My hometown is in Arakuzha, Kerala. But, I was born and brought up in Andhra and Telangana. I did my elementary schooling in Kothamangalam and have travelled a bit around the country. I am quite a foodie and I appreciate anything that´s made well.
Coming to my native state, I love Kerala cuisine for its variety and unique flavour. It is definitely an acquired taste and not everyone will take to it immediately like say, the more popular Punjabi or Andhra cuisine. I still remember the first time that I tried the ´Orange Chicken´ at Applebee´s Restaurant in California. I spat it out on my plate. It was deep fried chicken in the sweetest sauce that you can imagine. I just couldn´t fathom chicken being sweet. But, after a couple of tries, I have grown to love it. It does have a pungent after-taste thanks to the red chilli flakes after the sugary overload. Much like the very first time I tried the Odiya Tomato Khatta at my friend´s place. The tomato khatta or chutney was sweet with raisins and some fruits (grapes, pineapple etc). It was such a strange dish for me initially because I was only used to the fiery hot Andhra tomato chutney. But, with regular lunches at her place, I have grown to love the Ódiya Tomato Khatta´as well. Especially when paired with rice and mustard fish curry! In fact, I miss the Órange Chicken´and Ódiya Tomato Khatta´so much that I plan to recreate the magic here in my kitchen in Hyderabad soon.
Kerala is blessed with abundance in everything – lush greenery, colourful flora and fauna, misty mountains, serene backwaters, soothing waterfalls, romantic rainfalls, Ayurveda and more. I visited the state a few months back and it amazes how Kerala never fails to stun me every time with its raw, earthy natural beauty.
Here are 5 classic foods from God´s own country which are my personal favourites and I think you should try:
- Kerala breakfast: Kerala breakfasts are truly unique. None like any of the South Indian staples – Idli, Dosa, Vadai. Yes, you do have them and way much more. There´s Puttu made from the wild red rice and it tastes like heaven with Ethekka (Kerala variety of banana), hot ghee and sugar. You can also pair it with spicy Kadala (horsegram) curry. There´s Idiappam which is rice noodles. My mother used to stuff these with coconut and jaggery in the centre and it is simply delicious. Idiappam is also served without the sweet stuffing and with Kerala Egg roast or any savoury side-dish. There´s Palappam which pairs really well with Vegetable/Chicken/Mutton stew. There´s also the mildly sweet, fermented Vattayappam.
- Aviyal: This is a vegetarian´s delight. It is healthy, wholesome and soulful. Kerala is also known for its sombreness except for their love for flashy gold. I truly believe that the understated elegance of the Aviyal represents Kerala. Be it the homes, the dressing style or way of living ,Keralites like it keep it simple and minimalistic. The beauty of the Aviyal lies in its simplicity of preparation but richness in the fusion of tastes from the vegetable medley.
- Kappa with meen curry: Kappa is a tapioca main course dish which is best paired with spicy tangy fish curry. This main-course dish is such a refresher from the Kerala red rice and parottas. It´s a hearty meal in itself and you cannot stop licking your fingers in delight.
- Kerala snacks: There is such a wide range here as well – banana chips, tapioca chips, jackfruit chips, Kerala mixture, Kerala halwa in different varieties (black being the most popular), Pazaham Pozhi (Kerala banana fritters), Avalose podi and unda, Ela ada (steamed in banana leaf), Aval (sweet poha), Uniyappam (deep fried dumplings) and more.
- Kanji, Payar thoran, Pacha Manga Chammanthi with Pappadam: This is Kerala red rice gruel served with tempered green moong dal, raw mango chutney and Kerala papad or pappadams. In fact, vegetable thorans are another speciality from Kerala.
There is a wide variety of dishes to choose from whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. There is so much to explore – Nadan Malabar, Kerala Muslim style of food preparation. Being a coastal state, you have a wide variety of delicious sea food offerings. Trust me, there´s so much more than these 5 listed items above.
Have you been to Kerala? How was your experience? I would love to know.
Author´s Note: This is written for the #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 #Instacuppa hosted by HealthWealthBridge.com, FashionableFoodz.com and AllAboutTheWoman.com. The challenge is from 15 Feb – 26 April 2018. The theme of Week 2 is ´Food & Drinks´. This article is based on one of the prompts given by the hosts for Week 2: ´5 classice food recipes in your state that visitors must try´. This article should not be re purposed, republished or use otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger but some of the images shown may be subject to copyright.
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