11 Dishes from Kerala That You Must-Try to Cherish the Malabar Cuisine


If any person who has visited Kerala tells you it is ‘God’s own Country’, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because God’s own country, indeed, it is! One of the best states in India, Kerala is highly famous, both in India and abroad, for its magnificent beaches lined with palm trees, exquisite temples, scenic beauty, and delicious cuisine. A true food lover’s delight, Kerala is a paradise of mind-blowing and flavorsome dishes, which you have to try out if you get the chance. And to do precisely that, here are the top 11 dishes from Kerala cuisine which will surely make you salivate.

1. Puttu and Kadala Curry

Dishes from Kerala-Puttu and Kadala Curry

A popular breakfast dish in Kerela, Puttu, and Kadala curry is enjoyed in several households by members of all age groups. Puttu can be defined as a steamed rice cake with grated coconut in a cylindrical shape, whereas Kadala simply means a curry of chickpeas. There are numerous variations to the Kadala recipe; moreover, one cannot ignore its high nutritional value and health benefits. A delicious treat, indeed!

2. Idiyappam Curry

Dishes from Kerala-Idiyappam Curry

Idiyappam is an amazing dinner recipe usually served with a side of various curries such as peas curry, chicken or egg curry, and many more. It is also called as Noolappam in several Kerala households. While the dish looks complicated to prepare, in reality, it is simple. The Idiyappam consists of stands of sevai interlinked together to form a beautiful pattern. This dish is completed by preparing any kind of mouth-watering curry to accompany the Idiyappam.

3. Ela Sadya

Dishes from Kerala-Ela Sadya

Considered as one of the best and most versatile dishes in Kerala cuisine, Ela Sadya is sure to make you feel amazed! It is a traditional dish prepared on special occasions and religious ceremonies. With more than 10 individual items presented before you on a green banana leaf, Ela Sadya is usually prepared by the hosts. All the items are served in a specific order to aid in digestion and are extremely healthy to consume. Preparing the entire dish is somewhat time-consuming, however, the deliciousness that one experiences after is extraordinary.

4. Nanadan Kozhi Curry

Dishes from Kerala-Nandan Kozhi Curry

A real treat for all the meat lovers out there, you cannot leave Kerala without experiencing its flavors. Nadan Kozhi Curry is a traditional chicken fry famous all over Kerala. Adding this dish to your meal is sure to give it a surprising burst of spicy flavor. It is usually served with chappatis, appam, or any rice varieties, along with a side of onions or garlic to further elevate its taste.

5. Malabar Parota

Dishes from Kerala-Malabar Parota

This South Indian flatbread is a swirl of diversity to your everyday chappatis. Made with flour or wheat, this parota is flaky in texture. It essentially constitutes several layers of parottas merely twisted and folded together to form one whole parota. These parotas are mainly served with spicy curries such as Kurma or egg curry. A pleasant distinction from the usual rice-based recipes, the Malabar Parota is a must-try!

6. Chatti Pathiri

Dishes from Kerala-Chatti Pathiri

Have you tasted the famous Italian dish lasagna, but with an Indian twist? If not, then you must try out this superb dish which can be made both sweet and spicy. Thin pancakes are arranged (unlike the lasagna, mind you!) on the inside and the filling varies in accordance to how you want the recipe to be. Traditionally, a sweet Chatti Pathiri is filled with raisins, dates, or nuts; and the savory version contains any sort of meat within. Experience the flavors of the Chatti Pathiri in a traditional wedding in Kerala or during the Ramadan festival.

7. Ethakka Appam

Dishes from Kerala-Ethakka Appam
Image/Charles Haynes/Flickr

A common breakfast and tea-time recipe, the Ethakka Appam is delicious banana fritters. These deep-fried delicacies are made by coating bananas with either maida or besan and serving with a preferred beverage. This recipe is extremely simple to prepare and can be prepared by the likes of children as well.

8. Palada Payasam

Dishes from Kerala-Payasam

A personal favorite of mine, Palada Payasam is the king of Kerala cuisine. It is a mouth-watering sweet dish, prepared by combining a few key ingredients such as milk, ghee, and rice ada. Since the dish is a sort of sweet kheer, the rice ada is an important component of the recipe. Even though traditionally it wasn’t done so, you can top the Palada Payasam with some dry raisins or almonds to elevate its taste. This beautiful recipe is prepared during several South Indian festivals and weddings.

9. Appam with Vegetable Stew

Dishes from Kerala-Vegetable Stew
Image/Gopal Krishna/Pixahive

The combination of Malabar Parota and Veg Kurma is irreplaceable, however, one must not completely ignore this brilliant recipe. Appam can be consumed with several items, but nothing beats its taste with the Kerala-style Vegetable Stew. A flavorsome breakfast dish, you can make the stew by combining several vegetables such as carrot, peas, potatoes, or any other available vegetables at home. Further, coconut milk is added to the mixture to create an aromatic flavor. Have some hot appam and stew to start your morning on a delicious note!

10. Erissery

Dishes from Kerala-Erissery

Made with yams and plantains, the Erissery is a celebration of flavor in the true sense. It is usually prepared during Onam, which is an important festival in the South Indian culture. Apart from yams and plantains, the recipe also contains cowpeas and pumpkin to create a curry-like texture. This savory delight tastes heavenly with rice or even with sambhar.

11. Nendran Banana Halwa

Dishes from Kerala-Nendran Banana Halwa

A holy combination of fresh, ripe bananas, sugar, and ghee; the Nendran Banana Halwa is highly recommended to any sweet tooth (and this is coming from a sweet lover, so you can trust it). The sweetmeat melts in your mouth as soon as you place it in, and I guarantee, that you’ll reach for more. The dessert is shaped into rectangular parts and is a favorite amongst the kiddies!

After reading this article, you must now realize why Kerala is also referred to as ‘The Land of Spices’. The extensive use of cardamom, turmeric, and other spices accompanied by common cooking ingredients such as chilies, coconut, and rice accounts for the massive cuisine of Kerala. Having a little bit to suit every person’s taste, these dishes are known to agree with people of every age and gender.

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