Kerela embraces a beautiful paradise that allures every visitor around the globe. This captivating beauty stands on the tropical Malabar Coast of south-western India and is avowed as one of the most notable spots of Indian Tourism with backwaters, hill stations, and beaches. Apart from its breathtaking beauty and glorious traditions, Kerela embosoms delicious delicacies to relish.
My conversation with Nancy Felix from the University of Mumbai about the authentic cuisines of Kerela took me on a roller coaster ride for the appetite.
Kappa Biryani is one of the most authentic cuisines and yet is unknown to the known world. ‘Kappa’ is referred to as Tapioca and is mixed with many spices along with meat (mainly beef) to enhance its taste and flavor to make a thick porridge. The perfect blend of spices and its thick texture makes it nonpareil to astonish the connoisseur.
It is a perfect snack to relish during tea time where banana is crushed and mixed with rice flour to make a smooth batter added by some sugar and cardamom and further added to a pan (available to make unniappam) and fried until it turns brown. This snack has been really common in every household in every part of India. The blend of three different tastes and flavors makes the snack perfect to savour in the silence of relaxing evening tea.
Idiyappam is another cuisine that can take one to heaven in every bite and is often preferred with egg curry. The rice flour is kneaded with warm water to form a dough that is extruded to form a thin rice noodle topped with coconut and is further steamed until cooked. Devouring by topping coconut and sugar, Iddiapam makes the perfect snack.
Sugean is another palatable and healthy snack to relish during tea time where Mung bean is boiled and blended with coconut and sugar to make round balls and coated with all-purpose flour and fried.
It can refer as a banana fritter as the pieces of banana are coated with a batter made of chickpea flour, turmeric, and salt and fried to form a crispy snack perfect to relish with your favorite beverage. The banana used here is long and is different from the rest of the varietals of the species (known as Etchya in localities).
This hot and tangy curry is palatable and leaves one completely flabbergasted. Ginger is mixed with different spices, tamarind, and jaggery to intensify the hot, sweet, and tanginess of the dish. It is served in banana leaf during Onam (a harvest festival celebrated in Kerela and also to immortalize king Mahabali).
Credits - Nancy Felix (University of Mumbai)
This curry is prepared by boiling cucumber and cooking it with mustard seeds mixed with different spices to enhance the aroma and stirred until cooked. It is ended by mixing curd and red chili to escalate the flavor of the curry.
Pazham kanji is rice with people who prefers it with handmade chili sauce (chutney). The cooked red rice is soaked in water overnight to intensify its soothing texture and is taken with chili chutney which is made via grinding the red chili with garlic and a pinch of salt.
Dessert plays an important role in calming down the sweet craving after a delectable meal and Kerela’s authentic desserts are to die for.
Payasam is a rice pudding made with aromatic rice in milk topped with nuts and cooked until it thickens.
There are two types of palatable pudding that Kerela’s authentic delicacies have to offer.
2. Rice and jaggery with milk
The pudding is cooked in milk and jaggery is used as a sweetening agent and further topped with nuts.
3.Rice and sugar with milk
The pudding is the same as rice and jaggery. However, sugar is used as a sweetening agent and topped with nuts.
4. Lover letter
it is another heavenly sweet dish where wheat mixed with water making it a smooth batter and spread over pan like in Dosa and stuffed with coconut and sugar and further rolled to enjoy the divine snack.
5. Adda Pradhaman
This is one of the most classic and savored dishes of Onam. People from every region and generation relish it. Adda Pradhaman is made out of rice dough and steamed with banana leaf wrapping. The adda is cut into tiny pieces and then the adda pudding is prepared with milk, Ghee topped with some nuts and condensed milk to thicken the pudding and intensify its taste. This thick dessert is often offered on Mallu birthdays to end the evening perfectly.
Mor is the authentic drink which is preferred as an after-lunch drink.
1. Paccha Mor
Here the curd is mixed with onion, basil leaves, and chilly and beat it loosely to savor after a meal. This drink is advantageous for the digestive tract. It is also savored with rice.
2. Kacchia Mor
Kacchia Mor is prepared by heating some mustard oil in a pan and pouring ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, and onion mixing them, and lastly pouring curd and salt to taste and some basil leaves to enhance the aroma.
Some other divine delicacies are Kumbilappam in which jackfruit is mixed with melted jaggery along with rice flour. The kumbil leaf is twisted to cone shape and the paste is stuffed. The sweet and tangy pineapple curry which is served in Onam and is savored with delight, the hot and spicy chilly chutney served with soothing Pazham Kanji is another astonishing dish, and Kozha Lappam.
Banana leaf has been playing a vital role in the region of the south since the ancient era. It is used as a pan or wraps the item in banana leaf to steam it; this not only gives a soothing texture but also adds a specific taste and aroma to the food. Banana, as plates are eco-friendly options, and the polyphenols present in banana leaves help to prevent many lifestyle diseases along with the antibacterial properties which help to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms present in food. Banana leaves are also used as primary packaging material in the rural part of Kerela.