Wondering about the common food ingredients in Malayalam?
As a passionate traveler, I am always on the look out for some of the best dishes to try out in every place that I visit. As much as I can, I try to remember how my favorite food tastes like and challenge myself to cook it once I am back home. The same can be said when I had my first bite of Indian food. In order for it taste the same, I learned that taking note of the ingredient names can help me when shopping around stores that specialize on Indian condiments. And perhaps, that is the same with you! So without further ado, let’s learn the translations in the sections below!
The South Indian Kitchen
Before we jump into food vocabulary, let us have a quick peek at what defines an Indian kitchen as knowing these facts will help you get a deeper understanding of their food culture.
- The cuisine of Kerala is like no other. While western food is full of fried potatoes and bread, the food Kerala makes use of tons of spices making each dish aromatic and truly satisfying! Some of the locals even make their own spices so that it will taste fresh instead of purchasing ready-made seasonings.
- A typical South Indian dish contains rice flour dishes with curry leaves, curd, and sambhar that give a sweet yet savory taste. The traditional food usually includes Idli, dosa, appam, and puttu served with ripe banana, coconut milk, green chilies, and the all-time favorite, sambhar.
- It is a tradition to serve food in banana leaves especially during special ocassions.
- Another interesting fact about Keralian cuisine is that fish is quite popular.Restaurants usually serve fish curries, fish fry, and many Goan items
- For street food, it is common to see rice ada (rice cake stuffed with coconut), dumplings, pazham Pori (banana fritters), banana chips, and achappam (flower shaped food).
- South Indian dishes are known to always include mustard seeds, curry leaves, coconut, ginger, green chilies, asafoetida, and rice flour in almost everything.
- While you will also find western bread-based dishes, nothing is more vital than kadala curry, traditional prawn curry, and idli dosa in South India. So, prepare your appetite to shift to an entirely new cuisine.
Top Dishes To Try Out In Kerala
Since we are already talking about South Indian cuisine and their traditional ways of serving plates, here is a list of must-try platters that you can have a taste of while visiting Kerala.
- Idiyappam with curry (provides a satisfying texture made of rice flour)
- Erissery (onam unique pumpkin and lentil stew)
- Fried ground mutton curry (Kerala style original mutton curry)
- Appam with stew (made of fermented rice flour and coconut water, somewhat similar to a thin pancake)
- Dosa ghee roast (crispy with the taste of sambhar and coconut mixture)
- Karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish molee)
- Thalassery biryani (rice with the twist of chicken)
- Malabar parota (crumbly texture with mind-blowing taste)
- Banana chips (ripe bananas deep fried in oil with plain flour coating)
- Erachi varutharacha curry (meat with roasted coconut paste)
Traditional Food Ingredients In Malayalam
Now let’s get into some traditional ingredients vocabulary to discover the magic recipes behind the marvelous cuisine.
1. പച്ചമുളക് (Paccamuḷak)
In Kerala, almost every dish makes use of chili whether a topping or when cooking the dish itself. If you are not that fond of spicy food, be sure to ask the chef to go easy or totally remove them when cooking.
2. കറിവേപ്പില (Kaṟivēppila)
If you want the dish to be aromatic, it is a must to include curry leaves. These teardrop-shaped leaves are added to almost all dishes as the locals believe it to be healthy and have anti-inflammatory compounds.
3. കടുക് വിത്ത് (Kaṭuk vitt)
The locals also use mustard seeds, especially when it comes to food like Dhokla. They are so flexible and can be used for making dressings, marinades, and curry dishes.
4. ഗ്രാമ്പൂ (Grāmpū)
Clove, known as grāmpū or Karayambu in Kerala, is another common ingredient that locals put in their meals. Kerala is known for being the major consumer of cloves to the point that some families even grow their own in their bacyards. It is the main spice product that you will find everywhere in Kerala. Food items with rice like biryani or desserts like pumpkin pie generally have this ingredient.
5. ഉപ്പ് (Upp)
Out of all the seasonings out there, one of the most important ones to use is the salt. Even in South India, upp is a must-have in the kitchen to prepare all the delicious food. Although South Indian dishes use much less salt than the usual Indian curries and fries, it is still an essential part of the meals.
