the highlands, and is frequently eaten with fish curry.
Kerala Food Style
Traditional Kerala Sadya is a vegetarian meal served in a plantain leaf especially during special occasions and festivals. It is served on plantain leaf, and is a formal-style meal with three or more courses of rice with aside-dish. The Sadya is complemented by Payasam, a sweet dessert. Kerala offers a number of delicious vegetarian dishes which include Puttu (a type of steam cake made of rice flour and grated coconut)and Kadala (a curry made of black garbanzo beans), Idli (fluffy rice pancakes )and Sambar, dosa and chutney, Idiyappam (also known as Noolputtu or Noolappam), Appam, a circular, fluffy, crisped pancake made of rice flour fermented with a small amount of yeast etc. Idiyapam and Paalappam are accompanied by mutton or vegetable stew. Rice is usually consumed with one or more side dishes. Vegetarian usually consist of multiple courses, each involving rice, one dish(usually sambar, rasam, pulisserry), and one or more side-dishes.
The common non-vegetarian dishes are stew (using chicken, beef or fish), traditional chicken curry, chicken fry, fish curry, fish lobster fry beef fry etc. Biriyani, a Mughal dish consists of rice along with meat, onions, chillies and other spices is also popular.
Popular sweets include Unniappam(fried rice balls)pazham roast(a fried banana bread), pazham boli or pori(ripe plantain slices dipped in sweetened flour paste and fried), kozhukkatta (rice balls filled with a mixture of molasses and grated coconut). Kerala is also famous for pickles and chutneys, crunchy pappadams. banana chips and jackfruit chips. Kuzhalappam, achappam, cheeda, and churuttu are also popular snack items.
A variety of hot ‘herbal teas’ which are served during meal times is another specialty here. Cumin seeds, ginger or coriander seeds are boiled in water and served warm or at room temperature. In to the improved taste, the spices also have digestive and other medicinal properties. Sambharam, diluted buttermilk, often with ginger, lime or curry leaves and green chillies also especially during traditional Sadya. Coffee and tea are also. Usually they are drunk black, or with milk and white. Fresh lime juice is another popular drink. Fruit-based dishes also form a part of Kerala cuisine. Jack fruit, pineapple variety of mangoes and bananas are eaten raw or prepared as dishes and serve as side dishes during meals.