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South Indian Cooking Lessons in Kerala

Cooking Course in Kerala, IndiaIn Cochin/Kerala, we offer cooking classes in South Indian cuisine. Teacher is Mrs. Meera, a housewife, who teaches in her home.
The cuisine of Kerala in South West India reflects the history and culture of this region, coined for over 2000 years by sailors and traders traveling from Syria, Portugal, Arabia, and Southeast Asia. Dishes from Kerala are Pathiri, meat, fish and vegetable curries, Biriyani and various chutneys. Due to the climatic conditions of Kerala, ingredients used like coconut, plantains or taros are unique when compared to other Indian states.
Usually, the maximum duration for this cooking course is 2 weeks, during which all the foundations of South Indian cooking are taught. If you have more time and want to learn even more, you can cook by yourself from the second or third week in the kitchen of a restaurant of high standards, which specialises in fish .
In our video in the Tab "Cochin", we feature Meera.

South Indian Cooking

For Indian cuisine, the use of numerous spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits as well as the widely spread vegetarianism is characteristic. Approximately 40% of the Indian population are vegetarian; particularly Hindu people belong to the higher castes strictly live as vegetarians.
The Indian cuisine however is just as diverse as the Indian subcontinent itself and there are huge differences from state to state. Varying ethnical and religious compositions of the states as well as different climatic conditions have their influence on the regional Indian cuisine.
The cooking style in Kerala of Southwest India reflects the history and culture of that region which has been influenced for over 2000 years by sailors and travelling traders. Today, only around half of the population of Kerala are Hindu. They have contributed the enormous variety of vegetarian meals. The remaining population consists of Christians (mostly with ancestors from Syria and Portugal) and Muslims who brought Arabian food such as pastries and meals with fish, meat and sea food into the cuisine of Kerala. Even commercial travelers of Southeast Asia have left marks in the cooking style of Kerala.
Kerala foodDue to the climatic conditions, the vegetarian cuisine of Kerala includes vegetables and fruits that are not commonly used in other Indian regions, such as pumpkin, plantains and taro. Meals such as "Pathiri", a rice pancake usually served with a meat curry, "Porotta“, a layered flat bread, and the Kerala versions of the traditional "Biriyani" curries are all based on cultural influences of Southeast Asia and Arab countries.
In Indian cooking, spices are essential. Pepper, chili powder, ginger, garlic and coriander are the most common spices that every Indian housewife knows how to use. Kerala is particularly famous for its black pepper and cardamom. Typically Kerala meals further make use of ginger, cinnamon, cloves as well as fresh curry leaves, coconut milk, tamarind and lime. The latter are being used to flavour the popular sour chutneys.
Cooked vegetable curries with rice are a typical South Indian lunch. They are usually being prepared with coconut oil. Instead of using plates, the curries and chutneys are often served on fresh green banana leafs. This is usually done in a very elaborated way called “Sadhya” during religious festivals such as "Onam”. Typical festival dishes which are being served this way include "Aviyal", a cream made from various vegetables, coconut, curd and sometimes fresh curry leafs, "Sambar", a lentil dish including tomatoes and spices such as Masala, and "Kaalan", which is made of yoghurt, coconut and a particular kind of vegetable for instance plantains or manioc.
Rice is an essential part of Indian food. Rice is being used in a large variety of dishes: as supplement to different vegetables and fruits, curries and fish meals, as soup, pastry, and even as sweet desserts. "Payasam" for instance is a dessert made from boiled rice with the addition of sugar, saffron, spices, pistachios and almonds. Even for breakfast rice is eaten in India: "Putt" is a piece of dough made from rice flour and grated coconut, it is usually being served with "Kadala", a black bean curry which is also popular in Sri Lanka. Besides rice, cassava (manioc) is a popular ingredient of South Indian cuisine.
We offer a cooking course at Cochin, Kerala with an Indian housewife who is going to give you an insight to the cooking of Kerala and South India. She can also pay special attention to your own interests. The maximum number of participants is 4 persons.
Usually, the maximum duration for this cooking course is 2 weeks, during which all the foundations of South Indian cooking are taught. If you have more time and want to learn even more, you can cook by yourself from the second or third week in the kitchen of a restaurant of high standards, which specialises in fish.
Cooking Lessons in Kerala