6. പഞ്ചസാര (Pañcasāra)
Especially when it comes to desserts like Banana Halwa, Chatti pathiri (Layered pastry), Ada Pradhaman (kheer in Hindi), Palada Payasam (Spaghetti soup), sugar plays an important role for upgrading the taste of a dessert.
7. ഗരം മസാല (Garaṁ Masāla)
Garam masala, which has no other substitute in the Indian kitchen, is the central spice blend you must not run out of when cooking Indian dishes. No matter which curry you make, seafood, chicken, or vegetarian, the locals always use a dash of garaṁ masāla. It is a blend of spices like cumin seeds, coriander, cardamon, and others.
8. വെളുത്തുള്ളി (Veḷuttuḷḷi)
Garlic, known as veḷuttuḷḷi in Malayalam, is also common in the Indian kitchen. Garlic pickle with a mixture of chili and curry leaves is a popular pickle recipe that you will find in every household. The anti-inflammatory property of garlic is a primary reason why South Indians use it to benefit health purposes.
9. ഇഞ്ചി (Iñci)
When talking about garlic, we always think about iñci. Yes, iñci means ginger in Malayalam, another regularly used ingredient. Kerala-style ginger chutney or curry, there are many recipes where ginger plays an essential role in Kerala cuisine. If it’s new for you, try it out during your visit.
10. മഞ്ഞൾ (Maññaḷ)
Turmeric or maññaḷ is seen everywhere. Especially with all the spices in Indian meals, turmeric adds beautiful color to exceptional food. Turmeric in India is also used for many healthy and religious purposes. Thus, it cannot be out of the picture.
Other Ingredients Vocabulary
While we covered the top 10 ingredients used in Kerala cuisine, we will cover some extra vocabulary to enhance your skills. It will make you aware of much more options to explore and establish a stronger language foundation.
Condiments (സുഗന്ധവ്യഞ്ജനങ്ങൾ- sugandhavyañjanaṅṅaḷ)
|Fennel seed||പെരുംജീരകം വിത്ത്||perun̄jīrakaṁ vitt|
|Ground cardamom||ഗ്രൗണ്ട് ഏലം||graṇṭ ēlaṁ|
|Ground mustard||കടുക് പൊടിക്കുക||kaṭuk peāṭikkuka|
|Onion powder||ഉള്ളി പൊടി||uḷḷi peāṭi|
|Smoked paprika||പുകയിട്ട പപ്രിക||pukayiṭṭa paprika|
Leafy Green Ingredients (ഇലക്കറികൾ- ilakkaṟikaḷ)
Leafy vegetables also make great ingredients that make our food delicious, pretty, and, most importantly, healthy. So, here is the best list.
|Dandelion greens||ഡാൻഡെലിയോൺ പച്ചിലകൾ||ḍānḍeliyēāṇ paccilakaḷ|
|Turnip greens||ടേണിപ്പ് പച്ചിലകൾ||ṭēṇipp paccilakaḷ|
Vegetables (പച്ചക്കറികൾ- paccakkaṟikaḷ)
|Pearl onions||മുത്ത് ഉള്ളി||mutt uḷḷi|
Fruits (പഴങ്ങൾ- paḻaṅṅaḷ)
Meat (മാംസം- mānsaṁ) And Seafood (കടൽ ഭക്ഷണം- kaṭal bhakṣaṇaṁ)
Lastly, we will discover some meat and seafood vocabulary in Malayalam. As we all know, meat for non-vegetarians is heaven. No dish can be bland when it has meat on it. So, let’s read.
|Bacon||ഉപ്പിട്ടുണക്കിയ മാംസം||uppiṭṭuṇakkiya mānsaṁ|
|Chicken breast||കോഴിയുടെ നെഞ്ച്||kēāḻiyuṭe neñc|
|Chicken liver||ചിക്കൻ കരൾ||cikkan karaḷ|
|Kidney meat||വൃക്ക മാംസം||vr̥kka mānsaṁ|
|Lobster||വലിയ ചെമ്മീൻ||valiya cem’mīn|
Now that you know all the essential and easy ingredient names, you can explore the Kerala kitchen and concoct your own version of their dishes. Knowing these words will surely enhance your knowledge and improve your language skills. If you want to keep reading such blogs along with some language tips, go to AppStore or PlayStore and download Ling right now!
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