The Gastronomic Delights of Calicut: A Foodie’s Guide

The Gastronomic Delights of Calicut: A Foodie’s Guide

Calicut, also known as Kozhikode, is a city located in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The city has a rich history and boasts a unique culinary tradition that has been shaped by centuries of trade and cultural exchange. Calicut’s cuisine is characterized by its bold flavors and the use of spices, seafood, and coconut. In this article, we will take a tour of Calicut’s culinary landscape and explore the diverse range of dishes that this city has to offer.

Start the Day Right: Breakfast in Calicut

In Calicut, breakfast is a meal that is taken seriously. The city is known for its hearty and filling breakfast options. One of the most popular breakfast dishes in Calicut is the ‘puttu and kadala curry’. Puttu is a steamed cake made from rice flour and coconut, which is served with a spicy chickpea curry known as kadala curry. Another beloved Calicut breakfast dish is ‘appam and stew’. Appam is a type of pancake made from fermented rice batter, while stew is a vegetable or meat-based curry that is cooked in coconut milk.

Seafood Extravaganza: Calicut’s Coastal Cuisine

Calicut is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, and its cuisine reflects the abundance of seafood that is available in the region. From fresh fish to prawns and crabs, you will find a variety of seafood dishes in Calicut’s restaurants and street food stalls. One of the most popular seafood dishes in Calicut is ‘meen curry’, which is a spicy fish curry made with tamarind and coconut milk. Another must-try dish is ‘karimeen pollichathu’, which is a whole fish that is marinated with spices, wrapped in banana leaves, and cooked over a flame.

Spices Galore: A Journey through Calicut’s Spice Markets

Calicut has a long history of trading in spices, and its spice markets are a reflection of this legacy. The city is famous for its high-quality spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. A visit to Calicut’s spice markets is a sensory experience, as you will be greeted with the heady aroma of these spices. Some of the most popular spice markets in Calicut include the SM Street market, the Sweetmeat Street market, and the Kallayi Market.

The Perfect Snack: Calicut’s Savory Snacks

Calicut’s street food scene is a food lover’s paradise, with a variety of delicious snacks that are perfect for a quick bite. One of the most popular snacks is ‘kallummakkaya’, which is a dish made from mussels that are cooked with spices and onion. Another popular snack is ‘chatti pathiri’, which is a layered pastry that is filled with meat or vegetables and baked in a clay pot.

A Unique Fusion: The Melding of Arab and Indian Cuisines

Calicut has a rich cultural history that has been shaped by centuries of trade with Arab countries. This cultural exchange has had a significant impact on Calicut’s cuisine, which features a unique fusion of Arab and Indian flavors. One of the most popular dishes that reflects this fusion is ‘alisa’, which is a creamy and savory porridge made from wheat, chicken, and spices. Another dish that reflects the Arab influence is ‘shahi tukda’, which is a dessert made from bread that is soaked in saffron syrup and topped with nuts and cream.

Vegetarian Delights: Calicut’s Meat-Free Options

If you are a vegetarian, you will find plenty of options in Calicut’s cuisine. The city is known for its delicious vegetarian dishes that are made with fresh vegetables and spices. One of the most popular vegetarian dishes is ‘avial’, which is a mixed vegetable curry that is cooked in coconut and yogurt. Another popular dish is ‘kadala curry’, which is a spicy chickpea curry that is served with puttu or appam.

Sweet Temptations: Calicut’s Desserts and Sweets

Calicut is famous for its sweet treats, which are made with fresh coconut, jaggery, and spices. One of the most beloved Calicut desserts is ‘payasam’, which is a rice pudding that is flavored with cardamom and served with nuts and raisins. Another sweet treat that is a must-try is ‘unniyappam’, which is a small, sweet pancake made with rice flour, coconut, and jaggery.

Sip on This: Traditional Beverages in Calicut

Calicut has a variety of traditional beverages that are perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day. One of the most popular beverages is ‘sulaimani’, which is a hot and spicy tea that is flavored with lemon and cardamom. Another popular beverage is ‘nannari sherbet’, which is a refreshing drink made from the roots of the nannari plant.

Taking a Piece of Calicut Home: Souvenirs from the Kitchen

If you want to take a piece of Calicut’s culinary tradition home with you, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the most popular souvenirs include spices, such as cardamom and cinnamon, as well as banana chips and coconut oil. You can also find traditional cooking utensils and kitchenware, such as brass and copper pots and pans. Whatever you choose, these souvenirs will be a reminder of the delicious flavors and aromas of Calicut’s cuisine.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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