Almost every dish prepared has coconut and spices
to flavor the local cuisine. The use of tamarind heightens the pungency and
coconut gives its richness. Tender coconut water, a natural product in the
Land of Coconuts, can be a threat to Coke and Pepsi, as it is a nutritious and
refreshing quencher of thirst. Banana chips are to the Keralite mind what
potato fries are to the American. Jackfruit chips, banana chips and the
crunchy Papadam can give French Fries a run for their money any day.
Kerala cuisine is a mixture of meats, vegetables
and seafood flavoured with a variety of spices. The main diet of Coastal
Kerala is Seafood and vegetables in the plains of Kerala. Amongst tribals and
North Kerala, meat is the main food.
Rice, the main food
Daily diet is mainly rice. Idlis or doshas, rice
pancakes, are the main breakfast. Also vadas. Lunch, breakfast or dinner, it
is rice preparation of rice in many aspects, served along with a variety of
fish. Crustaceans, shrimps, lobsters, prawns are some of the other delicacies.
Breakfast and Morning Meals
Keralites are early risers, particularly women in
the villages, who start the day with chai ( tea ) before their daily chores
( which consist of grinding rice, coconuts and spices for the daily meals) .
When the kids are up breakfast starts and consits of Poottu - cylinders of
roughly pounded rice and coconut steamed together in hollowed out bamboos.
Appams or cupped rice pancakes which are soft in the center and sweet bananas
are served. A cup of warm tea, along with egg masala, a tasty gravy based on
onions and eggs , which is poured over the poottu or appam and eaten with the
This standard Keralite breakfast is in tea stalls or corner cafes, where
men take in the chai and breakfast, read the morning newspaper and
debate over the latest political news. In larger towns and cities, a more
generic South Indian breakfast is popular. This is based on the dishes
originally devised in the Karnataka pilgrimage center called Udipi. Deep fried
savoury doughnuts made of chickpea flur called Vada, and circular steamed rice
cakes, called iddlis are served. They come along with Sambar, a sour and hot
watery broth or mushed together with chutni, a paste made with ground coconut
and chopped green or red chillies.
Scientific Research shows
that fruits and vegetables contain anti carcinogenic phytochemicals and
antioxidants, which are excellent for health. Taking in fruits and vegetables
is known as Prithvi Upasana in Naturopathy. When we take in Sattwic veg food,
we increase our vibrations and our level of Consciousness. On the contrary,
when we take in Thamasic non veg food, we lower our vibrations and our level
of Consciousness !
The ingredients given in
the image below show the ingredients of Sadya ! A meal which is ordained by
Naturopathy and Ayurveda !
These idli-vada-sambar breakfasts are available on all hotels and tea stalls,
particulary in urban Kerala. All round the clock in railways and bus stations,
but then by 1100 AM, they switch to their lunchtime menu.
In the resorts of Kovalam and Varkala, toast, omlettes, museli and banana
pancakes are served to the international and domestic tourists. Bread and
espresso are available, along with furit salads, veg and non veg
If you are in a three star hotel, you can get Western food along with the
Eastern. Buffetts rule the roost and you can get Western, Chinese or Oriental
cuisine, as you prefer.
Boiled rice, taken along with moru ( buttermilk ) or rasam ( pepper water in
which tomatoes are boiled, a sort of soup ), and a wide variety of bolied
vegetables constitute the midday meal. Mixed with hot spices, pachadi is a
glorious dish, cooked as it is with tiny pieces of mango and mixed with
spices. Pulses prepared with vegetables is Sambar, which is more or a less a
must for the Keralite. Another dish is thoran, a coconut based dry fish dish.
It is mixed with minutely chopped vegetables. Pappadams, crunchy round flakes
made up of rice flour and pickles ( mango, lime, fish, prawn, pork, sardine,
garlic, tender mango etc ) are a must for the Keralite.
In Islamic establishments, wheat preparations are available. Made from refined
flour, parottas and pathiris are spirals, fried in oils and served with
curries. Chappattis and pooris are also made from wheat and these are
available in almost all hotels in Kerala.
Abundance of jackfruits, pineapples, mangoes, bananas and custard apples
grace Kerala. Alongside evening coffee, snacks like jackfruit or bananachips,
and rice flour cookies called Achappam are served normally.
Malabar Tamarind, Kodam
Puli, Kerala's Secret Spice
Normally tamarind, mangoes and Ilimbi are used to
impart Sour taste in Curries. But Kerala uses a secret spice, Garcinia, Kodam
Puli, known as fish tamarind.
Kodampuli is used in making fish curry but I have
tasted a yummy Tomato Curry made wtih Kodampuli. Taste is simply great. Next
time, when you step in to a Kerala Restaurant, ask for Curries made with
Malabar Tamarind !
Health benefits of this wonder fruit include its
anti oxidant properties and it generates weight loss due to Hydroxycitric
Acid. It is used as a purgative in Alternative Medicine. It acts against
stomach upsets and is anti ulcer and anti arthritis !