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Lunch and Dinner

The staple food of Kerala, like most South-Indian states, is rice. Unlike other states, however, many people in Kerala prefer parboiled rice (rice made nutritious by boiling it with rice husk). Kanji (rice congee), a kind of rice porridge, is also popular. Tapioca, called kappa in Kerala, is popular in central Kerala and in the highlands.

Rice is usually consumed with one or more curries. Accompaniments with rice may include upperis (dry curries), rasam, chips, and/or buttermilk (called moru). Vegetarian dinners usually consist of multiple courses, each involving rice, one main dish (usually sambar, rasam, puli-sherry), and one or more side-dishes. Kerala cooking uses coconut oil almost exclusively.

Popular vegetarian dishes include sambar, aviyal, Kaalan, theeyal, thoran (dry curry), pulisherry (morozhichathu in Cochin and the Malabar region), olan, erisherry, puliinji, payaru (mung bean), kappa (tapioca), etc. Vegetarian dishes often consist of fresh spices that are liquefied and crushed to make a paste-like texture to dampen rice.