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Cuisine

The astonishing variety of dishes, both vegitarian and non-vegitarian is charactristic of Kerala cuisine and a pride of Malayalis. If it seems to be a bit spicy that is due to the greater availability of spices. Rice is the stapple food. Rice and curry is an essential part of his food habit. For the breakfast, "puttu" made by steaming floured rice and coconut grating is Kerala's own dish. Similarly Idiappam is another Kerala special. It is steam cooked vermicilli mixed with coconut gratings in the centre. It can be eaten with sweetened milk, egg fry or beef. The vegitarian menu for the breakfast also include idly, dosa, masala dosa and so on, most of which are eaten with chutney, a liquid paste containing coconut, chilly etc.

Tapioca is an important food item in rural areas. It is dry-boiled tapioca mixed with coconut paste, chilly etc. It is eaten with fish curry or meat. Once a rural delicacy, tapioca and curry (fish or meat) has already won a venerable place among all classes.

Appam of Kerala is also famous. It is a sort of pancake made of powdered rice fermented with toddy from the coconut palm (or yeast). It is eaten with vegitable or meat stew. The vegitarian meal mostly is a dish of boiled rice with an astonishing variety of curries like Avial, Olan, Mezhukkupuratti, Theeyal, Thoran, Pachadi, Sambar, Rasam, Kalan, Pulissery, Pappadam and so on. On special occassions of festivals like Onam these items are served on a distal piece of plantain leaf (Thoossanila) Brahmins are inherantly vegitarians. But most others use fish and meat. Kerala Christians are noted for fish and meat preparations. The fish 'mapaz’, a fish preparation with liquid gravy is famous. Meat preparation as also a combination of 'Pathiri' & meat of Muslims are also well known . "Biriyani" is a unique type of rice meal popular today. Special type of costly rice (Basumathi) is used. It is boiled in butter with a set of spices and vegitables. A special Chicken fry is mixed with it to make the dish. It originally belongs to the Malabar Muslims, but now it has won a place through out Kerala.

A discription of Kerala cuisine will never be complete without an account of the sweet "Payasam". It is strictly a Malayali delicacy and it is so deer to him that it elicits nostalgia in the mind of any Malayali who is away from his home state. It is a preparation of sweet porridge - like consistancy. The main ingradient is rice, wheat, roasted peas or vermicilli mixed with cow's milk, coconut milk and sugar. Cashew nut, quismis and a set of spices including cardamom is also essential. This sweet item is mostly used as a dessert after the meal. It is an inevitable item of Onam and birth day celebrations.