Imagine a state that has a huge coastline of 590km. Top that up with the presence of 49 interconnected backwaters worth a whopping large area of 46,129 hectares. Then further add a brackish water area estimated to be 1,43,696 hectares. Now that’s exposure to a lot of water for a small state like Kerala. However, don’t get excited as yet, as we still have the inland fresh water resources including rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and minor irrigation tanks that cover another 2,26,274 hectares. Out of these, a total of around 1,30,000 hectare area is suitable for fresh water fish farming.
No wonder the state is so verdant and rich in lush greenery, a balm to the jaded eyes of city-dwellers! However, it’s not only for this reason that Kerala is known as ‘God’s own Country’…. Its culture, tradition, beautiful hill stations, golden beaches, whispering lakes, its varied wildlife as well as its amazing cuisine all form a part of Kerala’s great appeal.
Most people visiting Kerala focus on its great visuals only; but a visit isn’t complete unless you have tried out the local cuisine too. There are two distinct features in Kerala’s cuisine that set it apart from other cuisines of the country – and they are coconut and fish! Not only that, the small state of Kerala is also India’s largest coconut and fish producing state in India.
The cuisine is exquisite, spicy and yet not overpowering, where you can get to taste the distinct flavors of the ingredients added. Most of the best dishes center on the use of different kinds of fishes, prawns, crabs, squids, mussels, etc. Out of these, the pearl spot fish is outstanding in its tastiness and holds a special place on the tables of the discerning ones. It’s also the state fish of Kerala. Due to loss of its normal habitats over the years, these fishes are becoming increasingly rare in the inland water bodies. Accordingly, the cost of this fish is also on the rise, making it all the more precious.
Pearl spot or ‘as it is locally called, is more commonly found in the backwaters and brackish waters. Some of the lip-smacking, utterly unforgettable dishes made with the delectable Karimeen fish include the crispy Karimeen fry and the flavorful Karimeen Pollichathu - fish coated in a thick spicy gravy and broasted wrapped in a green banana leaf – the taste is simply out of this world! Other ways to enjoy this fish include Karimeen Mappas, Karimeen Molly (coconut milk based curries), Karimeen masala roast, etc. Do note that different kinds of fishes can be used to create the same delicious dish if Karimeen isn’t available.
Then there are the divine fish pickles – who would have ever thought that pickles could be made from fishes and shrimps too, simply delicious! A trip to Kerala should definitely include a journey through Kerala’s awesome cuisine too.
Take a visit to the backwaters by Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam; enjoy the beauty of the lake and its surroundings, hire a boathouse and enjoy a ride down the lake and its backwaters and enjoy yummy fish meals with freshly caught fish – in fact you can even help in catching your dinner! Then make a memorable stop-over at the Raviz hotel, enjoy their warm hospitality and their splendid fish delicacies in the multi-cuisine restaurant.
There is no way you won’t be coming back for more….