Kerala, fondly known as “God’s Own Country” has always been synonymous to scenic surroundings, temples and beaches. It is also known for its distinct cuisine which is extremely flavoursome and spicy. The traditional food of Kerala is made with spices, which are grown locally in the state. Some of the indispensable list of ingredients to Kerala cuisine are tamarind, rice, coconut, mustard, curry leaves, turmeric and chillies. The majority of Kerala cuisine is non-vegetarian, but it also has some mouth-watering vegetarian recipes. The Onam Sadya, prepared during Onam festival is world-famous for its banana leaf meal and number of multiple food elements.

15 Popular Food Recipes of Kerala:

Check out this article where we discuss some of the best recipes of Kerala cuisine:

A. Non-Vegetarian Recipes-

1. Kozhikode Biryani:

The first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Kerala food is seafood but the fact is that the food in Kerala has gone beyond seafood to other more elaborate means as well. The kozikode biryani is rich with chicken, egg, olive oil and lemon juice that all mixes together to form this excellent dish.


  • ½ Kg Chicken.
  • ½ cup Yoghurt.
  • 1 cup coriander leaves.
  • 1 cup mint leaves.
  • 1 cup Mixed whole spices.
  • 2tbsp Ginger garlic paste.
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 tbsp lime juice.
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seed paste.
  • Rice.
  • Oil.
  • Salt.


  • Marinate chicken in Yoghurt, spices and rest for ½ hour.
  • Heat some oil in a vessel and cook chicken.
  • Add water, mint and coriander leaves.
  • Check Salt and add turmeric.
  • Add pre-washed rice.
  • Cook till rice is done.

2. Pomfret Moilee:

This is the testament to the fact that south India can provide excellent seafood. The pomfret moilee is actually a pomfret curry which resembles an original south Indian fish curry with the addition of plenty of coconut milk to add to the exceptional flavor of this dish.


  • 2 Pomfret Fish.
  • 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds.
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil.
  • 1 cup coconut milk.
  • 2 large onion.
  • 6 green chillies.
  • 3 tomatoes.
  • ½ tbsp turmeric.
  • 1 bunch curry leaves.
  • 1 tbsp salt.


  • Slice the pomfrets in cross-section.
  • Extract Coconut milk.
  • Heat some oil and toss in some mustard seeds.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, onions, green chillies.
  • Add turmeric powder and add coconut milk.
  • Add tomatoes and cook till done.
  • Smear the pomfrets with this mixture.
  • Shallow fry them on pan and serve hot.

3. Kerala Fish Curry:

The original fish curry of India there is an exception which lies in the ingredients of this curry. The curry is spiced with spices native to south India along with lemon juice and a tad of coconut milk which provides an environment of both sweet and sour.


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil.
  • 1 kg fish pieces.
  • ¼ fenugreek powder.
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves.
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste.
  • 10 small onions.
  • 2 chillies.
  • Salt.
  • Turmeric.
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder.
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder.
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste.
  • 1 cup coconut milk.


  • Heat pan and add some mustard and fenugreek seeds.
  • Add curry leaves, onions, ginger garlic paste.
  • Make a paste of turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder with water.
  • Cook the paste well.
  • Add this paste along with tamarind extract to cooked onions.
  • Add fish pieces and coconut milk.
  • Cook till done.

4. Prawn Roast:

Prawn roast is another great sea food dish which is exceptionally easy to make at home. All you need is some prawns which you can add directly into the pan with some condiments and spices and water to match up to the amount of prawns you have used. If you do not want curry then exclude the water and add some sauce of your choice and allow the prawns to fry with onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and spices.


  • ½ kg Prawns.
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste.
  • 1 tbsp Chilli powder.
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder.
  • 1 Large Onion.
  • 1 Tomato.
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves.
  • Oil.


  • Clean prawns and keep aside.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and make it into paste.
  • Marinate prawns with the paste.
  • Heat some oil and cook onions, tomatoes.
  • Add these marinated prawns and roast.
  • Remove from pan and serve hot.

5. Fish Mappas:

Fish mappas are another sea food in coconut milk dish well known around the world. A great accessory with lemon rice, fish mappas are made very easily at home and require just coconut milk, ginger garlic, Onions (optional) and spices of your choice. The fish must be boiled before hand and the curry must be added to the fish separately for the best flavor.


