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Sweets and Desserts[edit]

Spicy fish from Kerala. Kerala does not have any indigenous cold desserts, but hot/warm desserts are pop ular. The most popular example is undoubtedly the payasam: a preparation of milk , coconut extract, sugar, cashews, dry grapes, etc. Payasam can be made with man y base constituents, including Paal payasam (made from rice), Ada payasam (with Ada, broken strips of baked starch from various sources), ari unda (made from ri ce powder) 'Parippu payasam (made from dal), Pazham pradhaman (made from banana) , Gothambu payasam (made from wheat). But the most famous is Semia Payasam, whic j is made of semia and milk. Ada payasam is especially popular during the festiv al of Vishu and Onam. Most payasams can also be consumed chilled. Jaggery or mol asses is a common sweetening ingredient, although white sugar is gaining ground. Fruit, especially the small yellow bananas, are often eaten after a meal or at any time of the day. Plantains, uncooked or steamed, are popularly eaten for bre akfast or tea. Other popular sweets include Unniappam (fried rice cake), pazham-pori/ethakka-ap pam (plantain slices covered with a fried crust made of sweetened flour), kozhak katta (rice dumplings stuffed with a sweet mixture of molasses, coconut etc.) an d ilayappam (rice, jaggery and coconut mixture covered in banana leaf). Cakes, i ce-creams, cookies and puddings are equally common. Generally, except for payasa m, most sweets are not eaten as dessert but as a tea-time snack.

Kozhikode Halva Pickles and other side-dishes[edit] Kerala cuisine also has a variety of pickles and chutneys, and crunchy pappadums , banana chips, jackfruit chips, pakka vada (crunchy gram and rice flour chips), Kalathappam, Kinnathappam kozhalappam, achappam, cheeda, and churuttu. Beverages[edit] Being mostly a hot and humid area, Keralites have developed a variety of drinks to cope with thirst. A variety of what might be called herbal teas are served du ring mealtimes. Cumin seeds, ginger or coriander seeds are boiled in water and s erved warm or at room temperature. In addition to the improved taste, the spices also have digestive and other medicinal properties. Sambharam, a diluted butter milk often flavoured with ginger, lime leaves, green chili peppers etc. was very commonly drunk, although it has been replaced to some extent by soda pop. Coffe e and tea (both hot) drunk black, or with milk and white sugar or unrefined palm sugar (karippatti), are commonly drunk. Numerous small shops dotted around the land sell fresh lime juice (called naranga vellam, or bonji sarbat in Malayalam) , and many now offer milk shakes and other fruit juices. Tender Coconut water is also a very popular beverage in Kerala. Cooking Utensils[edit] There are utensils that are used in Kerala which are significant to cuisine in K erala. An aduppu is a square hearth, Mun Chatti is cooking pot made from clay, C heena Chatti (literally Chinese pot) is a deep frying pan, a wok.

Food offerings in rituals[edit] Food is extremely important when it comes to rituals or festivals. Food offering s in ritual are important in Kerala and throughout South India. Food offerings a re often related to the gods of religions. In India, there are numerous offering s for Hindu gods and there are many differences between food offerings in North and South India. Most offerings contain more than one type of food. There are ma ny reasons why people use the practice of food offerings. Some are to express lo ve, or negotiate or thank gods. It can also be used to "stress certain structura l features of Hinduism".[5] Of course, not every ritual s gods require food offeri ngs. Most have a liking for certain foods. For example, butter is one of the pre ferred foods by the god Krishna. Also, wild orange and a sugarcane stalk are rel ated to Ganapati.[6] There is a division of the Hindu pantheon into pure and impure deities which is stressed, but shaped by food offerings. Pure deities are offered vegetarian food s while impure deities are offered meat due to their craving for blood.[7] A spe cific dish is offered to both pure and impure deities. That is a flour lamp whic h is made of sweetened rice-flour paste which is scooped out and packed with ghe e. The flour lamp is only partially baked and then eaten.[8] Another aspect of f ood offerings is the hierarchy that foods have. It may seem strange that there i s a hierarchy for foods, but it is because there is a dual opposition between th e pure and impure deities which is hierarchal.[9] There are two gods which have this dual opposition. They are Vishnu and Siva. Ferro-Luzzi explains that Vishnu is viewed as kind while the offerings that are given to Siva are more frugal'. An offering to Siva might be likely to be plain rice with no salt or other toppi ngs, while an offering to Vishnu may resemble a South Indian dish which can cons ist of rice with other side dishes. Specifically in South Indian offerings, they are offered in numbers. For example, the number three is important in Kerala of ferings. There are the trimadhura which translates into 'the three sweets'.[10] All of these practices of food offerings in ritual are important in Kerala cultu re as well as South Indian culture. Cooking as sacred ritual[edit] The last decade has seen the rise of cooking as sacred ritual in South Kerala, a lmost exclusively by women. This practice, called 'Pongala' (derived from Tamil dish Pongal), seems to have been historically associated with the Attukal Temple in Trivandrum city which was begotten from Tamil tradition. According to the Gu inness Book of Records, Attukal Pongala is the largest gathering of women in the world.[11] Women participants of the pongala come equipped with cooking pots, d ry fuel (mostly dry leaves and spathes of the coconut palm) and ingredients such as rice flour, palm sugar and condiments, often the previous evening, and set u p their hearths around the temple on the morning of the day of the festival. Often, the women take over most of the roads and lanes of Trivandrum city during the pongala day. In 2009, the estimated number of women who participated was 2. 5 million.[12] The women wait until the Attukal temple ceremoniously distributes the fire, and set about their cooking when the fire reaches them, passed from h earth to hearth. They go home with the cooked offerings by late afternoon. While males are not allowed in the area, they help out my providing support to arrivi ng and departing women by organising transportation, and distributing free bever ages. Trivandrum city, police and civil authorities have been successfully able to manage the festival, but it is quintessentially a women's festival. Despite the lack of amenities, the considerable hardship involved in transportat ion of cooking equipment and ingredients (many women come from 30 40 km away), and the blazing February sun, the numbers of participants seem to be rising year af ter year, and include some of the well-known faces from cinema, social circles a s well as commoners.

It is also observed that the practice of pongala is rapidly spreading to many ot her temples in Trivandrum city and district. Cuisine of the Saint Thomas Christians[edit] A favourite dish of Syrian Christians (Nasrani) is stew. Chicken, potatoes and o nions simmered gently in a creamy white sauce flavoured with black pepper, cinna mon, cloves, green chillies, lime juice, shallots and coconut milk.[13]and their food consists of coconut and sea food. They also prepare stews with chicken, la mb and duck.[13] Other dishes include piralen (chicken stir-fries), meat thoran (dry curry with s hredded coconut), sardine and duck curries, and meen molee (spicy stewed fish).[ 13] This is eaten with another Nasrani dish known as appam. Appams, kallappams, or vellayappams are rice flour pancakes which have soft, thick white spongy cent res and crisp, lace-like edges.[13] "Meen Mulakittathu" or "Meen vevichathu" (fi sh in fiery red chilly sauce) is another favourite item.[13] In addition to chicken and fish, Christians along with all Hindus and Muslims in Kerala also eat red meat. For example, Syrian Christian beef ularthiathu is a b eef dish cooked with spices.[13]