Sadya, the typical Kerala feast served on a banana leaf, is a sumptous spread of rice and more than fourteen vegetable dishes - sambar, rasam, olan,kaalan, pachadi, kichadi, aviyal, thoran etc., pickle crisp pappadam and banana chips topped off wit payasam, the deliciously sweet desert cooked in milk.
The main dish Puttu is ground rice and grated coconut steam cooked together. Kadala curry is Bengal gram deliciously cooked in a finely ground paste of fried coconut.
Appam and Vegetable Stew / Chicken Curry
Appam is a kind of pancake, made of rice flour fermented with a small amount of toddy (fermented sap of the coconut palm), which is circular in shape, rather like a flying saucer, edged with a crisp lacy frill. Chunky pieces of vegetables or meat cooked in lavish portions of coconut milk constitute what is normally referred to as stew.
Idiappam and Stew
Idiappam the main dish is string hoppers, rice flour pressed out in the form of noodles and cooked in steam.
Idli Sambar / Chutney
Idlis are slightly sour cakes made from a fermented mixture or rice and black gram. They are usually eaten with sambar, a gravy rich in spices and boiled pieces of vegetables or chutney, a hot/ sour paste made from ground coconut.
Dosa is a thin layer of a fermented mixture or rice and black gram cooked over a hotplate.
In most households, lunch consists of rice served with Upperi/ thoran (a tasty preparation with vegetables or pulses and grated coconut) and other different side dishes like sambar, rasam (a light gravy with tamarind and tomato extracts), olan (thin slices of melon and pulses cooked in coconut milk), kaalan (vegetable cooked in a paste of lavish portions of grated coconut), pachadi (melon like vegetables cooked in curd), aviyal (a variety vegetables cooked in curd and grated coconut).
These are wafer thin slices of banana fried in oil. It is a speciality of Kerala and so popular that within the state 'chips' has become synonymous with banana chips.
Achappam is a sweet, crunchy snack. Flower shaped metallic moulds are dipped in a loose, sweet mixture in which rice powder is the main ingredient, and later placed in boiling coconut oil to get crispy, golden brown achappams.
A paste made from rice powder is squeezed out in different shapes and fried in oil. Crunchy murukku in the shape of small coils are the most common
In most cases items on the dinner menu are the same as those on the lunch menu. In traditional cases the main dish is rice or gruel with a simpler (relative to the lunch menu) side dish. Items on the breakfast menu are also served for dinner at many places.
Sweets and Desserts
An enticing dessert made usually from rice, rice products or pulses, and cooked in condensed milk, coconut milk or jaggery syrup.
Payasam and Boli
Boli is a pancake with a sweet mixture stuffed in between the layers.
Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has cocunut and spices added to in. Tender coconut water, 'the world's saftest natural soft drink', is a refreshing nutritious thirst quencher. The crunchy papadam, kozahalappam, achappam, cheeda, churuttu, banna and jack fruit chips can give french fries a run for their money any day.
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