With Meera, it is also possible:

To take private lessons (also for small groups) in South Indian cooking for 2 hours daily, Mondays to Saturdays. You can tell us in advance the dishes that you are most interested in.
Minimum Duration: 1 week
Maximum Duration: 2 weeks (for longer duration, you can work in the kitchen of a restaurant of high standards)
Language Requirements: English
Location: Cochin/Kerala, India
Accommodation: Guesthouse

Price: In Tab "Rate"
You can also combine cooking lessons with Yoga, Kathakali, Kalaripayatt and Ayurveda. Please contact us for a customised rate!


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Rate for the months April - October:

1 week
1 Person: 280 EUR (single room); 2 Persons: 220 EUR per person (Double Room; Single Occupancy: + 40 EUR)
Each extra week
1 Person: 180 EUR (single room); 2 Persons: 140 EUR per person (Double Room; Single Occupancy: + 40 EUR)
For all other months:
Plus 20 €/Person/week
Surcharge for room with air conditioning: 60 €/week/room
The price includes:
  • Lessons 6 times a week for 2 hours each with Ms. Meera
  • Accommodation as booked at a guest house in Fort Kochi without meals
  • Airport transfers from/to Cochin International (COK) during arrival/departure
Please contact us if you are interested in accommodation of higher standards.
You can combine Cooking Lessons with Yoga, Kathakali, Kalaripayatt and Ayurveda. Please contact us for a customised rate!



Accommodation in Cochin



Guest House in Cochin:

You will be accommodated at one of two Guest Houses of middle standard, which belong to the same family and which are located next to each other in a quiet residential area of Fort Cochin, two minutes to walk from the "Maritime Museum". Most rooms have a private bathroom. There is a cleaner once a week and WiFi internet. The rates vary slightly during the year, depending on the season. You can book breakfast for an additional around 80 Rs./day. At one of the Guest Houses there is also a small kitchenette that can be used from participants living in both Guest Houses.
Bed sheets are provided but you should bring your own towels.



Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.


Malayalam is the language of Kerala. Although there are many people with good knowledge of English (much more than Hindi), it is always helpful to have a basic knowledge of Malayalam. You can take lessons (5 times a week for 2 hours each) with a single teacher. Classes are held in Fort Cochin, on the terrace of your property. Just mark in the registration form, "Language Training Required", and let us know your desired number of hours.
The price for 10 hours of lessons: 50 EUR.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.



Check out our video on Cochin!

In this video, you see our volunteers, Sophie and Claudia in Cochin and our coordinator, Antonio. Also featured are some activities that you can do in and around Cochin.


Kerala - the Land of the Coconut Palms:

In Malayalam, Kerala means "Land of the coconut palms". This tropical state in the south west of India is strong in traditions and culture. Ayurveda, the Kathakali, and Kalarippayat (probably the oldest martial art of the world), all come from Kerala. The society of Kerala however, has also been shaped by the trade and cultural exchange facilitated by sailing vessels on the Indian Ocean. As early as in the 4th century, traders brought Christianity and Islam to Kerala and therefore, these two religions have far more followers in Kerala than in other parts of India: around 55% of Kerala's population are Hindu, 25% Muslims and 20% Christians.
Kerala is very attractive and interesting for travelling, offering tropical beaches and islands, house boat tours on the "backwaters", impressive mountains (such as the tea plantation area of Munnar) and National Parks, as well as a rich cultural heritage.

Cochin - Historic Port Town

The coastal city of Cochin, with around 600,000 inhabitants, spreads over several islands and peninsulas which are all connected via bridges. Ferries can easily bring you to the other parts of the city. An important island is Fort Kochi, the historic old town, where you will be accommodated. In the past, Fort Kochi was an important Indian Ocean port. The Chinese in the 13th century, the Portuguese in the 15th century and the Dutch in the 17th century left their remains. The town of Fort Kochi with its old courtyards, walls, churches and palaces, has a compelling flair which attracts cultural and wellness tourists; therefore there are many restaurants, hotels and guest houses, handcrafts and esoteric shops, as well as events. At night, it is particularly safe in Fort Kochi, as the Indian police operates its own "tourism police station" with a quirky police uniform museum. The modern and big city part of Cochin is Ernakulam, which is situated on the mainland and has a railroad station, many offices and large shops. Vypin Island is popular for beaches.

