The cuisine of Kerala gives newcomers a taste of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that hold their own against other dishes of this myriad country. Here are five dishes meat lovers should definitely try down south.
Coconut features heavily in Kerala cuisine. Appam and ishti (stew) is part of the staple diet and fresh coconut milk adds a sweetish flavour to the broth. Whole spices and ginger give the ishti an all-round flavour and both the chicken or lamb varieties are to die for. Appam is a crispy-thin pancake made of rice and coconut milk. Dip it in the ishti and let the flavours explode in your mouth.
If you’re a seafood lover, Karimeen pollichathu is a must-have. The backwater pearl-spot fish is marinated in a coarse mixture of curry leaves, shallots, red chillies and lemon juice before it is slow-baked in plantain leaves. The dish goes best with steamed rice.
Red meat features in a number of dishes, but you shouldn’t leave Kerala without trying the Nadan beef fry. A dry preparation where the meat is cooked in ginger-garlic paste before other spices are added to it. Whether you have it as a snack or a side-dish, nadan beef fry is unlike any other beef dish in the country.
The Payyoli chicken fry is a no-nonsense, non-vegetarian snack that can be found at roadside stalls and fancy restaurants. Chillies, lemon juice and ginger-garlic paste are added to the chicken till it’s properly fried, giving you dark-brown chunks of meat oozing with spicy flavour.
These five dishes are a starter-pack for non-vegetarian lovers in Kerala. Don’t be afraid to try the various fish dishes and be prepared to find your own favourite.