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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Kerala>> Food of Kerala

Food of Kerala

Rice is the staple of the Kerala diet. Various preparations form the base of the meal; curries of fish, meat and vegetable accompany it. Most dishes bear the flavour of coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds, and the tastes of coconut milk and tamarind. All communities except the Namboodiris, a community of orthodox Brahmins, consume meat with gusto.

Kerala cuisine is distinguished by its regional and religious differences. The food of the Malabar coast is distinct in its use of red chillis, pepper, mutton and beef preparations and the fondness for the famed Malabari 'barotha' a multi-layered fried bread from unleavened dough. The Travancore region is staunchly Hindu, ruled over by Hindu kings so beef was taboo but pork wasn't! Rice is still a staple but preparations are easier in the use of pungent spices but redolent of the strong flavour of coconut oil. The Malayali people relish sea fish, mussels, pork, beef, mutton and fowl, and these may be stewed, fried or curried. Usually Muslims won’t eat pork and Hindus won’t eat beef. The influence of the Middle East is unmistakable in the richness of the meat dishes.

'Puttu' is a breakfast speciality made from steamed rice flour. The Kerala variation of the dosa, the Tamilian rice pancake, is called 'appam'. The 'pathiri' is yet another kind of bread, which may be had sweet or stuffed with meat. The most popular sweets are payasam and pradaman. Rasam, served right at the end of a meal, is light pepper water intended to help you digest your food. Kallu and patta charayam are the local liquor: the latter is a kind of arrack and is extremely potent, and is usually accompanied by boiled eggs and hot pickles. Culinary specialities include banana, yam and jackfruit chips, avial, a vegetable curry flavoured with fresh coconut, green chilis and curd, injipuli, a tamarind and ginger sauce as well as the hot but very delicious Malabari prawn and chicken curries.

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