  • 2 tsp coconut oil.
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds.
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds.
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves.
  • 2 green chillies.
  • 1/2 sliced onion.
  • 1 tsp coriander powder.
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder.
  • 1/2 chopped tomato.
  • 1 tbsp soaked kokum.
  • 4 chunks of any sea fish.
  • 1/2 cup fish stock.
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk.


  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves , chillies, onions and tomatoes.
  • Now add kokum paste, fish and fish stock.
  • Cook till done.
  • Add coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Temper it finally.

Read: Healthy Summer Food Recipes

6. Crab Masala:

Crabs are one of the most enjoyed delicacies in Kerala. This state having a huge coastal line has several varieties of sea food and crabs are one of the most popular among them. This crab masala is a flavoursome recipe and is best enjoyed with appams.


  • ½ kg Diced Crab.
  • 1 cup Diced Onion.
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste.
  • Green Chilli – 4 no.
  • 2 Curry leaves.
  • ½ cup Tomato.
  • 2 cups Coconut milk.
  • 1 tbsp Garam masala.
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder.
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder.
  • 2 tbsp Chilli powder.
  • Salt.
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil.


  • In a pan heat some oil.
  • Cook onions, ginger garlic paste, tomatoes.
  • Add turmeric, salt, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala.
  • Add crabs with little water.
  • Cook till done.

7. Kerala Beef Fry:

No Kerala non-vegetarian meal is complete without the signature Kerala Beef fry. This spicy dish is crispy on the outside but very tender and soft on the inside. Ask any Keralite what his favorite dish is, Beef fry will definitely top the list. Check out the recipe below:


  • 1 Kg Beef Mince.
  • ½ cup Thinly sliced coconut.
  • 1 Cup Shallots.
  • 2 tbsp Dhania powder.
  • 2 tbsp Chilli powder.
  • 2 tbsp Black pepper powder.
  • ½ tbsp Turmeric powder.
  • 2 tbsp Garam masala.
  • 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste.
  • Salt – to taste.


  • Wash and clean the beef pieces.
  • In a bowl mix all the ingredients together except beef.
  • Marinate beef pieces in the marinade for 1 hour.
  • In a large wok, fry these pieces in oil till crispy.
  • Serve hot with rice.

B. Vegetarian Recipes-

8. Mango Pickle:

An excellent accessory to go with almost every meal, the mango pickle made in Kerala is actually world renowned. Making this pickle is easy and just requires you to have some raw mangoes and some oil. Make sure not to use too ripe mangoes so as to achieve the sour yet sweet flavor. Mix the cut mango pieces in the oil and leave to marinate for a few days to achieve this great recipe at home.


  • 2 cups Mango pieces.
  • Oil.
  • 1 Cup Chilli Powder.
  • 1 Cup Mustard powder.
  • ½ cup Salt.


  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Store in a container.

9. Lemon rice:

Another very popular south Indian recipe the lemon rice is an excellent accessory for both lunch and dinner and has the ability to fill your stomach and taste exceptional at the same time. To make lemon rice at home you require turmeric powder, lemon extract, plain rice and condiments of your choice. Mix all these together and let the rice steam till complete.


  • 2 Cups Cooked rice.
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal.
  • 2 tbsp peanuts.
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves.
  • 5 dry chillies.
  • Salt.
  • Turmeric.
  • 1 lime.
  • Oil.
  • Hing.


  • In a small pan, heat some oil.
  • Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts.
  • Add curry leaves, hing, dry chilles.
  • Add turmeric to the oil and let everything fry.
  • Mix this in the rice.
  • Add some lime juice and salt.

Read: Fast Food Recipes

10. Appam:

Appam is the traditional dish of Kerala. It is one of the most loved breakfast dishes, but is also served for lunch and dinner. Appam is usually accompanied by vegetable or non veg stew. Crab masala is another favorite combo with Appam.


  • 2 cups rice.
  • 1 cup parboiled rice.
  • Handful poha.
  • 1 cup dry coconut.
  • ½ spoon dry yeast.
  • 2 tbsp sugar.
  • 1 tbsp salt.
  • Water.
  • Oil.


