Top 10 Street Foods You Must Try In Kerala, India

street food in kerala
| 5 min read

Kerala is an adventurer’s paradise with its never-ending Arabian Sea shoreline, network of canals to traverse through the jungle in search of crocodiles, tigers, and native birds, and cascading waterfalls. Explore national parks such as Periyar and Eravikulam to experience the Jungle Book come to life with sightings of elephants, langur monkeys, and the elusive Bengal tiger. To keep adventure-seekers in top shape, be sure to fill up on protein-packed specialities such as sundal, channa chaat, and parippu vada. Please refer to the following list of the top 10 street foods you must try in Kerala, India, before starting your journey throughout exotic Kerala.

1. Chola bhatura (deep-fried bread with spiced chickpeas)

Chola Batura
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AlekhyaDas used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Explore the nearby jungle areas surrounding stunning Kerala including the majestic Cheeyappara Waterfalls after indulging in a dish of chola bhatura. This deep-fried bread dish is created from chickpeas, tomato, and various exotic spices is a popular street food to be enjoyed at any time of the day. Enjoy dipping this spicy, crisp bread into a bowl of savoury chana masala chickpea and tomato stew for a hearty meal. Chola bhatura is also enjoyed as a breakfast item along with a glass of lassi by Indian people living in northern India.

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2. Sundal (South Indian salad)

Pattani Sundal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Booradleyp1 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Indulge in a nutritious and flavourful bowl of sundal before heading out to explore the sacred Hindu temple of Guruvayur with its dangling beads from the ceiling. Sundal is a South Indian favourite fried dish where legumes and lentils have been fried along with numerous spices and fresh coconut. Usually, sundal is made with chickpeas, however, it can include moong beans, peanuts, black-eyed peas, corn, and other vegetables of the legume family. This culinary delicacy is usually prepared to coincide with special celebrations including Vinayaka Chaturthi, Janmashtami puja, or Navratri fasting.

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3. Idli (savoury rice cake)

Cocktail Idli
Source: Photo by user Ravi Talwar used under CC BY 2.0

For a quick street food snack try a dish of idli before setting out on a safari adventure through the palm tree-lined, terraced hillside of Thekkady Park in search of majestic Bengal tigers and elephants. This delicious savoury rice cake is eaten for breakfast in Southern India and Sri Lanka. The rice batter is fermented and refrigerated overnight before it is steamed in a special idli pot to create a poreless, fluffy rice cake. Millet, black lentils, and sometimes oats are used at times to change the consistency and flavour of these crisp cakes.

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4. Chana chaat (chick pea salad)

After an exciting adventure under the hot Indian sun, savour a refreshing bowl of chana chaat. This delicious salad-style dish can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on your preference. It is usually made by soaking chickpeas overnight and cooked the following day but can be altered with canned chickpeas. This tangy snack bursts with flavour due to the green chillies, tomatoes, lemon, various exotic spices, and addition of cucumbers or potatoes at times.

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5. Parippu vada (crunchy lentil fritters)

Parippuvada kattanchayaa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kannanshanmugam,s... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Add these savoury crunchy fritter like snacks to your backpack before venturing over to pristine Cherai Beach to admire dolphins frolicking in the surf as you pick seashells by the beach. These savoury falafel-style treats are made of chickpeas, lentils, onions, curry leaves, and various spices. After mixing the batter until coarse, spoon dollops onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside. Enjoy these yummy, gluten-free, vegan snacks alongside coconut chutney or ketchup.

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6. Puttu and kadala (rice and coconut cylinders with filling and curry)

Puttu with kadala curry
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jackson John 10 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Puttu and kadala are a filling combination for a healthy breakfast before wandering over to explore the 80 species of exotic wildlife exhibits at Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. To create this delicious dish, rice flour must be mixed with water until there are no bubbles, leaving a smooth texture to be added to the puttu kudam. Coconut is added to puttu kudam (puttu - steaming tool) while rice is steamed in a cylinder due with water being heated in the base of the tool. After removing the cylindrical treat, enjoy alongside with banana or a bowl of savoury kadala curry (vegetable stew).

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7. Idiyappam (steamed rice noodles)

Idiyappam with Egg Masala Curry
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Viewfinder18 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This crispy rice noodle breakfast item provides a delicious start to a day spent wandering through Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve to discover tigers stalking grazing antelopes near the Kabini River. Idiyappam is usually enjoyed for breakfast along with a delicious curry or even with coconut milk as a treat. After frying the rice and making certain that no bubbles develop, the mixture should be put into an idli steamer before frying the mixture to create crisp noodles. Enjoy these crispy rice noodles with a bowl of vegetable stew, mushroom korma, or kadala curry for a delicious meal.

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8. Uttapam (crispy pancake with toppings)

Tomato uttapam
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kanikatwl used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Uttapam provides the perfect pre-adventure breakfast before joining a safari to Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary to discover fierce crocodiles hidden in the jungle’s rushing river. To create this thick, fluffy pancake, soak lentils, or rice before grinding them to a batter to be fermented overnight. Make certain the batter is thick and easy to pour before frying in a pan to create a fluffy pancake with a crisp bottom. Then garnish the fluffy-topped pancake with onions, chillies, sliced tomatoes or bell peppers, and coriander leaves for a savoury delicacy.

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9. Dosa (crispy crepe)

Amini Ghee Roast
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sudiptorana used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Indulge in this thin popular crepe speciality created from fermented rice and lentil batter before taking a tour to admire the cascading Lakom Falls. This high protein treat comes in various varieties such as plain and crispy masala dosa which are served streetside and in numerous restaurants throughout India. To make your own dosas, soak and blend lentils and rice to a batter to be fermented overnight. Then spread the batter on a hot grill or surface of a hot frying pan and cook like a crepe before serving alongside a curry or chutney of your choice.

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10. Parotta (layered flatbread)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Balajirajuchen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

After wandering through the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary appreciating the distinct calls of the native birds, indulge in a crispy parotta treat. This fried spiral-shaped treat is a favourite street food item, especially in Kerala. To create this crispy flatbread treat, batter is mixed and formed into a ball which is rolled out into the shape of a disc. Then the disc is shaped into spirals and finished off by frying in the frying pan to create a crispy snack to be enjoyed alongside chutneys.

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Indulge in Kerala's delicious street foods

While in Kerala, enjoy tastebud-tempting street food available in various markets and restaurants before taking to the beaches of the Arabian Sea to sunbathe under a canopy of palm trees. Get your fill of delicious puttu and kadala and uttapam before embarking on safaris into the Wayanad and Periyar sanctuaries to experience the lushness of the jungle and its enthralling wildlife. Visitors will leave India’s Malabar Coast state thirsting for more tantalizing eats and exciting journeys after visiting exotic Kerala.

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Celeste is a writer based in British Columbia with a profound passion for travel and the exploration of new destinations. Her adventurous spirit leads her to engage in exciting activities during...Read more

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