The variety of flavors and methods used to make these dishes is what makes them so interesting. It's no surprise that the cuisine of Kerala is regarded as among the best in the world, given the sheer variety of ingredients and methods used in its preparation. Read on to learn about some of the state's best non-vegetarian dishes.
Meat dishes from Kerala are among the best representations of the state's cuisine, which is known for its rich and flavorful offerings. Kerala's meat dishes range from the familiar to the exotic, with options such as the tharavu roast (stir-fried duck curry) and the muyal erachi roast (stir-fried rabbit) popularly sold across the state. The variety of flavors and methods used to make these dishes is what makes them so interesting. It's no surprise that the cuisine of Kerala is regarded as among the best in the world, given the sheer variety of ingredients and methods used in its preparation. Read on to learn about some of the state's best non-vegetarian dishes.
This Keralite Christian staple is prepared almost every Sunday for breakfast before church. Most regions have nearly identical recipes for the stew: a white coconut gravy with vegetables and tiny chunks of mutton. The mutton used for the dish is cut into bite-sized pieces before being boiled in a bath containing vinegar, salt, and pepper. The meat is subject to a second cooking immediately after; it is fried in coconut oil along with cardamom, clove, green chilies, sliced onions, curry leaves, ginger, and garlic. The vegetables follow, with bite-sized pieces of carrot, long beans, and potato. The mixture is cooked with second-run coconut milk. The coconut milk used for this dish is made fresh by blending grated coconut with water. This is done twice, the second time with the leftover coconut mass from the first run. The more dilute second run is added first, and the first soon after the vegetables have finished cooking, since the combination of heat and acidity would split the milk. The mixture is left on low after the addition of the first run. A few dollops of mashed potatoes may be used to thicken the gravy. This stew is almost exclusively served with appam, a fermented pancake.
Muyal Erachi roast
In what may be news to many, the consumption of rabbit meat is widespread across the state of Kerala. Rabbit farming is the primary source of income for more than 10,000 families in the state, who legally rear several species of the rodent for meat. Rabbit, too, is prepared using a standard recipe, stir fried in what is known as a ‘roast’ (a semi-dry stir-fry with wet masala). The dish is prepared in a traditional cooking utensil called the "uruli," a heavy metal pan. The masala is prepared first. A fine paste of green chilies, scallions, ginger, and garlic is added to hot coconut oil, followed by several powdered spices, namely coriander, chili, and turmeric powders. The mixture is cooked till it gains an aroma, after which bite-sized pieces of the rabbit are cooked in the masala. Some households may add coconut milk at this stage for a richer, creamier muyal roast. This dish is usually savored with parotta or appam.
Fish curry is probably the most prepared non-vegetarian dish in the state. Denizens of the state that live along the coast make fish curry multiple times a day with the day's catch. Cities located hundreds of miles from the coast may also participate in this tradition; it is not uncommon to see families that live further out in the state rear freshwater fish for their own consumption. The dish is renowned for its spiciness and is definitely not for the faint of heart. The preparation starts out with a tempering made with roughly chopped green chilies, scallions, and curry leaves. This mixture is fried in coconut oil until fragrant, after which several powdered spices follow, including a generous helping of chili powder, along with toasted turmeric, fenugreek, and pepper powder. A cup or two of water follows, turning the masala into a gravy. The dish's primary flavoring is added at this point: Malabar tamarind (Garcinia cambogia). The gravy is allowed to simmer and is periodically tasted to check for optimal sourness. The tamarind is discarded after the acidity of the dish reaches a certain point, as leaving it in any longer would render the dish inedible. The final ingredient in the mixture is the raw fish, following which the gravy is cooked until the fish is no longer raw. The preparation is garnished with curry leaves and a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Meen curry is usually served with boiled rice or steamed kappa (tapioca).
Kuttanadan Tharavu roast
This preparation originates from the farmlands of Kuttanad, a GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System). The area encompasses three districts: Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta, all known for duck farming. The dish starts out with a masala that is identical to that used in the moyal roast, but with the addition of water to thin out the masala in order to make it easier to coalesce with the duck fat in the next step. Pieces of curry-cut duck are added to the mixture and stirred rapidly in order to emulsify the masala with the duck fat. The mixture is taken off the heat and blended with a cup of thick coconut cream so as to add a layer of creaminess to complement the duck fat. This dish makes a great accompaniment to appam or a serving of boiled red rice.