  • Wash and soak the rice varieties in water.
  • Add poha, yeast, dry coconyt, salt and sugar while grinding them.
  • Use the batter in a appam pan.
  • Spread it evenly and drizzle some oil.
  • Cook on one side.

11. Cabbage and Carrot Thoran:

Among Kerala Food recipes vegetarian versions, cabbage and carrot thoran is a very significant dish. This lovely combination is cooked with grated coconut and is extremely flavoursome. The curry is mild and usually served with hot rice. You can also eat it with rotis or appam.


  • 1 Cup finely chopped cabbage.
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot.
  • ½ cup grated coconut.
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves.
  • ½ tbsp mustard seeds.
  • Salt.
  • Turmeric.
  • 3 dry chillies.


  • Heat some oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry chillies.
  • Add cabbage and carrot mince to it.
  • Sprinkle salt and turmeric.
  • Cook it well.
  • Add some grated coconut and serve hot.

12. Ulli Chutney:

Ulli chutney is a famous chutney made with onions and red chillies. This chutney is eaten along with dosa, appam and even rice. It is very simple to make, but is extremely delicious. One cannot imagine eating their breakfast without dipping a dosa in ulli chutney.


  • 1 cup onions.
  • 6-7 red chillies.
  • Salt.
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste.
  • Oil.
  • Mustard seeds for tempering.


  • In a small pan, fry some onions and red chillies.
  • Add salt and tamarind paste.
  • Grind it into paste.
  • Temper with mustard seeds.

C. Malayali Snacks-

13. Caramel Custard:

Caramel custard is the testament to the residual Portuguese heritage that south India has to offer. To make caramel custard at home is quite difficult but not entirely impossible. This is a famous dish that is specially made during the time of Christmas.


  • ¼ cup Sugar.
  • 1 cup milk.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 5 tbsp white sugar.
  • Water.


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Make caramel using water and sugar by stirring continuously.
  • Whisk milk and sugar, eggs.
  • Pour the caramel mixture above egg mixture.
  • Bake for 10 mins.

14. Pazham Pori:

This famous banana fritters recipe is the signature dish of Kerala. Kerala being one of the largest growing state of Bananas is known for this evening snack. It is a mild sweet snack that is made with special local bananas. IT can be enjoyed with some sauce or chutney.


  • 2 NendramPazham Bananas.
  • ¼ cup rice flour.
  • Pinch Baking Soda.
  • Salt.
  • Turmeric Powder.
  • 2 Elaichi.
  • 3 tbsp sugar.
  • Oil.


  • Slice the bananas into 2 halves.
  • Make batter with rice flour, soda, turmeric, sugar, salt and elaichi powder.
  • Dip bananas slices into the batter.
  • Deep fry in oil.

Read: Recipes of Jain Food

15. Vattayappam:

Vattayappam is Kerala’s most special fermented rice cake. It is a mildly sweet dessert that is made on special occasions and festivals. This cake is extremely healthy and is a traditional tea time snack. The speciality of this cake is that it comes with no oil.


  • 2 cups Soaked white rice.
  • ½ cup fresh grated coconut.
  • Handful cooked rice.
  • ½ tbsp instant yeast.
  • ½ tbsp salt.
  • ½ tbsp sugar.
  • 4 cardamom seeds.
  • Water.
  • Oil.


  • Grind soaked rice with coconut, rice, yeast, salt, sugar and cardamom seeds.
  • Take a cake pan and grease it with very little oil.
  • Pour the mixture and pressure cook until done.

We hope this article just made your mouth water. Kerala food is extremely delicious and one can find many variations of the same dish. Some of them are inspired by its neighbouring states, but the unqiue part of Kerala Cuisine is that the roots are kept same. From generations, these recipes have been handed over from one gen to the other who kept the traditions alive. Most traditional recipes have not been changed over the years and the flavour profile is kept the same. We hope you will try out these popular Kerala food recipes.


About Sireesha

Sireesha is a nutritionist and passionate content writer. She has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition, and Health. She helped to realize how diet and health go hand-in-hand. Her writings have now become very basic, precise, and holistic. Check out her profiles to know more.