20+ Best Malayalam Foods To Try Out

malayalam foods

You’ve heard a lot about Malayalam foods – the spice, unique taste, and rich texture. If you are still holding back booking a trip to Kerala, consider this a sign that you must go to this popular Indian state. But before you do, make sure that you’ve picked up helpful Malayalam terms. This way, it won’t be hard to ask where to go to taste their dishes and make the locals smile by never leaving your table without praise. I’ll handle the list of foods to try when you go to Kerala while you get a tutor or use an app like Ling to learn Malayalam.

Understanding Malayalam Cuisine

Kerala cuisine is more than just food; it’s a way of life. The food is integral to social gatherings, festivals, and daily routines. If you’ll ask me, I do believe that geography plays a huge role in the diversity of Kerala cuisine. The fertile land, coastline, and climate allowed the growth of ingredients crucial to traditional Kerala dishes. Staples like rice, coconut, and spices form the basis of many recipes, connecting the land to the plate.

And this, my friends, is the reason why I urge you to get to know Malayalam cuisine! By exploring local ingredients and culinary traditions, we gain a deeper understanding of the country and its people.

kerala dish with meat and chilies served on a long plate

Traditional Malayalam Dishes

Aside from learning what to eat once you are in this Indian state, learning about their foods will also expand your Malayalam vocabulary. Here are some of the popular dishes you must try when visiting Kerala:

Traditional Prawn Curry

A must-try dish in Kerala, this food is made with simple ingredients like chili, coconut milk, salt, and pepper, giving it a unique flavor.

Naadan Kozhi Curry

This sumptuous meal combines different spices and goes well with dishes like bread, rice, and biryani.

Thattu Dosa With Chutney

A popular street food made from fermented rice and urad dal batter, cooked like crepes and served with chutneys and sambar.

Erissery (Pumpkin And Lentil Stew)

A traditional southern-style stew made with pumpkin and gram, cooked with spices and grated coconut, typically served with rice.

Juicy Banana Fritters

Deep-fried ripe bananas coated in plain flour, a simple yet delicious traditional tea-time snack.

Appam With Stew

Soft rice pancakes served with a flavorful stew made with meat and coconut milk.

Coconut Toddy

An exotic drink prepared from tender coconut, available in sweet and sour varieties, often used to make other products like palm jaggery and vinegar.

Banana Halwa

A dessert made from ripe bananas, dry fruits, sugar, and ghee, with a thick and smooth texture.

Sadhya

A traditional Kerala meal served on a plantain leaf, consisting of rice and a variety of side dishes.

Erachi Varutharacha Curry (Fried-Ground Mutton Curry)

A flavorful mutton curry cooked with roasted coconut and spices, usually enjoyed with puttu or appam.

Kallumakkaya Ularthiyathu (Mussel Stir Fry)

Mussels are cooked with onions, garlic, spices, and thick coconut milk, often eaten with rice pancakes, hot rice, or kappa.

Thalassery Biryani

A special biryani made with dry nuts, Kaima rice, stuffed meat, and spices, usually enjoyed during Eid celebrations.

Chatti Pathiri

A layered pastry similar to lasagna, made with flour, dry fruits, eggs, nuts, and spices, often enjoyed as a dessert.

Kerala Style Fish Molee

A stew made from lightly fried fish, spices, and coconut milk, usually prepared with seer fish or kingfish.

Palada Payasam

A traditional dessert made with ghee, rice ada, jaggery, and milk, often served during festive occasions.

Ada Pradhaman

A sweet dessert made from baked rice ada, coconut milk, and jaggery, flavored with nuts and spices.

Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu (Spicy Chicken Fry)

Fried chicken with coriander, onion, vinegar, garlic, and chili, often served on a banana leaf.

Malabar Parota

A flaky, crispy flatbread from the Malabar region, loved by people of all ages.

Puttu And Kadala Curry

Cylindrical steamed rice cake served with black chickpea curry.

Idli Sambar

Steamed rice cakes served with tangy curry made from veggies and lentils, a common and healthy breakfast option.

Idiyappam

Vermicelli-like strands made from rice flour are typically served with curries.

Naadan Beef Fry Or Kerala Style Beef Fry

Fried beef with flavors of curry leaves, vinegar, ginger, chili, and garlic, enjoyed with various dishes.

Kappa And Meen Curry

Boiled cassava served with spicy fish curry.

Karimeen Pollichathu

Pearl Spot Fish marinated in spices, wrapped in a banana leaf, and baked to perfection.

Key Ingredients In Malayalam Cooking

Here are the essential ingredients often used by the locals to come up with authentic dishes with tastes uniquely their own:

Rice

Rice is not just a staple; it embodies the culture and unity of the region. It is used in vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, served as sweet rice kheer, fermented rice cakes, baked rice adda, and more.

Coconut

Coconut is essential for creating flavors. The fruit’s flesh, milk, and oil are used in countless dishes, adding a unique creaminess and richness. Shredded coconut is utilized in gravies, desserts, and chutneys, providing depth and complexity to the flavors.

Spices

From the boldness of black pepper to the warmth of cardamom, spices define the region’s flavors. The use of spices is an art, with careful consideration given to balancing each one.

Seafood

Kerala’s coastline along the Arabian Sea provides a wealth of fresh seafood integral to Malayalam cuisine. From juicy prawns to flavorful mackerel, seafood takes the spotlight in dishes that mirror the coastal lifestyle. The sea not only supports the people of Kerala but also adds diversity and complexity to their culinary traditions.

different kinds of seafood and spices displayed

Common Ingredients Used In Malayalam Foods

To help you in learning the Malayalam language, I have listed some of the most common ingredients used in Malayalam dishes:

EnglishMalayalam PronunciationMalayalam Script
CoconutThengaതേങ്ങ
TurmericManjalമഞ്ഞൾ
Mustard SeedsKaduguകടുക്
Curry LeavesKariveppilaകറിവേപ്പില
TamarindPuliപുളി
CardamomElakkaഏലക്ക
CinnamonKaruvapattaകറുവപ്പട്ട
GingerInchiഇഞ്ചി
GarlicVellulliവെളുത്തുള്ളി
Green ChiliesPachamulaguപച്ചമുളക്
Red Chili PowderMulaku Podiമുളക് പൊടി
FenugreekUluvaഉലുവ
Coconut MilkThenga Palതേങ്ങ പാൽ
CorianderMalliമല്ലി
CuminJeerakamജീരകം

Use Ling To Learn Malayalam Fast

Are you excited to visit Kerala to get hold (and taste) their famous dishes and desserts? If so, learn the language faster using Ling, a language-learning app you can download on Play Store or App Store. With Ling, you can learn at your own pace whenever you are free and wherever you are. It offers an interactive feature, which makes learning fun and exciting.

While on the topic of food, you may also want to check our list of recommended foods to try when visiting Thailand and China.

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