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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which local food dishes is Kovalam famous for?

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When it comes to food, Kovalam simply rocks! Catering to such a mixed bag of tourists coming from all over the world, Kovalam has developed an amazing range of cuisines from both the western and eastern worlds, which has given rise to an interesting variety of fusion dishes. So, let us take you around a brief tour of the local delicacies.

Non vegetarian

  • Fried chicken
    This should be your top choice, when you are ordering food in Kovalam. It is basically deep-fried chicken cooked in a thick spicy red paste. Sounds pretty basic to read, but when you take a bite, you’ll have a party in your mouth!
  • Seafood
    Kovalam beach restaurants will have plenty of seafood from Tiger prawns, shrimps, clams, lobsters, crabs, oysters, squids to fishes. These are cooked in Continental, Chinese, Indian and Fusion styles. So you have plenty of options to choose from. Tandoori Prawn and the Calamari are a hot favourite here. Also, try the prawn or crab curry, which can be either fiery hot or a much milder coconut milk based curry, according to your preference. Speaking of which, the fresh catches of the day are usually displayed outside the restaurants. Just pick your choice of fish/prawn/crab and tell the waiter how you want it done. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
  • Teesri (white clams) stir fry
    This gets a special mention because...well, it’s special. Handpicked juicy white clams are gently pried open and the meat is cooked together with grated coconut and choice spices, which are then served in the clam shells. A pretty dish, which is equally good to eat.
  • Kerala Beef Fry
    One of the very few places in India where you will get this (you know, cow being a holy animal for the Hindus). So what’s so special about this? The secret lies in the marinade. Roasted spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes and chillies are mixed with the meat, then fried together and garnished with (take a guess) coconuts and curry leaves. A lip smacking dry dish, this is served with dosa, appam or idli.
  • Meen Pollichathu
    There are an umpteen number of fish based dishes. Spicy fish fry for one, is similar to the above mentioned chicken fry, except it uses (obviously) fish. However, we decided to stress more on the Meen Pollichathu, because of its presentation, preparation and of course, popularity. A Karimeen fish (pearl spots) is first coated with a thick layer of spices and then roasted in a banana leaf wrap. On opening the wrap, the wonderful aromas of the spices get released with the steam, so that each bite of the succulent fish becomes a heavenly delight. A dish to die for!

Vegetarian

  • Sambhar
    Every Indian recognises this as a standard south-indian flair which is usually accompanied with dosa, idli, vada or boiled rice. For those who have never heard of it, Sambar can be best described as a vegetable stew in broth made of pigeon pea and tamarind. It a very popular south-Indian dish all over India.
  • Pachadi
    Almost like the Indian Raita, but with a spicy twist. This is an amazing vegetarian delight where vegetables like cucumber, okra, eggplant, bottle gourd are cooked to a tender crisp and then ground together with roasted red chillies, green chillies, ginger, fenugreek and mustard seeds.
  • Thoran
    This is a dry dish made from finely chopped vegetables like beans, cabbages, black-eyed peas, jackfruits, yams, gourds, and amaranth leaves (almost any vegetable that you can find) which are mixed with grated coconut, mustard seeds and curry leaves followed by stir frying over a very high flame. This usually tastes best when eaten with rice and sambhar.

  • Avial
    This is somewhat like a mixed vegetable dish, but has curd and grated coconut in it. It is seasoned with mustard seeds, coconut oil and curry leaves. Commonly eaten with boiled rice and parippu (dal to north-indians)

  • Kaalan / Moru curry
    Another popular yoghurt based dish which uses a lot of coconut and a single vegetable like yams, cucumbers, plantains or gourds, sometimes even mangoes and pineapples for a sweet or sour flavour.

  • Payasam / Kheer
    Usually made during celebrations or festivities, this is easy Indian dessert made with thickened milk, rice and sugar and flavoured with cardamom, and dry fruits. Sweet and simple.

Tip: A lot of restaurants serve “special tea” (beer), but only if you agree to drink discretely.

Like any coastal region, the local food contains a lot of coconut. A lot. It can be in the form of coconut oil and grated coconut. It’s quite dominant in almost all the dishes, which might take a bit of getting used to. Tamarind is commonly used for sourness, and boiled rice as well as tapioca is the staple here. Food is generally towards the spicier side, but you can always ask to reduce the heat. So get into some open air/ rooftop restaurant, or simply carry you food to the beach (ask the waiter first!) and enjoy every bite in the surrounding beautiful setting. You can check live train running status on ixigo to reach this enchanting location on time.

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