Kerala’s 15 Most Famous and Delicious Food Items

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Kerala, the city of the gods, is also known for its exotic spices, so if it’s spicy curry or chicken fry, don’t get surprised by the flavors you get in one dish. Coconut, rice, and fish are the most common ingredient of all the famous food of Kerala. In Kerala, the main component of all the dishes is coconut, they used it in any way it can be- coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut grated, chopped, and this all is because of the richness of coconut trees in Kerala.

The dishes are mainly served on the banana leaves as they give a fragrance to food that is prepared in or served on them, looks good and the nutrients from the leaf get dissolved into the food, which when consumed, offer a host of health benefits being packed with plant-based compounds called polyphenols which are natural oxidants. You are supposed to eat the food using hands. 

When you are in Kerala don’t forget to try these super delicious and spicy foods which will tell you the story of this state. 

1. Sadhya

image credits outlook india

You can call Sadhya the king of all the dishes. Sadhya gives you the complete essence of Kerala. It is prepared on Onam festivals and all ceremonial occasions like festivals, weddings and more. This royal platter consists of many vegetarian dishes that include several curries to be eaten with rice, delicious sabzi, puri, and the final touch given by the traditional Kerala dessert will be payasam. This royal platter balances all the flavors with sour, sweet, tangy, spicy dishes. This is one thing you have to try when you visit Kerala. 

2. Puttu- Kadala curry 

image credit: deccan herald

This is a very popular breakfast in almost every part of Kerala. Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake made with rice flour, salt, water and served with grated coconut. It can be eaten with any curry but it tastes most delicious with kadala curry( black chickpeas curry), the two are made for each other. Spicy coconut gravy and boiled chickpeas with puttu will make your taste buds happy and stomach full. Keralites usually eat heavy breakfast to avoid snacks between breakfast and lunch. 

3. Idiyappam with egg curry

Image credit: youtube

Idiyappam is also known as Noolappam in Kerala cuisine. This is a breakfast dish that is mostly loved by Keralites. Idiyappam is made with the dough consisting of rice flour salt and water, which is then converted into thin strands (like noodles), which are then steamed. This gives the dish a lovely texture which makes it versatile. You can eat it with spicy egg curry which goes the best with this bland Idiyappam. It can also be teamed up with any other curry. 

4. Appam with Ishtu (stew)

appam ishtu
Image credit: Pepper Delight

Another delicacy made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water, and a tiny bit of sugar. You can call it a pancake which is soft and fluffy in the middle and crispy at the edges. It can be enjoyed with ishtu which is originally derived from the European stew and was made with coconut milk and cinnamon and cloves. Instead of chilli powder, they use peppers and green chillies in abundance to give the spiciness. Appam and stew are what you should try because this delicacy can only be found in South India here in Kerala. 

5. Dosa with Kerala style Sāmbhar

dosa sambhar
Image credits :

Dosa- sambhar is one of the ‘world’s 50 most famous delicious foods’. I think dosa and sambhar is something that you can find almost everywhere in India but no place can beat the flavors of Dosa and Sambhar in Kerala. Sambhar is a tangy vegetable curry including lentils and spices and served with delicious coconut chutney. This is one of the best dishes in Kerala.  

6. Naadan Kozhi Varuthathu / spicy chicken fry

spicy chicken fry
Image credit Kerala mutton curry recipe

This spicy chicken is fried in a bunch of spices, by marinating and frying the pieces in hot coconut oil until its brown. If you are a chicken lover then you should try this dish, it’s crispy outside and crunchy and juicy inside. Only the aroma of this chicken will make you fall in love with this dish. 

7. Malabar biryani

malabar biryani
Image credits :swiggy

Biryani in Kerala? Hell yes! It’s actually the most soulful and exotic dish of Kerala cuisine. It is made with various spices, meat, and basmati rice. The preparation needs a long time but that wait is worth the final product of aromatic rice, meat with boiled egg, yogurt salsa and pickle. No need for a curry to eat with this Biryani. Only one plate of this delicious Biryani is enough to make a person happy here in Kerala. 

 8. Naadan kozhi curry (Kerala chicken curry) 

kerala chicken curry
Image credits: food for love

This Kerala chicken curry is spicy with a sort of creamy texture that comes from the coconut milk added into it. This spicy curry goes with rice or parottas. Eat it with onion and vinegar on the banana leaf and forget KFC !!

9. Kallummakkaya Ularthiyath/ Mussel Stir Fry

mussels stir fry
Image credits; youtube

After properly cleaning the mussels, they are cooked with shallots, garlic, chillies, turmeric, garam masala, and grated coconut. This dish is very famous in Kerala and best teamed up with boiled kappa or cassava or you can eat it with rice along with hot curries and vegetables. This is mostly found in the coastal lines. It will leave you licking your fingers!!

10. Karimeen Pollichthu (Fish) 

karimeen pollichatu
Image Credits: Bsix Inn

Kerala’s most traditional and delicious delicacy, karimeen Pollichatu is a dish made out of the pearl spot fish, a fish commonly found in the backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom. It is prepared by marinating the fish with lemon juice, red chillies and other ingredients (most of them area spices) and then wrapped and baked in plantain leaves. Its unique style of preparing gives it a rich and exotic flavor. 

11. Idli sambhar 

idli sambhar
Image credit: medium

Idli sambhar is not just eaten in Kerala but everywhere in India! The perfect combination of rice cake and tangy curry of aromatic spices. The sambhar is also healthy. For most of the food lovers, I can say Idli sambhar is love at first bite!! 

12. Banana Chips 

Image credits anupam bakery

Golden and crunchy chips of bananas are favorite snacks of all the Keralites. These crispy golden chips are made of raw banana which is thinly sliced, left to dry in the sun and then deep-fried. You can get it in almost every shop in Kerala.

13. Pazham Pori 

pazham puri
Image credits : pinterest

 Pazham puri can be translated to fried bananas. This dish is made by slicing the length of the ripe bananas, which are then dipped into a batter of flour and deep-fried in oil. It is an all-time favorite dish with tea. 

14. Payasam

Image credits : pinterest

This is the dish which will satisfy your sweet tooth and has won the hearts of many food lovers. In Kerala, usually, three different types of payasam are served at the end of Sadhya which is paal (milk) payasam, ada (rice batter )payasam and kadala( lentil) payasam. Coconut is added into the payasam to give it a different flavor and taste.

15. Kerala Style Fish Molee

fish molee
Image credits : Pepper Delight

This dish is one of the most favorite dishes of all residing in and visiting Kerala. The significant flavors of coconut and kocoum will simply make your taste buds super happy! I think anyone who is a seafood lover must try this dish once and fall in love with the Kerala-style fish molee. 

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