9 Kerala dishes you must absolutely try before you die
Food is not for the faint hearted in god’s own country. Every dish, every recipe is an elaborate concoction of varied spices, coconut and hard labour – meticulously ground and fried. And the results are usually spectacular.
We bring you 9 dishes that you will do well to add to your bucket before you kick it. Most heralded and sung, we also feature some unknown gems. Take a read.
1. Erachi Varutharacha Curry (fried-ground mutton curry)
This divine curry is unlikely to be in a hotel menu, it is a traditional dish of the Syrian Christians. As the name suggests, the spices are first fried and then ground and then introduced into a base of mutton, onions and tomatoes. Delicious and sublime, can stand up with any dish conjured up by human imagination. In my opinion, the king of Kerala curries.
2. Karimeen Pollichathu (Steamed Pearlspot)
Marinated with spices and then wrapped in a banana leaf and pan-fried. There is no other in the pantheon of the Kerala dishes which tastes so much of the sea. Even the gods will term it ‘finger lickin’ good’.
A ubiquitous classic from the Kerala stable. Usually made of lentils, yellow pumpkin/ white gourd with an infusion of chillies and curry leaves. Partaken with steaming hot rice, nothing soothes the being on a summer’s day than this relatively simple dish.
4. Puttu & Kadala
The National Geographic once anointed the Kerala breakfast as the best in the world. One of the reasons for that high praise is the puttu and kadala. Pounded rice, layered with coconut and steamed in a cylindrical contraption eaten with chickpeas curry; traditonally accompanied by bananas and papadums. You have eaten nothing of Kerala until you have savoured this delight.
5. Beef Fry & Parottha
The Kerala beef fry has become an icon for Kerala’s meat ensemble. Solidly spicy, fatty and fried to an art; and eaten in combination with the parotta (another totem pole for Kerala food), it is the everyday staple of god’s own country.
6. Muringayila erissery
Not may of you will know that in Kerala, not only is the drumstick used as a vegetable in various dishes, its leaves too find a place in the cuisine. None more delicious and arresting than the curry made with drumstick leaves, shallots, ground coconut and red chillies. A dish fit for the best of the vegetarian gods.
7. Mutton stew
Again, not a very heralded dish. But if you had enough of the fiery and were looking for a laid back, smooth and sophisticated mutton dish, this is your baby. Mutton gently cooked in the delicate flavors of coconut milk, curry leaves, ginger, and cinnamon. A rare, genteel and elegant dish.
8. Kerala Pomfret-Fry
What you get when the king of fishes (I think so) is marinated in a spicy and fiery masala paste and then shallow fried – unquestionably, for me, the greatest of fish fries.
9. Pazham Pori (Banana fritters)
Kerala’s everyday, everywhere snack and dessert. Ripe plantain dipped in maida-batter, soaked in sugar and turmeric; and then deep fried to a golden-brown hue. Simple but sublime.
This may not even have scratched the surface of what Kerala has to offer to an epicurean. Watch this space for more.
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