Exploring Kochi's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes

Exploring Kochi's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Traditional Recipes


Kochi, also known as Cochin, is a vibrant coastal city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is not only famous for its rich history, backwaters, and stunning natural beauty, but also for its unique culinary delights. The cuisine of Kochi is a reflection of its diverse cultural influences, including Arab, Syrian Christian, and Portuguese. In this guide, we will take you on a gastronomic journey through Kochi's authentic cuisine, highlighting local dishes, the best restaurants to try them, and even some traditional recipes you can try at home.

Local Dishes

Kochi offers a variety of local dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.

1. Appam with Stew

Appam is a fluffy and fermented rice pancake served with a delicious stew made with coconut milk, vegetables, and meat. This dish is a popular breakfast option in Kochi and is a must-try for food enthusiasts.

2. Karimeen Pollichathu

Karimeen, also known as Pearl Spot fish, is a delicacy of Kerala. Karimeen Pollichathu is a preparation where the fish is marinated with spices, wrapped in a banana leaf, and then grilled or pan-fried. The banana leaf imparts a unique flavor to the dish.

3. Prawns Moilee

A popular seafood dish, Prawns Moilee, features prawns cooked in a creamy coconut milk gravy. The dish is infused with flavors of turmeric, ginger, garlic, and curry leaves, giving it a delectable taste.

4. Thalassery Biryani

Kochi's cuisine is also known for its flavorful biryanis. Thalassery Biryani is a specialty that originated in the nearby city of Thalassery. It is made with fragrant rice, spices, and tender pieces of meat, layered and cooked to perfection.

5. Malabar Parotta and Beef Curry

Malabar Parotta, a flaky layered bread made with refined flour, is the perfect accompaniment to Beef Curry. This combination is immensely popular among the locals and is a must-try for meat lovers.

Best Restaurants in Kochi

If you want to experience the true essence of Kochi's cuisine, here are some of the best restaurants to visit:

  • Fort House Restaurant: Located in the heart of Fort Kochi, this restaurant offers a variety of traditional Kerala dishes in a charming setting.
  • Malabar Junction: Known for its fusion of traditional and contemporary flavors, this restaurant is popular among locals and tourists alike.
  • Dhe Puttu: Specializing in puttu, a cylindrical steamed rice cake, this restaurant serves it with a variety of curries and accompaniments.
  • Grand Pavilion: Famous for its seafood, especially the karimeen preparations, this restaurant offers a wide range of delectable dishes.

Traditional Recipes

If you want to try your hand at cooking some authentic Kochi dishes, here are a couple of traditional recipes:

1. Appam


  • 2 cups of rice flour
  • 1 cup of grated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • Water as required
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a blender, grind the grated coconut with some water to make a smooth paste.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, coconut paste, yeast mixture, and salt. Add enough water to make a thick batter. Let it ferment overnight.
  4. Heat a non-stick appam pan and pour a ladleful of batter into the center. Swirl the pan to spread the batter in a circular motion.
  5. Cover the pan and cook the appam on low heat until the edges turn golden brown and the center is soft and fluffy.
  6. Serve hot with stew or any curry of your choice.

2. Prawns Moilee


  • 500 grams of prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 cup of thick coconut milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a pan, heat oil and sauté the onions, green chilies, and curry leaves until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute until the raw smell disappears.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook until they become mushy.
  4. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink and are almost cooked.
  6. Add the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook for a few minutes until the flavors meld together.
  7. Garnish with fresh curry leaves and serve hot with rice or appam.