What is special about Kerala food?
The wide variety of tasty and yummy dishes of Kerala are healthy as well as packed with the essential nutrients needed for the human body like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The abundance of coconut makes it the main ingredient in almost all the dishes. The use of coconut comes in different forms like coconut kernel, cream and milk. These are mainly used for the thickening and flavouring of the gravies and dishes respectively. The use of coconut kernel too happens in different forms – fresh or fried. Coconut kernel is used to prepare coconut cream from which the virgin coconut oil is made. The health benefits of which is abundant and endless. The use of tender coconut kernel makes the desserts so delicious. This also helps to treat acidity in the body and is good for digestion.
Diversity in Kerala cuisine
The food diversity of Kerala cuisine ranges greatly from community to community:
- Sadya is the traditional vegetarian feast of Keralites. All Hindu wedding feasts, Onam, Vishu and other related celebrations serve a delicious and delightful vegetarian banquet. A typical Kerala sadya will have 24 – 28 variety dishes served in a single meal. These dishes are served in a specific order on a banana leaf. Sadya refers to the largest feast in Malayalam.
- The Mappila cuisine in Kerala is famous for the wide variety of delicious biriyanis. The Mappila community was greatly influenced by the Arabs and the result was a banquet of flavourful dishes in Kerala. The speciality or the highlight of the cuisine is the use of fragrant spices like pepper, cloves and cardamom. The mouth-watering biriyanis like Thalassery Biriyani, Kozhikode Biriyani etc and the all-time favourite layered parottas are said to be the highlights along with other hundreds of non-vegetarian varieties like Unnakaaya, Arikadukka, Muttamala etc.
- Christians or Nasranis (the popular name for Christians in Kerala) have their own specialities in food habits. Almost all the famous snacks like Achappam, Kuzhalappam etc were the contribution of the Christian cuisine. Mappas and Stew are the two famous non vegetarian dishes from their list of contribution. Red meat varieties are also abundant among this wide spread community. All their religious occasions and other feasts will have a widespread banquet of non-vegetarian items especially that of red meat like the Irachi Ularthiathu.