The Flavorful Spices of Kerala Spreading the Aromas of Malabar


Image – Pixabay

Apart from beautiful landscapes and the cultural heritage of the state of Kerala, it is also famous around the globe for its cuisine and a primary reason for that is its spices that enhance the flavor of these already mouth-watering dishes of Kerala. It has been since prehistoric times that the spices of Kerala have been in great demand, especially with foreign powers that arrived at the Malabar coast such as the Arabs, British, Chinese, Portuguese, and French. Furthermore, the climate of Kerala allows the spice cultivation to thrive and when visiting the spice gardens of the state, one is simply overtaken by the fragrance around them. Kerala’s home to myriad spices, so let’s go on a flavorful journey of the spices of Kerala.

1. Cardamom

Spices of Kerala-Cardamom
Image/Mauro Cateb/Flickr

Kerala is one of the largest markets of cardamom in the entire world and the Malabar variety is native to the state. It can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. This spice pairs amazingly well with seafood, red meal, lentils by enhancing their tastes. Furthermore, it makes a great addition to tea and baked goods. In Kerala, cardamom is cultivated throughout the year. Cardamom has various health benefits and has therefore truly earned its status as the queen of all spices.

2. Clove

Spices of Kerala-Clove

A staple of every home in Kerala, clove flourishes in Kerala’s climate which allows for its flowering. People there utilize it for marinating as well as for meat rubs. If you haven’t tried clove cookies, then you don’t know what you are missing out on. Clove, similar to cardamom, can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. Cloves are very healthy for you since they’re high in antioxidants, help in regulating blood sugar as well as good for your liver.

3. Pepper

Spices of Kerala-Pepper

This versatile spice is widely grown in the state of Kerala. The various varieties found here are black pepper, green pepper as well as white pepper. Pepper is one of the most commonly used spices in all households of not only Kerala but the entire country. Especially when it comes to black pepper, it goes with every savory dish and only makes it all the more delicious. Peppers are additionally even beneficial for your brain and are known to have cancer-fighting properties.

4. Cinnamon

Spices of Kerala-Cinamon

The special variety of cinnamon found in Kerala is truly delectable and is truly unique. It is grown typically in the Malabar Spice Plantations. Apart from being used in cooking, it is also an essential part of the confectionery industry. Furthermore, cinnamon oil extraction is also a greatly yielding venture. Cinnamon desserts are a must-try. Cinnamon rolls, cookies, snickerdoodles, churros, baklava, puddings, and a variety of pies are just a tip of the delicious goods that this spice has to offer.

5. Nutmeg

Spices of Kerala-Nutmeg

Nutmeg is practically synonymous with delicious and is grown primarily in South India and the variety found in Kerala is a must-try. Nutmeg is utilized by people here as a condiment and is added to dishes to enhance their taste and flavor. Nutmeg is known for its unique aroma and goes well with sauces and soufflés. Furthermore, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to improve your mood. Who wouldn’t feel better after eating a nutmeg delicacy?

6. Vanilla

Image – Pixabay

The famous vanilla is another prominent spice that is widely grown in Kerala. The delicious sweets and desserts of Kerala wouldn’t be possible without the delectable taste of vanilla. It is a very popular crop and does great in the market yielding the farmers of Kerala a high income. Vanilla has lower calories as compared to sugar and is recommended to ease toothaches. The best part is the calming effect that it produces. Furthermore, the aroma of vanilla is soothing and its baked goods are a must-try.

7. Turmeric

Spices of Kerala-Turmeric
Image/Marco Verch/Flickr

An essential component of any Indian spice cabinet, turmeric is cultivated in the state of Kerala and is used not only in cooking but also as a coloring agent, for its medicinal purposes and as a dye. The aroma of turmeric is unique and truly takes over you. It is customarily added at the beginning of a dish and is then mixed with onions and garlic. It is scientifically proven that turmeric works to prevent cancer as well as help in treating Alzheimer’s.

8. Star Anise

Spices of Kerala-Star Anise

A prevalent spice of Kerala, star anise is a spice that is known to possess a taste similar to that of licorice. While cooking, it is used with soups, broths, and meats for even though it has a sweet essence, it adds that to the aforementioned dishes giving them a certain tang. Additionally, it can also be added to baked goods for anyone with a sweet tooth. Furthermore, star anise is considered to be very beneficial in the treatment of respiratory disorders, nausea, and other related issues as per ancient Chinese medical practices.

9. Ginger

Spices of Kerala-Ginger

Ginger, a prominent spice of Kerala, holds a very special place in its cuisine. Kerala’s infamous meal Sadya serves a ginger pickle as a side dish. The variety of ginger found in this state is considered to be the best in the country. When it comes to its flavor, ginger possesses a unique blend of sweetness and tanginess. This spice is a staple of every Indian household and is commonly used in savory dishes.

10. Tamarind

Spices of Kerala-Tamrind
Image/Rafael Saldana/Flickr

Another popular culinary item of Kerala remains tamarind. The sour taste of tamarind is something everyone longs for. In Kerala, a special native variety of the same can be found that is the Malabar Tamarind. It is an essential part of the cuisine there and stands out in every way. It is popularly used in the traditional delicious fish curry of Kerala. Apart from that, it is commonly used in chutneys as well as curries. The pairing of tamarind with coconut milk is quite popular throughout the region.

After reading about these spices, one is bound to be in the mood for some delicious food prepared using these. The variety of spices in Kerala is truly impeccable and as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life! Spices tie a dish together and complete its favor. These naturally grown spices of Kerala even offer a healthier alternative to adding sauces and other oils. So what are you waiting for? Spice up your life and start cooking!

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