Another fascinating cuisine in India is from Kerala.
The slogan for Kerala by the government of India is ‘God’s on country’, anddoubt if people would disagree. There is a certain richness in every bit of theland, culture, geography, and its vast history. Kerala, as mentioned inhistory, has been frequented by traders from the Mediterranean and Europeancountries 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, with the backwaterswhich is exclusive to Kerala.
This state receives monsoons twice, which helpswith its estates of rubber, pepper, tea, coffee, and tapioca receive plenty ofwater. The coastline of 580 km provides this state with the numerous ports andbeaches the state is known for. (KSITM, 2017) Being invaded by various rulersthere are people of numerous religions here like Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.A majority of the population strictly follows a non-vegetarian diet excludingthe 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 thewords ‘kera’ which means coconut and ‘alam’ translating to storehouse. Thisshows the importance of coconut in this state. Kerala is known as the ‘Land ofSpices’ too. (Bali P., 2015)Being right next to the ocean, fishing is anoccupation practiced since centuries. The Chinese fishing nets that are specificallyfound 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 fisheryand 2.3 lac people are involved in inland fishery who are an asset to thestate. 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 lacsmetric tons.
The condition of the fishermen is pitiable because they do notgenerate enough revenue, most of the fishermen fall under poverty. Lack ofexposure to the mainstream market due to lack of infrastructure is the maincause of poverty among fishermen. The state government has introduced variousschemes to overcome these issues and work towards increasing production offish.
(DOF, 2017) Men and women, both are involved in fishing activities. It ismostly women who sell the fresh catch in the markets and men go into the sea tofish. 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 ispart 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 availableto them. The flavor profile of the Keralite food is quite similar it theMangalorean food. Curries are an important part of the diet, Meen Moilee a stewwith a base of coconut milk in which fish is stewed is a favorite. Anotherfamous curry is Meen Muringakka Curry, which means fish drumstick curry, aslightly sour and mildly spiced fish curry with drumsticks in it. The fishcurries are made in ‘kudukka’, which are flat-bottomed clay pots. A localall-time favorite is Karimeen Pollichathu, a spicy dish made with Pearl Spotfish (Karimeen) that is wrapped in banana leaf and baked.
Some of the otherfamous seafood dishes are Fish Mappas, Kanyakumari fish curry, Kanava roastwhich in English means squid roast, Chemmen curry that is the prawn curry, andmany more. The people in this region are rice-eaters especially red rice, sothese fish preparations are generally eaten with steamed rice. (George S.,2015) Some rice preparations that are famous here are ‘Puttu’, a steamedcylindrical rice and coconut dish, made in a special utensil called’Puttukutti’, is eaten as breakfast with Kadala. ‘Pathiri’ which is like aparatha made of rice and whole wheat flour, Appams, and Idiyappam also known asstring hoppers. (Bali P., 2015) The Malabari Paratha, a layered flatbread madeof refined flour is a popular bread generally eaten with beef.
The Malayali arehuge fans of beef, one can find a stall of beef and Paratha in every othercorner of the city. (George S., 2017) One specialty of Kerala is the ‘Onam Sadhya’, which isa vegetarian meal of nine courses served on the day of the festival Onam. Meatlike beef, mutton, and chicken is also commonly eaten. (K.
K. Gautam, 2014) Manypeople in Kerala have gardens in their backyards or the front yards where theygrow fruits and vegetables because they prefer fresh ingredients. Some ingredientsfrom this land that are distinctly used in this cuisine are various types ofbananas, raw jackfruit, shallots, snake gourd, fish tamarind, mangoes, coconutmilk, curry leaves, tapioca, and numerous spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, staranise, etc. (Bali P., 2015)