Kerala cuisine has infinitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and meat. Appetizing spices have been cultivated in Kerala since time immemorial and they characterize its cuisine. Rice is the leading staple food eaten at all times of the day. Non-vegetarian dishes, including those with beef and pork, are popular in the state.
Breakfast dishes are frequently based on the rice preparations such as; Idli, Puttu, Appam, Idiyappam, or pulse-based Vada and Tapioca. These may be accompanied by Chutney, Kadala, Payasam, Payar, Pappadam, Egg Masala and Fish Curry.
Lunch dishes include rice and curry along with Rasam, Pulisherry and Sambar.
Sadhya is a vegetarian dish, often served on a banana leaf and followed with a cup of Payasam. Popular snacks include Banana Chips, Yam Crisps, Tapioca Chips, Unniyappam and Kuzhalappam.
Sea food delicacies include; pearl-spot, prawn, shrimp and other shellfish dishes.
Due to limited influence of Central Asian food on Kerala, the use of sweets is not as widespread as in North India. Kerala does not have any indigenous cold desserts, but hot/warm desserts are popular.
The most popular example is undoubtedly the Payasam: a preparation of milk, coconut extract, sugar, cashews, dry grapes, etc. Payasam can be made with many base constituents, including Paal payasam (made from Rice and Milk), Ada payasam (with Ada, broken strips of baked starch from various sources), Paripu payasam (made from dal), Pazham pradhamam (made from banana), Gothambu payasam (made from wheat) etc. Ada payasam is especially popular during the festival of Vishu and Onam.