The Kerala is known as the "Land of Spices". Like the unique cultural and natural heritage of the state, the cuisines of Kerala are also unique and special. The Kerala cuisine is known for its spicy and hot foods. The food is generally fresh, aromatic and flavoured. Keralites are mostly fish-and-rice eating people. Sea food is popular among Malayalees. "Karimeen" or fried fish is a famous dish as is fish curry called "Fish Moilee." The evolution of the culinary style of Kerala can be traced to the society, culture, history and topography of the state. Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and spices to flavor the local cuisine giving it a sharp pungency that is heightened with the use of tamarind, while coconut gives it its richness, absorbing some of the tongue-teasing, pepper-hot flavors. Coconut milk is used to make the gravies and lends a sweet tinge to the cooking. The oil used for cooking also is mainly coconut or vegetable oil.
Sadya is the elaborate dish, which is a totally extravagant affair. Usually served as lunch it included rice, Sambar, Avial, variety of pickles, thorans olan, pappadam, banana chips and payasams. Avial, an all time favourite, is a happy blend of vegetables, coconut paste and green chilies. Avial's seasoning is a spoonful of fresh coconut oil and a sprinkling of raw curry leaves, stirred in immediately after the dish is taken off the stove. Payasam is a thick fluid dish of brown molasses, coconut milk and spices, garnished with cashewnuts and raisins. There could be a succession of payasams, such as the lentil payasam and the jackfruit payasam, Bengal gram payasam and so on, though 'Adapradhaman', a rich payasam with thin rice wafers, is arguably the ultimate delicacy. 'Palppayasam', made with sugar, ghee and spices, brewed in creamy white milk is regarded as the last word in sweet dishes.
Aappam is a Kerala favorite and there are many varieties. For breakfast this pancake is usually made from a rice flour and toddy batter. It has a thick, spongy center and very fine lacy outer section. It's usually taken with spiced sauce, sometimes with fruit. Appam is generally eaten with either vegetable or chicken or mutton stew, thoroughly mellowed with thick coconut milk and garnished with curry leaves.
Puttu is another popular breakfast dish. It is made from rice flour dough combined with shredded coconut steamed in a bamboo stick. It is served with steamed bananas and sugar or with a spicy curry prepared from gram or peas.
Idi-appam is rice noodles usually served with coconut milk but they may also accompany meat dishes.These are the main Kerala Cuisine
Some of the popular Kerala dishes:
Rasam is a mixture of chilly and pepper corns powders boiled in diluted tamarind juice. The 'Pulissery' is seasoned buttermilk with turmeric powder and green chillies. 'Moru' or plain sour buttermilk comes salted and with chopped green chillies and ginger. The famous British 'Mulligatawny Soup' is said to have derived its flavour from Rasam.
Tapioca and Fish Curry: It is a sumptuous and mouthwatering delicacy. It is a combination of 'Kappa' and 'Meen curry'. The delicious fish curry is made with garlic paste, onions and red chilies and seasoned with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Thorans are gravy-less dishes of finely chopped boiled vegetables and possibly meet and sea food. The mustard seed used in thorans gives them a pleasantly assertive flavour, while the lightly fried grated coconut adds the church.
Olen is also a very gravy dish made of ash gourd and drum beans where the predominant flavour is that of coconut milk. It is a fairly thick liquid squeezed out from the white flesh of a fresh coconut.
Kerala is equally famous for traditionally homemade snacks a variety of banana chips, and rice flour cookies, are served with evening coffee