Every culture has food that they call their own. And usually, these regional delicacies stay just that, regional. But the cuisine from God’s own country is an exception. Dishes like our famous fish molee, puttu, beef roast, parotta, etc. are known and loved the world over. However, the taste of these dishes truly come out when they are paired with their ‘soulmates’; a secret known to almost every Malayali.
So we went about compiling a list of the 10 hit combos of Kerala cuisine. And here goes…
Appam & Mutta Curry
Appam and mutta curry is one of the all-time best breakfast combos. The spongy appam absorbs the masala of the egg curry perfectly and its soft texture complements the flakiness of the egg yellow, making this an absolute treat to have on a Sunday morning.
Pathiri & Beef Curry
Now, I know that the usual combo for beef is the parotta. But if you try pathiri and beef once, you might want to abandon parotta altogether! The pathiri much lighter and way healthier than the parotta. And well, the real benefit is that since it is so light, you can have more space for the beef. So if you are a meat lover, this is one combo that you will never let go of.
Puttu & Kadala Curry
Anyone who has tried puttu knows how dry it can be. This dry texture is perfect for absorbing the masala rich kadala curry gravy, and the kadala offers soft chewy surprises that make you want to grab another handful to keep the foodgasm going.
Appam & Stew
Our old pal appam is back. But this time, with another lovely partner – the Kerala stew. Made thick and slightly sweet by adding coconut milk, the stew compounds the sweetness of the appam which (again) soaks up the rich gravy to melt in your mouth. If you are someone who prefers to tread the middle path of the spicy food domain, this one’s for you.
Kappa & Fish Curry
Ok, now these bad boys here are quite the Malayali secret. Few non-Malayalis know of our boy kappa other than in the form of chips. And man, they’re missing out on one hell of an experience! Kappa and fish curry are an extremely tasty combo with the spicy meen curry complementing the starchy kappa perfectly. They come in as a saviour when one is tired of the regular ‘pancake cousin’ (dosa, pathiri, parotta, etc.) combos.
Puttu & Pazham
As a young boy, I never tried this combo. The thought of squishing a banana with a kutti of puttu seemed odd to me. But one day, amma did not have the time to make kadala curry, and I was forced to give it a try. Let’s just say that amma did not have to make kadala every time she made puttu from then on. Again, a dish for people who do not like their food spicy, the puttu-pazham combo is perfect because the sweet pulp of the pazham compliments the dry texture of the puttu. But a word of caution though, you have to get the ratio right; too little pazham and you’re left with a dry mess, too much and it gets too soggy. I’d recommend you start with half a kutti of puttu with one pazham and take it from there to find your ideal ratio.
Dosa & Chicken Curry
If dosa had to be classified into a personality type, I’m sure it would make it into the extrovert quadrant; it just gets along with everything! Dosa and sambar, dosa and chutney, dosa and chammandi, and whatnot. But if I were to pick one dosa combo, it would be dosa and chicken curry. The Kerala dosa is slightly more spongy than its other brothers, and therefore, absorbs the gravy to moist perfection. Combine this with the flavour rich chicken, and you’ll be at the gates of food heaven.
Parotta & Chicken Curry
And finally, we have the Kerala parotta giving a cameo in our list! Parotta, like the dosa, goes well with quite a lot of dishes – parotta and beef, parotta and mutta curry, etc. But if I had to choose one, it would be parotta and chicken curry. A warm parotta’s soft texture goes extremely well with tenderness of chicken meat. And the spicy gravy makes the experience rich and soulful.
Pazhampori & Beef
Unlike the other combos on this list, these two have not been together for that long (around 15 years), but have risen in ranks throughout Kerala to become one of our iconic combos. The sweet banana fritter joins forces with the spicy beef to make the perfect snack, and there’s almost nothing that beats this curious combination.
Payasam & Pappadam
Ok, now we’re at the last entry in the list, and this one is for the ‘expert’ category as you have to drink the payasam of a banana leaf (or plate) to be able to try this one. The dry pappadam is an ideal companion to the sweet and creamy payasam. Thrown in a pazham and you’ve got yourself a food combination that’s fit for the Gods.
That was our list of 10 Kerala food combos that everyone should try. Do you have other favourites? Let us know in the comments section.