Our Coordinator in Cochin

Our coordinator in Cochin is Antonio.

Recreational Activities in Cochin

As a tourist destination, Cochin offers many ways to spend your spare time. These include the famous boat trips with houseboats on the "backwaters", which is available as day trips or as a multi-day offers, in which case you sleep on the boat. A beautiful multi-day trip and a welcome climate change, is also a visit to the tea plantations in the mountains of Munnar. There are several beaches in the area of Cochin, where you can swim.
In Cochin itself, there are many places for Ayurvedic massages, demonstrations of the traditional theater "Kathakali", the martial arts "Kalaripayattu" and folk dances and music performances (as "World Learner", you can even learn these), as well as take yoga or cooking lessons. In Ernakulam, there are large shopping malls and many shops with great deals; Fort Cochin has many tourist shops and a large number of restaurants and cafes. In the late afternoons, locals, Indian tourists and foreign tourists gather on the beach promenade of Fort Cochin to see the sunset.

Getting There


Getting To Cochin

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You book your flight to Cochin/Kochi (COK). There, you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation in Cochin.
You can also see if there is any cheaper international flight to Mumbai, New Delhi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah and then, book a flight separately, oder to Cochin.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the Cochin airport even at night.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion. You could even plan these out during holidays. Even with an internship visa, it is possible to travel around India.
When is the rainy season and can I travel to India during this time?
The monsoon begins in early June in Kerala, Mumbai, in mid-June and the Himalayan region, early to mid-July and ends in September. The Thar Desert in Rajasthan (location Setrawa), barely gets rain during the monsoon and Jodhpur is rather dry.
During the monsoon, it usually rains heavily for several hours every day. As a result, there are often floods in the streets of the cities, because the drains cannot absorb the amounts of water. An internship or volunteering is possible during the monsoon, and the only nuisance will probably be wet clothes and shoes, which are often difficult to dry because of the high humidity. You might want to carry a few extra shoes and a change of clothes with you (or buy them locally). You can even buy an umbrella or a raincoat locally. An advantage to traveling during the monsoon, is that the fares are cheaper and accommodation during the off season is cheaper.
Can I travel to India as a young woman alone? The media constantly reports of rape - how high is the risk?
For decades, India has been a safe country for women and now the impression, given by the media, is that the number of rapes has skyrocketed and India is unsafe for women. More cases are coming into light now, as women previously would not speak about rape, but are now empowered to do so. Compared to the number of cases in relation to the huge population of India (almost twice as many as the whole of Europe), even if projections of unreported cases are included, there is much less rape than in many other countries. There are 2 cases that happen per 100,000 inhabitants in India (in comparison: Central Europe: 8.1 cases; 14.7 cases in Latin America; 28.6 cases per 100,000 population in the US).
Of course you have to be careful as a woman, as far as the style of dressing and dealing with local men are concerned. In schools, boys and girls are often strictly separated and many young men have no experience in dealing with women who are not their own mother or sisters; your behavior, based on dealing with Western men, might be misinterpreted as “easy” or “loose” behaviour.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Cochin?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Cochin, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
In the tab "Accommodation", you see the housing options.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, the accommodations in Cochin provide wifi at no additional cost.
How can I do my laundry?
Watch our video about Cochin (in the tab "Cochin"). In it, our coordinator, Antonio shows us a laundry service, where the clothes are washed by hand. For a pre-decided price per garment (fixed price for trousers, tops, towels, underwear, etc.), your clothes will be collected from your accommodation and neatly ironed and returned the next day.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
Yes, you can cook at the shared accommodation.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, India is a paradise for vegetarians. Almost all restaurants are clearly marked, whether they are vegetarian ("Veg") or not ("Non-Veg"), and there are separate menus. About 40% of Indians are vegetarians.
What language skills do I need?
You should be able to understand and make yourself understood in English.

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