Kerala, often referred to as God’s Own Country, is not just a paradise for its lush landscapes, backwaters, and cultural heritage. But the Kerala traditional foods are also a known part of its culture.
It’s culinary traditions are as diverse as its geography, and a journey through Kerala is incomplete without savoring its tasty dishes. In this blog we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey through the best traditional food Kerala has to offer. We will explore the dishes that you absolutely must try when visiting this southern gem.
1: Sadya- The Grand Feast
Let’s start with the grandest of them all, the Sadya. In the Kerala traditional foods Sadya is the most famous.
Served on a banana leaf, Sadya is a sumptuous vegetarian meal that features an array of dishes, each one is delicious. It’s often associated with festivals and special occasions and is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.
A tangy lentil soup with vegetables:
A flavorful tamarind soup with spices:
A simple, yet delicious, lentil curry.
A yogurt based side dish with various vegetables.
Sadya is a culinary delight that showcases the rich flavors of Kerala and leaves you with a satisfying and full stomach.
2: Karimeen Pollichathu- Fish Lover’s Delight
Kerala’s coastal location ensures that seafood is a prominent part of its cuisine. The Karimeen Pollichathu is a seafood lover’s dream come true.
This dish features pearl spot fish (karimeen) marinated in a blend of spices and herbs. It gets wrapped in banana leaves, and then pan fried or grilled to perfection. The banana leaves infuse the fish with a unique aroma and flavor, making it a must try delicacy.
3: Kerala Parotta with Chicken Curry
Kerala Parotta, also known as Malabar Parotta, is a flaky, layered flatbread that pairs perfectly with spicy and flavorful chicken curry. The parotta is made by kneading maida (all purpose flour) with ghee.
Then it is folded multiple times to create layers before cooking it on a griddle. When torn apart, it reveals its characteristic layers, making it as delightful to look at as it is to eat.
4: Kerala Sambhar
Sambhar, a staple in South Indian cuisine, takes on a unique Kerala twist. Kerala Sambhar is a fragrant and mildly spicy lentil soup made with locally grown vegetables, tamarind, and special blend of spices.
It’s typically served as an accompaniment to rice or as a side dish with dosa and idli. The balance of flavors and the inclusion of coconut make Kerala Sambhar stand out.
5: Puttu and Kadala Curry
Puttu, a cylindrical steamed rice cake, is a classic Kerala breakfast dish. It’s typically made by layering grated coconut and rice flour and then steaming it.
Puttu is best enjoyed with Kadala Curry, a spicy black chickpea curry cooked in aromatic spices and coconut milk. The combination of soft, crumbly Puttu and flavorful Kadala Curry is a breakfast experience like no other.
6: Appam with Stew
Appam, also known as hoppers, is a thin, lacy rice pancake that’s crispy around the edges and soft in the center. It’s a popular breakfast item and is usually served with a delicious vegetable stew.
The stew is a mild and creamy curry made with mixed vegetables, coconut milk, and a delicate blend of spices. The combination of Appam and Stew is a delightful fusion of textures and flavors.
7: Beef Ularthiyathu
For those who enjoy a bit of spice and bold flavors, Beef Ularthiyathu is a Kerala dish you must try. It’s a dry beef fry that’s marinated with a mix of fiery spices and then slow cooked to perfection.
The result is tender, flavorful chunks of beef with a satisfying kick. It’s often enjoyed as a side dish with rice or Kerala bread.
No traditional Kerala meal is complete without a sweet ending, and Payasam is the perfect choice. It’s a creamy dessert made with ingredients like rice, vermicelli, or lentils, cooked in milk and flavored with cardamom and saffron. There are various types of Payasam, but one of the most famous is Palada Payasam, made with rice flakes and milk.
9: Banana Chips
Banana chips, locally known as Nendran Chips, are a beloved Kerala snack. Thin slices of ripe bananas are deep fried to perfection, resulting in crispy, slightly sweet chips that are incredibly addictive. These chips are readily available throughout Kerala and make for a fantastic souvenir to take home.
10: Thattukada Specials
Thattukadas are roadside stalls that serve a variety of mouthwatering Kerala snacks. Some must try items at a Thattukada include.
Deep fried lentil fritters that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Flaky pastry filled with a spiced egg mixture.
Spicy fried chicken that’s bursting with flavor.
Kerala’s culinary adventures are a journey of flavors, aromas, and unique experiences. From the grand feasts of Sadya to the delightful street food at Thattukadas, Kerala’s cuisine has something to offer every palate.
So, when you visit this enchanting state, don’t miss the opportunity to savor these Kerala traditional dishes. As they reflect the rich culture and heritage of Kerala. Each bite will be a gastronomic delight that You will remember long after your trip is over.