Also known as the ‘land of spices’, the cuisine in the south Indian state of Kerala is amazingly diverse and totally unique. The culinary flavors of Kerala are irrevocably linked to its history and geography. Due to its past tradition of trade with the Sumerians, Romans, Greek, Dutch, Portuguese, Arab, Persian and the Chinese over the last few millennia, the cuisine of these nations has blended in with the Kerala cuisine and been adapted to suit the local tastes over time. There is even adversity in flavors between the cuisine of northern and southern Kerala with northern Kerala cuisine having a greater Arab influence.
The heady aroma of fresh spices makes Kerala cuisine so intoxicating that it will leave you craving for more even after your trip is over. The generous use of fresh coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, tamarind and asafetida leaves tongue-tingling memories behind like no other cuisine. And when this food is served on banana leaves, it becomes all the more memorable. The multitude of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes available here are equally delightful and common between the various communities.
With products like rice, tapioca, spices and coconuts being extensively cultivated in Kerala, they are an integral part of meals. The strong fishing industry in this region also makes seafood a popular part of Kerala’s cuisine. A typical meal here consists of rice, fish and a variety of vegetables. Unlike the rest of India, beef is an important of the cuisine here and a favorite of all religious communities. ‘Chili beef and Parotta’ is a must-try dish here due to its unforgettably unique lip-smacking flavor.
Breakfast dishes here are among the healthiest and heartiest and include dosa, idli, appam, idiyappam and puttu. These are usually accompanied by the uber-delicious sambar, egg curry or chickpea curry. One of the best traditional dishes to try out here is the amazingly elaborate ‘Sadya’ which is a vegetarian banquet. This is a celebratory meal served during weddings and festivals and includes anything between 24-28 dishes served on a banana leaf!
Kerala is also a seafood lover’s paradise with a variety of freshly-caught seafood available throughout the year. The hotels in Kovalam are famous for this. Other local delicacies include the unforgettable ‘Biriyani’. This is a flavorful blend of delightfully-spiced rice and chicken/mutton/beef or even seafood. The ‘Kozhikode Biriyani’ and ‘Thalassery Biriyani’ are totally unique to Kerala and should definitely be tried out too.
If you are staying at any of the Raviz hotels in Kerala, you are in luck as they offer these traditional Kerala dishes along with continental fare.