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Mappila Cuisine

Mappila or Muslim Mappila denotes a member of the largest Muslim group in Kerala. This community, concentrated mostly in the Malabar region of Kerala, developed chiefly because of the pre and post-Islamic Arab contacts. Malappuram district has a good number of Mappila populations. One of the most attractive aspects in the Mappila culture is the delicious ethnic cuisine, commonly known by the name Mappila cuisine.

Mappila cuisine is a fascinating blend of traditional Kerala and Arab food culture. This amazing confluence of two culinary cultures is best seen in the preparation of pathiri. Arabs are fond of breads and Keralites cannot think of a meal without rice. Hence we have pathiri, which is bread made of rice. The characteristic use of spices is the hallmark of Mappila cuisine. Spices like pepper, cardamom and clove are used profusely. These magical spices go well with coconut oil, which is used for cooking almost all traditional Kerala dishes.

There are many vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that carry the distinctive taste and aroma of Mappila cuisine. Biriyani (mutton, chicken, lamb or prawn) made as ‘dum’ tops the list of delicacies. In this kind of preparation, heat is applied both to the top and the bottom of the cooking vessel. Kallummakkaya (mussels) curry, erachi puttu (erachi means meat), parottas (soft flatbread), pathiris (a type of rice pancake) and ghee rice are some of the other specialties.

The snacks include unnakkaya (deep-fried, boiled ripe banana paste covering a mixture of cashew, raisins and sugar), pazham nirachathu (ripe banana filled with coconut grating, molasses or sugar), muttamala made of eggs, chattipathiri, a dessert made of maida, like baked, layered chappatis with rich filling, arikadukka and so on. The Mappila cuisine also includes a variety of seafood dishes. Most of these lip smacking dishes are available at various local food joints as well as in star hotels.