Best Food to Try in Kerala

by Surbhi Bishnoi

Kerala is one of the most visited destinations in India which makes it quite popular among travelers across the world. The pristine landscapes, beautiful backwaters, stunning beaches, and lush greenery can win anyone’s heart. However Kerala is not just famous for its natural beauty and architectural marvels, but also for its cuisine.

The cuisine of Kerala has been influenced by many cultures over the course of history. You can find the influence of Malabari, French, and Arabian cuisine in the local dishes. This makes the state a great destination for foodies to explore. There might be hundreds of dishes in Kerala that you would love to try but we are discussing some of the best food to try in Kerala. So pace yourself and see which food you need to look out for while you are exploring the beautiful land of Kerala.

1. Puttu and Kadala Curry 

Puttu and Kadala Curry is a staple dish in Kerala which is usually eaten as breakfast. Puttu is made up of rice that is cooked in a cylindrical mold grated with coconut. It looks like a rice cake and is very simple to eat. The Kadala Curry on the other hand is made up of black chickpeas and is cooked with onions, spices, and coconut milk which gives it a thick creamy gravy like texture. They are usually served together along with some grated coconut and ripe banana. It’s a very simple yet flavourful dish which feels quite wholesome.

2. Erissey (Pumpkin and Lentil Curry)

Erissey is another popular traditional dish of Kerala. As its name suggests, the curry consists of two main ingredients, pumpkin and lentils. Of course it is cooked with several spices, coconut, garlic, and onions. The curry is served with rice and is eaten on special occasions and festivals like Onam. This is also a simple yet delicious dish to try out in Kerala. 

3. Idiyappam With Curry

Idiyappam is also one of the most popular dishes of the state. This is also made up of rice, water, and a pinch of salt. Idiyappam has a texture of very fine noodles that looks beautiful. Traditionally, idiyappam is served with egg curry but you can have it with any curry. 

4. Malabar Parotta with Kerala Curry

Malabar Parotta is a flat bread with lots of layers and cooked in ghee (kind of like North Indian paratha). It is served with curry made from mutton or chicken that are marinated with different local spices and cooked in ghee and sometimes coconut milk too. If you are vegetarian then you can have the Malabar parotta with any vegetarian curry. (You should ask if the parotta is made with eggs or not, as some people make the dough with eggs).

5. Appam with Stew 

Appam with stew is also a popular traditional dish of Kerala that you must have. It looks like a white crepe. The appam is made up of fermented rice with coconut milk, and it is cooked with coconut water with a little sugar. The apps are served with stew. The stew was inspired by the Europeans and consists of coconut milk, cinnamon, cloves and shallots. This sweet and savory flavor is quite delicious and it will stay with you for a long time. 

6. Karimeen pollichathu (fish)

Fishes are a huge part of Kerala’s cuisine and this dish signifies that. The dish is made with Karimeen (pearl spot fish) that are commonly found in the backwaters of Kerala. It is marinated with spices and lemon juice and then wrapped in plantain leaves. It is cooked slowly for hours which gives a unique and rich flours. It can be served with rice or appam. 

7. Ela Sadya 

It is not just one dish but a whole meal consists of many dishes that are traditionally made in the state. You can expect more than 10 dishes in this meal consisting of pachadi, kichadi, pulissery, olan, sambar, varavu, thoran, aviyal, payasam, and of course rice. This meal is popular on special occasions and in many hotels you can find it in the specials. It’s simple and rich in flavors. So if you want to taste many flavors, this should be your go to dish. 

8. Dosa Ghee Roast With Kerala Style Sambar

Dosa is generally being called as a South Indian dish, but every state or even the cities have its own version of dosa. So while you are in Kerala make sure to try their dosa that is cooked with ghee. It is served with Kerala style sambar that consists of local flavors. You can find it in any cafe or restaurant on your way! 

9. Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu (Spicy Chicken Fry)

As its name states, this is a chicken dish cooked with the local spices and marinated in a thick layer of different ingredients. It is then fried until it’s nicely cooked. You can have it with any of the side dishes, rice, and bread. It’s delicious and pretty unique to taste, so give it a try. 

10. Palada payasam

If you were looking for something sweet then palada payasam must be on your list of foods to try in Kerala. This is made up with milk, cardamom, ghee, and vermicelli. It is slowly cooked to give it a rich and creamy flavor. It’s a must have if you love desserts. 

11. Banana Fritters 

Since banana is a popular ingredient in Kerala you can find it in many dishes. And there are many dishes that are solely made from bananas such as banana chips, banana fritters, and many more. The banana fritters can be sweet or savory, so you can get anything for your liking. Different people have different recipes for their banana fritters, so make sure to try lots of them to discover unique taste and flavors.

12. Kerala prawn curry

Last but not the least, your visit to Kerala would be incomplete if you didn’t try Kerala Prawn Curry. This prawn curry is made from marinated prawns, drumsticks, raw mango, coconut milk, and lots of spices. It’s tangy, spicy, and oh so delicious!! 

Conclusion

So these are some of the best foods that you would love to try out in Kerala. The touch of local spices and old age style of cooking makes the cuisine distinct and delicious. You can find the version of these dishes in every city of Kerala along with a special and unique dish of the locals. Overall, if you love to try different food then you are going to love Kerala’s cuisine! 

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