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The food habits of people from Kottayam are not very different from the rest of Kerala, although they are known to make some very special cuisine items especially non vegetarian snacks and dishes. For their breakfast, Malayalees normally have Kallappam, Idiyappam, Palappam and Puttu. These are the traditional breakfast items.Idly and Dosa are becoming commoner nowadays.Not strictly Kerala items, these dishes have made their way into the state from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Even the ubiquitous multi purpose sambhar is from here. It is prepared from the dough of rice flour which is layered with grated coconuts and then steamed in a hollow bamboo cylinder. To add more taste to puttu, it is sprinkled with ghee, sugar and mashed bananas or taken alongwith crushed kadala(pulse) curry and pappadam.
Other indigenous food items of Kerala include Thorans, Avial, Olan, Pachadi, Kichadi, Stew, Erisseri, Pulisseri and Kaalan.The pickles form an assorted variety that include lemon, goose berry and mango. The thoran is a dry dish wherein chopped par -boiled vegetables, meat or seafood is flavoured with mustard seeds. Avial is a mixed vegetable dish with gravy of yoghurt and coconut. Olan is prepared with the help of ash gourd and dry beans. The taste of coconut milk is instantly recognizable in Olan. Pachadi is a thick sauce made from ingredients like sugar, yoghurt, grated coconut, mustard seed and spices like green and red chillies. Sambar can be counted as a bit of broth and sauce. Its main ingredients are mashed lentils, cooked vegetables and spices.
For people in the habit of eating mildly flavoured or bland food, sambar can be pretty too hot. Appam, particularly Kallappams and Vellappams are huge favourites. Kallappam is a sort of pancake while Vellappam is a crepe like lacy edged item. Bananas are, apart from rice and coconut, used quite a lot in Kerala cuisine. They are made into round fried chips or fried and dipped in jaggery to prepare snacks and sweets. Moreover, these plantains can also be used to make Kaalan or Pulissery, a subsidiary dish during meals. Yoghurt, chilly, turmeric, cumin and Fenugreek seeds and curry leaves are used to make this item.
Main course of food
The essential ingredient of the daily diet is rice. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is some rice preparation or the other, served along with a variety of side dishes. Fish is consumed in a variety of ways - it is preserved after being dried and salted or cooked in delicious coconut gravy. Prawns, shrimps and crustaceans constitute some of the other famous delicacies of the favourite cuisine of Kottayam.
After the morning dose of coffee, a typical vegetarian malayali household serves breakfast that may either consist of soft idlis, prepared out of a paste of fermented rice and black pulses, or dosa, an oval spread of the same ingredients. Well-seasoned appams or periappams, made by mixing this paste with tomatoes, onions and other handy vegetables, are some of the other morning culinary delights.
Midday meals consist of boiled rice that may be mixed with moru (curd or bitter milk) or rasam (thin clear pepper water or soup) and a range of vegetables. Pachadi is a delicious dish, cooked out of tiny pieces of mango, mixed with hot spices. Sambar, pulses prepared with vegetables is a standard daily fare. Thoran, a coconut-based dry fish dish that is mixed with minutely chopped vegetables, herbs and curry leaves, and similar to avial, which is cooked in a sauce, is another delectable dish.Pappaddams, or crunchy round flakes made of rice flour,chutneys (a kind of sauce) and pickles, are scrumptious additions without which a meal is incomplete.
Kerala is equally famous for traditionally homemade snacks including a variety of banana chips, and rice flour cookies, are served with evening coffee. Wheat preparations are more popular in Muslim establishments.Nowadays people prefer to eat chappathis for dinner for health reasons. Well-prepared spirals called parottas and pathiris are made from refined flour, fried in oil and served with vegetables and curries.Chappathi, poori (a sort of baked or deep fried equivalent of bread)may be cooked optionally.
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