Lakshadweep Cuisine Oozes Creamy, Earthy And Piquant Flavours
Image Credit: A spread of seafood, Unsplash

Lakshadweep is a cluster of islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Kerala. However, it seldom makes its mark on a tourist's list of places to visit. But only those who have been to this place know what this beauty has in store. Akin to its scenic charm, the local food has an ocean of flavours. An epicurean gets to taste the best of seafood, an array of rice preparation, and quite an interesting spread of coconut-based grubs. Not to forget the profuse use of herbs and spices that grow abundantly here.

Let's embark on a journey to explore what its cuisine has to offer!

Civilization, culture and socio-religious influence

A peep into its history reveals its evolution of culture. Local lore claims that a small group of explorers in quest of a Chera King were the foremost inhabitants to settle in Lakshadweep. The first habitable islands are assumed to be Androth, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Ameni, and Agathi. The early islanders are reported to have come from the neighbouring state of Kerala. As per local narrative, in the 7th century CE, an Arab Saint, Ubaidulla, arrived in Ameni and eventually spread his message of Islam to the rest of the islands. Gradually, the majority of islanders accepted Islam. In due course of time, this religion influenced the islanders' traditions, cultural practices, eating habits, and overall way of life. 

Cuisine drawing essence from other cultures

A bunch of tender coconuts, Image Source: Pexels

The culture and customs of these islands, particularly the cuisine, are clearly influenced by their close proximity to the state of Kerala. Dishes adapted from the southern state are enjoyed by the communities residing on these islands. In Lakshadweep, idli, dosa, avial, biryani, and Malabar parotta are staple foods. The Malabar cuisine of Kerala has exerted a considerable impact on Lakshadweep cuisine, which uses coconut oil and curry leaves in many of its dishes.

Native produce's dominance in culinary fare

Rice with shrimps, Image Source: Pexels

The main ingredient in every meal of the day is rice. There are several vegetarian options available in the cuisine. The seafood delicacies of these islands are astounding due to their geographic location. Crabs, fish, particularly tuna and even octopuses are all widely used. Seaweed, squid, and prawns are some more seafood favourites. The dishes are prepared using the traditional methods of steaming and roasting. The regional specialities incorporate conventional spices with a dash of coastal zest.

In these islands, coconut trees abound. The majority of recipes contain coconut, often in the form of fresh shredded coconut, coconut oil, or coconut milk for curries.

Kadalakka, a dessert from Lakshadweep, Image Source:

Lakshadweep has many ancient recipes that have been passed down through generations. The locals' cooking techniques have evolved into a motley of processes over time. Rayereha, or red tuna curry, Sanath, Batla Appam, Mus Kavab, and Kadalakka are some of the local cuisine's most well-known dishes. The culinary fare of these islands is still evolving by adapting to the newer exposure to other cuisines.