Kerala claims the fame – ‘ the Gods Own Country’ with its geographical features and the rich cultural heritage it possess. Likewise, Kerala cuisines have unique elements that reflects the culture, history and tradition of the people.
Kerala is also known as the ‘Land of Spices’. The availability and ample production of various spices in the State had influenced the food culture of the Malayalis. Kerala dishes are spicy flavoured and colourful. Green chillies, dried red chillies, pepper, cumin, corriander, cinnamon and clove are used liberally in cooking. Much available coconut and coconut oil are also an inevitable element in Kerala dishes.
The most common items for Kerala breakfast are Idiyappam (Noolputtu) with Egg gravy, Puttu with Kadala curry, Appam with chicken/beef/egg stew, Idly/dosai with Sambar/chutney and Uppuma. For lunch and dinner, boiled rice is served with sambar or pulissery, thoran or mezhukkuparatti, pickles and pappadam.
Sea foods like fishes, crabs, mussels, oysters are very popular among the Malayalis, and included in every meal. ‘Karimeen’ (Green Chromide) fry and ‘pollichathu’ of Kerala are famous among the tourists.
Tappoica with fish curry, kanji and payaru and puzhukku are the traditional foods of the common man in Kerala.
The cooking style and eating habits of the Malayalis differ in various communities. In addition to vegetables, the Muslims includes meat items like chicken, beef and mutton in their preparations, while the Christians give equal importance to meat and fish. In Hindus, the Brahmins and the Ambalavasi communities are pure vegetarians. Others from the Hindu community prefer fish with vegetables.
Special food items are renowned in the name of certain regions of Kerala. The Thalassery Biriyani, Kozhikkodan Halwa, Ramasseri Idly, Banana chips of Thrissur are examples.
Kerala is well known for its traditional ‘Sadya’ served on festivals and special occasions like marriages,birthdays etc. ‘Sadya’ is a vegetarian feast meal served in banana leaf. With boiled rice, parippu, sambar, rasam pulissery, mooru, aviyal, theeyal, olan, kaalan, pulinji, thoran, variety of pickles, pappadam, banana chipps, sharkkara chipps, banana and payasams like adapradhaman and palppayasam are served.
Kerala has a veriety of traditional snacks like the Banana chipps, Jackfruit chipps, Achappam, Kuzhalappam, Churuttu, Avalosunda, Uzhunnuvada, Parippu vada, Bonda, Sukhiyan, Ila ada, Vazhakka appam, Murukku, Pakkavada, Pappada boli etc.
Seasonal fruits like Jackfruit, Mangoes, Papaya and Lime also are a part of the food culture of the Malayalis.