Kerala experiences a rich history in food and cuisine and so the food culture is totally different from the rest of the country. The cuisine of the Malabar region has a different flavor, borrowed from the traders who regularly visited the region. Kerala menu has an abundance of coconut, rice, tapioca and spices like black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. The Portuguese introduced cassava, now widely consumed in Kerala. The region is also famous for its Sadhya, served at the Hindu festival Onam and consisting of boiled rice and a host of vegetarian dishes on a banana leaf. Kerala cuisine also highlights a lot of seafood like fish, prawns, mussels, and crabs because of its long coastline. Here’s a list of some of the famous cuisine of Kerala which you all must try while visiting!

1. Ela Sadya

Ela Sadya is the king of all-vegetarian Kerala food! With more options than you’d ever have seen on your platter, Sadya is prepared and served during religious and ceremonial occasions like festivals, weddings, and more. This royal lunch combination of dishes like pachadi, kichadi, pulissery, olan, sambar, varavu, thoran, aviyal, payasam, served with hot steaming rice on a banana leaf can give the enormous thali of Chokhi Dhani a run for its money any day!

2. Puttu and Kadala Curry

A famous breakfast recipe out of the many Kerala dishes, Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake that is cooked in a mold with grated coconut. It can be served with ripe bananas, grated coconut, and kadala curry (the Keralite version of ‘Kala Chana’! Don’t be fooled by the simple appearance of this dish; Puttu can be very flavorsome!

3. Erissery (Pumpkin and Lentil Stew)

A hit in every kitchen of Kerala, this curry is made from either raw plantains or sliced yams. It is typically prepared by boiling slightly sweet pumpkins with salt, chilies or pepper, dried lentils, grated coconut, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, and garlic, and is served on a bed of rice once cooked. A favorite Kerala food item on the menu of religious festivals like Onam, Erissery provides the perfect culinary for foodies who are always on the lookout for new flavors!

4. Idiyappam with Curry

Also known as Noolappam in Kerala cuisine, Idiyappam is made of rice flour, salt and water with a number of thin strands or sevai entwined together to make the lovely texture that this dish bears. It is this texture that makes it versatile. You can have it with all kinds of curries, but it tastes best with Egg Curry.

5. Appam with Ishtu (Stew)

A staple element of Kerala cuisine made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water, and a teensy bit of sugar, Appam is essentially a thin pancake with crispy edges. These crepe-like bowls are best enjoyed with Ishtu, a kind of stew that has been originally derived from the European stew and is made from coconut milk, cinnamon, cloves and shallots, and sometimes also mango pieces and vegetables. The aroma of spices with the sweet fragrance of coconut milk is enough to lure foodies to the kitchen!

6. Idli Sambar

Perhaps the most popular among Kerala food, idli sambar are fondly eaten in not just all households in Kerala, but everywhere else in India! The perfect combination of fermented rice cakes and a deliciously tangy curry of aromatic spices and vegetables like lentils. Apart from being a favorite of foodies for its taste, idli sambar is also universally accepted for the health benefits it bears.

7. Dosa Ghee Roast with Kerala Style Sambar

Listed among the ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’, dosa and sambar in Kerala cuisine make up for a deadly combination! Made from fermented rice and lentils, the ghee roast dosa is first cooked to perfection in pure ghee and then roasted till it gets as crisp as it can.

8. Parippu Curry (Dal Curry)

Though unexpected, it is actually one of the most delicious of Kerala food recipes. The Dal Curry served in Kerala is made from small gram and ghee with a considerable amount of spices and chilies. Don’t skip on this one by mistaking it for your typical ‘Ghar ki dal’!

9. Kerala Style Prawn Curry

This traditional food of Kerala is a must-try for all prawn lovers! The traditional prawn curry of Kerala is sprinkled religiously with chili and pepper, other than salt and turmeric, and is then cooked in whole coconut milk and jaggery before it is finally garnished with curry leaves. In fact, trying this exotic seafood dish is one of the best things to do in Kerala. One can have it hot with steaming rice or chapattis for a trip to heaven!

10. Chatti Pathiri

A layered pastry made in North Malabar and Malabar regions of Kerala, Chatti Pathiri is similar to the Italian lasagna. The difference is that, in the Keralite version, flatbreads or pancakes made out of flour, eggs, oil, and water are used instead of cheese sheets. The filling is the best part of these sugary Kerala dishes! Chatti Pathiri is filled with sweetened beaten eggs, nuts and raisins, and is seasoned with cardamom. You’ll surely forget your western versions of crepe pancakes and pastries once you bite into this one!

11. Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu (Spicy Chicken Fry)

Served with onion, spices, garlic, and vinegar on a banana leaf, Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu is fried chicken made with a generous amount of spices. One can have it with chapattis, Kerala Porotta (a layered flatbread made from maida flour), appam or rice. It also serves as popular street food in the list of Kerala dishes served with dosa. Have Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu on your next trip to Kerala and you’ll forget KFC for sure!

12. Palada Payasam

A delicacy amid the main food of Kerala that’s now won the hearts of foodies all over the country, Palada Payasam is a sweet rice kheer prepared with the palate. The dish is usually prepared and served during auspicious occasions and festivals like Onam. Among the many varieties of payasam, Palada Payasam is the most popular and is made out of basic ingredients like rice ada, milk, sugar, and ghee.

13. Ada Pradhaman

Another of those lip-smacking varieties of payasam one can have in Kerala, Ada Pradhaman chiefly contains pieces of rice batter (ada) and sweet coconut milk in which they are served. It is the favorite dessert dish in the list of Kerala food and one spoonful is all you need to fall in love with it!

14. Ethakka Appam (Banana Fritters)

Pazham Pori or Ethakka Appam are both different, but equally delicious varieties of banana fritters that serve as a traditional tea time snack in the households of Kerala. They’re simply ripe bananas coated with plain flour and deep-fried in oil and serve as an integral part of Kerala cuisine. Make sure you don’t leave Kerala without trying some of these with your dose of evening tea or coffee.