Off the coast of Kerala sits the 36-island chain known as Lakshadweep. In Malayalam and Sanskrit, the word “Lakshadweep” literally translates to “thousand islands.” Only 10 of the several tiny islands are still inhabited, and only a few are open to tourists. Agatti, Kalpeni, Kadmat, Kiltan, Cheltat, Amini, Bitra, Androth, Minicoy, and Kavaratti are the inhabited islands (the capital). This Union Territory of India, well-known for its crystal-clear waters and simple lifestyle, never fails to draw visitors from all over the world.
The culture and customs of these islands, particularly the cuisine, are significantly influenced by their proximity to the state of Kerala. With flavours of coconut oil and curry leaves in their dishes, Lakshadweep food exhibits a strong influence from Kerala’s Malabar cuisine. Idli, dosa, aviyal, biryani, and the well-known Malabar parotta are just a few of the Keralan cuisines that the communities living on these islands enjoy.
Each of the islands of Lakshadweep has its culinary specialities. Some popular dishes of Lakshwadeep are:
Kilanji is an extremely thin crepe-like dish made of rice and eggs. It pairs well with a sweet and syrupy dish consisting of coconut milk, bananas, and jaggery. Typically, this meal is made for visitors and friends as well as significant events like weddings.
- Mus Kavaab
Mus Kavaab, a classic Minicoy meal, is a spicy tuna curry cooked with sautéed onions, curry leaves, and tomato. It also contains cardamom, coriander powder, and chilli powder. Rice is the ideal side dish for this flavorful, hot tuna curry. It is one of the most popular dishes of Lakshwadeep.
- Octopus Fry
Due to the seldom use of octopus across the rest of India, this dish is a real delicacy of Lakshadweep cuisine. One of the few places where octopus is a common ingredient in meals is Lakshadweep. Popular on these islands is a crispy fried octopus.
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- Maasu Podichath
It is a really original recipe that simply contains fish, but the twist in this dish is that it is prepared with dry tuna. In local parlance, Maasu refers to dried tuna. Maasu Podichath is made by chopping one or two dried fish into small pieces and combining them with shredded coconut, chopped onion, garlic, turmeric powder, and other spices. This is then served with rice or chapatti. It is incredibly simple and convenient to make when you have visitors and don’t have any fresh fish or other vegetables.
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This is another well-known snack of Lakshadweep, which is available at several places in the region. It is made using boneless, freshly cut fish cubes that have been marinated with salt. After being dipped into a mixture comprised of gram flour, chilli powder, turmeric, and salt, it is then deep-fried. This is one of the most unique and popular dishes of Lakshwadeep.
It is typically eaten with a hot sauce made of tomatoes and peppers, which leaves a taste in your mouth that lingers for a long time. It is a delicious meal that you should try as a side dish, however, some people also eat it for lunch and dinner.
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