Had your fill of the foods of North India? Because now we are taking you on a yet another interesting culinary ride, but in South India. Thinking about dosas and idlis already? We also love these two foods of South India, but with so many spice plantations and tea/coffee plantations located in Munnar and Coorg, your are in for a great insight in the kitchens of every South Indian household.
Start your day with filter coffee because that heavenly aroma wafting through the air is guaranteed to wake you up for the rest of the day. There are various options when it comes to breakfasts in South India and we have curated a list that will definitely stir some interest (if you already weren’t) in you about the desserts and foods of South India. They have all the spices and the added dash of coconut to make your meals even more appetising.
Tempted enough? Let’s begin!
If dosa is your favourite choice of food from South India, you will definitely like this heavier and thicker version of it. Uttapam is a personal favourite because one uttapam topped with onion, tomato and literally anything else you want is enough to fill you up. The technique involved in cooking uttapam is to ensure that it is cooked properly. Add that simple yet extremely tantalising coconut chutney and sambar to your uttapam and you are ready for your dinner, lunch or breakfast. Seriously, you can have uttapam anytime of the day.
If North Indians have their samosa as their favoured evening time snack, South India has Maddur Vada. This popular tea time snack got its name from the place it originated and is a fritter type dish everyone can enjoy, either with your evening time tea or filter coffee. These crispy smaller flattened vadas, often made from urad dal might even become regular part of your evening conversations with your friends, family or colleagues.
Love the puran poli’s of Maharashtra? Obbatu or Holige, hailing from Andhra Pradesh will remind you of them, at least when it comes to their texture and look. However, these variations of the flatbread are made from jaggery/sugar, chana dal and white flour (maida). They are extremely sweet and perfect for taking a break from your regular meals. Have them with milk or ghee to enjoy their flavours.
If you thought that only North India had some stellar desserts, you definitely haven’t tried Karnataka’s Mysore Pak. A sweet too good to be missed, this one is made entirely out of besan (gram flour), ghee and sugar. A rectangular shaped delicacy, this one melts right in your mouth. We can bet that you won’t be able to have just one.
One of the most popular foods of South India, idlis are the fluffy, white and feathery light delicacy you will absolutely love if you are all about some light snacking. Again, have them with the classic coconut chutney, sambar and tamarind chutney as well. I always like to ask for extra spoon of the coconut chutney (I absolutely love it).
Puttu and Kadala Curry
If you always thought that upma was the breakfast recipe of South India, you have to try puttu with some kadala curry. Puttu are steamed rice cakes and extremely fluffy and light, if cooked perfectly. So the next time you want to have a South Indian breakfast, think beyond upmas.
Iddiyappam and mutton curry
Iddiyappam resemble idlis but only to the extent where both of them are round and white. Unlike idlis, these are made from rice noodles and can be your accompaniment to lick off your plates or bowls of mutton or chicken curry.
Kozhambu (fish recipe)
The mention of South India’s culinary foods is incomplete without a famous fish recipe. This is why you need to get your hands on Kozhambu. The trick to knowing the right kind of Kozhambu delicacy is by checking the tenderness of the fish. Kozhambu takes care of all this as it brings out the flavours of the fish curry without overpowering the tender fish pieces. Some places in South India use Chicken as the major ingredient.
South India’s answer to the street style chicken fry, Kozhi Porichattu is your go do dish on a cheat day. You cannot stop at one piece, we challenge you do that.
Your classic twist to Aloo Fry from North India, Urlai Roasts are the perfect appetizers you need to try on your next culinary tour in South India. The flavours of the potatoes are intact as this dish does not go overboard with the spices.
How is this dish different from any other chicken curry? Because it has South India’s favourite ingredient – coconut. Bursting with flavours of tomatoes, onions, cumin, curry leaves and more, chicken chettinad wins at being the best chicken dish from the South because it also has that tinge of coconut paste in it.
More like a soup and less like sambar, rasam is the perfect side dish you need after a heavy meal. Made with tamarind, tomatoes and the classic spices of South, this is not only delicious but healthy as well.
This one is a tempting breakfast cuisine, famous all over Tamil Nadu. Resembles upma but has a dash of different tangy flavours, milagu pongal could replace your conventional breakfast cuisines. Have it with your regular filter coffee and you are good to go.
Parotta with Beef Curry
Malayali parottas are South India’s answer to the butter naans sold all over North India. Made with maida, ghee and lots of love, parottas have been an integral part of my childhood days spent in Kochi. Whenever you don’t feel like cooking at home, order some parottas and beef curry and your dinner plans are sorted.
South Indians have their own version of the famous North Indian dessert kheer, known as Payasam. Cooked differently across different states of South India, this sweet dish is not only popular but also served as prasadam in many temples. You can have the classic vermicelli payasam cooked with milk, ghee, sugar and some dry fruits or change the main ingredient itself and go for a carrot payasam or one made from moong dal.
Instead of the regular milk, opt for coconut milk and you will see how it enhances the flavour of this revered and much-loved dish of South India.
Famous all over the world, Hyderabadi Biryani takes a lot of effort, patience and time to cook but that first morsel of the perfectly cooked rice grains with a tender chicken (or mutton pieces) makes you forget all about it. To die without trying the famed hyderabadi biryani will be sheer sin on your part so if you are still not on the bandwagon of Biryani lovers, you need to try it ASAP.
Love shrimps? If yes, you are in for a delightful treat in the form of royalla veppadu. Renowned for its authentic flavours and palette, this is a variation of the classic prawn fry bursting with spicy and tangy flavours. The USP of this dish is that it doesn’t go overboard with the frying technique giving you enough time to relish the flavours of the prawn itself.
One of the signature dishes of Andhra Cuisine, Kandhi Podi’s main element is the Podi or the spicy red grams available in the state. Mixed with split red grams and Bengal grams, this concoction can be stored in your house for months. And whenever you feel like having Kandhi Podi, just mix this amalgamation of grams and have it with rice and some desi ghee. It is how you kick start your day when gorging on Andhra cuisine.
No mention of Andhra cuisines is complete without the sumptuous Gongura Mamsam. One of the most popular dishes of Andhra Pradesh, this one is the most delectable burst of flavours as the main ingredients include gongura (sorrel) leaves with red chillies and of course, mutton or lamb. To add to its rich flavours and texture, coconut milk and potatoes are also added. Of course, you will have to decide for yourself how you will like your gongura mamsam.
You just cannot miss the decadent and sweet flavours of Pootharekulu. Made of thin white sheets and delicious stuffing, it looks and tastes tempting. Made in almost every South Indian household, Pootharekulu will be the perfect accompaniment after your main meals.
Hopefully, with this list of 20 cuisines of South India, your outlook on the culinary delights of South India will become less opaque. Not only loaded with flavours but when it comes to South Indian cuisines, there is no dearth of variety and healthy alternatives as well. Of course, with so much mutton, chicken and fish foods, you can load up on vitamins, calcium and protein as well.
Next up in our #100Foods of India series is the foods of West India. Yes, Goan cuisines and some delights from Maharashtra awaits you on your next culinary tour around a part of India. Stay tuned and until then, do try some of these sumptuous cuisines.