14 Coconut Dishes You must Try when in Kerala

A symbol of quintessential exquisite cuisine, an exotic gourmet destination — these are just a couple of the many attributes associated with Kerala. Kerala, the land of coconuts invites you to try out the several unique dishes that make up the state’s culinary identity.

The amalgamation of coconut and spices gives Kerala dishes a special flavor that drools your taste buds.

So here they are, all ready to be served and relished, of course.

1. Steamy Palappams with Sizzling Fish Mappas

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Palappams or rice flour pancakes with lacy edges are made with rice flour, coconut milk, a dash of salt, sugar and water in required quantities. For breakfast, you can have palappam with vegetable stew, a dish made with a flurry of cooked vegetables in coconut milk.

If you are in the mood for some non-veg, then palappam goes well with sizzling fish mappas well. Fish Mappas is cooked in coconut milk and is the perfect rendition of a tasty and memorable dish.

Don’t leave Kerala without trying out this one.

2. Puttu and Kadala Curry

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There are many who argue that puttu and kadala curry is the most popular dish for an Indian breakfast. When cooked correctly, this is an absolutely divine dish and a match made in heaven.

It’s so popular that it’s an integral part of the menu in every restaurant and hotel, even in the remotest areas of Kerala. If you want a non-veg dish along with it, you can opt for egg or beef roast.

3. Fish Molee

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Kerala is known for its wide variety of ‘fishy’ dishes, and fish molee is a dish that cannot be tagged as just any other fish curry because it’s got a class of its own. When made with generous amounts of coconut milk and cocum (kudampuli in the local language), the taste just take on new heights. Team it with bread, appam or chappathi and you’ve got another heavenly combination.

4. Roasted Coconut Chicken Curry

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You must have savoured chicken dishes from around the globe, but if you haven’t tried the roasted coconut chicken curry, you have really missed something special because it is a Kerala specialty and a favoured dish among the people of Malabar.

If you visit north of Kerala, you can get your host to prepare it for you, and mind you it’s spicy, while the aroma of spices would make your mouth water, making it totally irresistible. The aroma of chicken cooking in the whole spices and dry roasted coconut are what make this dish unique. Goes well with puttu, rice varieties, bread varieties, appam and even dosa.

5. Mutton Stew

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If you want a break from the typical fiery dishes of Kerala and would love to have a soothing and sophisticated dish, try mutton stew. Prepared in delicate flavors including curry leaves, cinnamon and ginger, coconut milk plays an important role in enhancing the taste of this dish.

If you are a staunch vegetarian and would eat only veg dishes, then don’t be disappointed, we have listed some exotic dishes just for you.

6. Coconut Rice

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Coconut rice would be the absolute choice for a unique variety of a rice dish while in Kerala. It can be made in different ways; some people add coconut milk to rice while cooking it, while some add grated coconut to the cooked rice. Whichever way you want it done, it definitely is a tasty dish that you should try.

7. Mambazha Pulissery

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A very delicious mango based curry that uses curd, basic cooking spices and fresh coconuts. The best thing about this exotic dish is its mild, tangy, sweet and spicy taste that would open up a myriad of taste and flavor in your palette. An irresistible and must try accompaniment for rice!

8. Kurukku Kaalan

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Kurukku kaalan is a sadya specialty, but your host can easily make this for you, as it is easy to prepare and needs very little ingredients like yoghurt, coconut gravy, raw banana, yam, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.

This dish must be consumed in small quantities, like a pickle, but has a heavenly taste that makes it almost irresistible.

9. Aviyal

Image by Samphotography via Wikipedia

A dish that is absolutely loved and enjoyed by all. Made with a variety of vegetables in the right proportions, yogurt, raw mango or tamarind, and garnished with curry leaves, chillies, coconut oil. Grated coconut enhances its taste and flavor. Though it is a sadya specialty, you can enjoy this dish with rice anytime.

Now, it’s time for some yummy delicacies…

After your main course and hopefully a filling meal, it’s time for dessert:

10. Kozhukkatta

Image by Sreejith K via Wikipedia

Kozhukkatta is a typical Kerala delicacy made with rice flour, coconut and jaggery. The taste is absolutely heavenly and is quite healthy too, as it comes steamed. An oil-free snack, isn’t that good?

11. Ela Ada

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Rice flour dough with coconut and jaggery fillings is steamed inside a banana leaf and the aroma it gives out, adds to the relish with which you are going to have it.

12. Coconut Ice cream

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What’s a meal without an ice cream to top it off? Coconut ice cream is so sweet, tropical and absolutely irresistible and yes, you are likely to wake up the next morning guilty of putting on those extra calories with a capital C.

13. Thengai (Coconut) Payasam

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Don’t bid adieu to your sweet cravings without trying out this unique coconut payasam made with rice, jaggery, finely grated coconut, cardamom, poppy seeds and raisins. We bet you cannot let this one go.

14. Tender Coconut Pudding

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Well, now that you have given up on those calories, let’s top it off with a scoop of delightful tender coconut pudding. And it’s healthy and nutritious, you can give up on the guilt. The rich taste of tender coconut or elaneer is about to conquer your senses. So, a second helping, anyone?

A last note…

Coconut being an indispensable ingredient in Kerala, it is actually difficult to find a meal where you don’t have a coconut dish. Indian cooking is always identified with the spices added into all the dishes.

People come here to try out the specific cuisine that is so typical of Kerala — you can actually try out the dishes in their true, original form. If any dish is too spicy for you, your host can always cut down on the chillies so that you can enjoy the dishes without putting your tongue on fire!

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