Another fascinating cuisine in India is from Kerala.
The slogan for Kerala by the government of India is ‘God’s on country’, and
doubt if people would disagree. There is a certain richness in every bit of the
land, culture, geography, and its vast history. Kerala, as mentioned in
history, has been frequented by traders from the Mediterranean and European
countries since the past 2000 years that have influenced he food. (K.K. Gautam,
2014) This state is in between Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, and it has backwaters
which is exclusive to Kerala. This state receives monsoons twice, which helps
with its estates of rubber, pepper, tea, coffee, and tapioca receive plenty of
water. The coastline of 580 km provides this state with the numerous ports and
beaches the state is known for. (KSITM, 2017) Being invaded by various rulers
there are people of numerous religions here like Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
A majority of the population strictly follows a non-vegetarian diet excluding
the Brahmins, Nambudiris, and the Nairs. The cuisine is divided into the Hindu,
the Malabar, and the Syrian Christian. (K. K. Gautam, 2014)

The name of the state, Kerala, is derived from the
words ‘kera’ which means coconut and ‘alam’ translating to storehouse. This
shows the importance of coconut in this state. Kerala is known as the ‘Land of
Spices’ too. (Bali P., 2015)

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Being right next to the ocean, fishing has been an
occupation practiced since centuries. The Chinese fishing nets that are specifically
found in Kerala are the indicators of the age-old fishing occupation here.
Around 3.8 lac people are occupied in the fisheries sector as marine fishery
and 2.3 lac people are involved in inland fishery who are an asset to the
state. Kerala shares around 20 percentile of national marine fish production.
In the year 2012, the total production of fish in Kerala was about 6.9 lacs
metric tons. The condition of the fishermen is pitiable because they do not
generate enough revenue, most of the fishermen fall under poverty. Lack of
exposure to the mainstream market due to lack of infrastructure is the main
cause of poverty among fishermen. The state government has introduced various
schemes to overcome these issues and work towards increasing production of
fish. (DOF, 2017) Men and women, both are involved in fishing activities. It is
mostly women who sell the fresh catch in the markets and men go into the sea to
fish. Women take part in the processing of the fish after the harvest i.e.
icing, curing, drying, etc. (Kelkar-Khambete A., 2012)

Fish is eaten by a majority of the population, and is
part of the daily diet as it is considered healthy for the body. (George S.,
017) The common types of fish caught and consumed around the Malabar coast are catla,
rohu, mrigal, labeo, silver carp, sardines, prawns, oyster, catfish, tilapia,
etc. (DOF, 2017) Keralites enjoy a wide variety of the ocean’s bounty available
to them. The flavor profile of the Keralite food is quite similar it the
Mangalorean food. Curries are an important part of the diet, Meen Moilee a stew
with a base of coconut milk in which fish is stewed is a favorite. Another
famous curry is Meen Muringakka Curry, which means fish drumstick curry, a
slightly sour and mildly spiced fish curry with drumsticks in it. The fish
curries are made in ‘kudukka’, which are flat-bottomed clay pots. A local
all-time favorite is Karimeen Pollichathu, a spicy dish made with Pearl Spot
fish (Karimeen) that is wrapped in banana leaf and baked. Some of the other
famous seafood dishes are Fish Mappas, Kanyakumari fish curry, Kanava roast
which in English means squid roast, Chemmen curry that is the prawn curry, and
many more. The people in this region are rice-eaters especially red rice, so
these fish preparations are generally eaten with steamed rice. (George S.,
2015) Some rice preparations that are famous here are ‘Puttu’, a steamed
cylindrical rice and coconut dish, made in a special utensil called
‘Puttukutti’, is eaten as breakfast with Kadala. ‘Pathiri’ which is like a
paratha made of rice and whole wheat flour, Appams, and Idiyappam also known as
string hoppers. (Bali P., 2015) The Malabari Paratha, a layered flatbread made
of refined flour is a popular bread generally eaten with beef. The Malayali are
huge fans of beef, one can find a stall of beef and Paratha in every other
corner of the city. (George S., 2017)

One specialty of Kerala is the ‘Onam Sadhya’, which is
a vegetarian meal of nine courses served on the day of the festival Onam. Meat
like beef, mutton, and chicken is also commonly eaten. (K.K. Gautam, 2014) Many
people in Kerala have gardens in their backyards or the front yards where they
grow fruits and vegetables because they prefer fresh ingredients. Some ingredients
from this land that are distinctly used in this cuisine are various types of
bananas, raw jackfruit, shallots, snake gourd, fish tamarind, mangoes, coconut
milk, curry leaves, tapioca, and numerous spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, star
anise, etc. (Bali P., 2015)