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 The Traditional Way Of Serving a South Indian Meal

  Last Updated : Oct 26,2018

The Traditional Way Of Serving A South Indian Meal

The holistic South Indian meal experience is not just about cooking and eating – because, one of the salient features of South Indian cuisine is the importance paid to an intermediary step, namely, serving… with love and care. In fact, if you pre-serve all the dishes of a South Indian meal on a plate and place it in front of an orthodox South Indian, he or she will feel very offended and ask if you are serving them a ‘railway meal’!

Food is an important part of South Indian culture and there are guidelines for every aspect of it – right up to how the food should be served and of course, the unsaid rules about how the served food is to be consumed. It is good to follow these guidelines because they ensure that you reap every drop of the satisfaction that comes out of cooking a good meal and watching loved ones savour it!

A traditional South Indian meal is typically served on a freshly plucked banana leaf or “vazha ilai”. The sappad or food that is served on a banana leaf (even the size of the leaf varies from one community to another) is displayed like an identity card. One look and a guest will know the community, the status, the exact wealth of the family, and from where they originate. Normally, the required size of the leaf starting from the tapering (narrow) end of the leaf is cut, washed and used for lunch. (The rest of the leaf may be cut into required sizes and used for “tiffin” or other lighter meals, but normally, a leaf without the tapering end is not used for serving the main meal, especially during auspicious occasions.) The leaf is placed before the diner such that the tapering end of the leaf is on the left hand side.

First, a drop of the payasam is placed on the right side of the leaf (when seen from the diner’s side). Thereafter, the food is served on the leaf starting from the pacchadi (raita) Doodhi Pachadi which is served on the top right corner. This is followed by the curries Avial and then the pickles Ginger Pachdi, along the top of the leaf. On the left hand side, one has the heavier accessories like vada Dal Vada, sweets Pineapple Sheera, mixed rice ( Lemon Rice, Coconut Rice etc.) etc. Then, the main course begins with the serving of dal Kerala Parippu, rice and ghee, with Sambhar and Rasam. And then, the payasam Moong Dal Payasam is served in a cup made of dried banana leaves or on the main leaf itself, followed by Curd Rice and buttermilk.

After finishing the meal, relatives and friends normally gather outside the dining hall or in the front yard, and chat over a slight digestion-aiding snack of bananas and betel leaves and nuts.

Well, you guessed it right… who can resist a refreshing siesta after such a heavy meal!

the traditional way of serving a south indian meal

 by Tarla Dalal
doodhi pachadi recipe | healthy bottle gourd pachadi | South Indian style doodhi pachadi | with 16 amazing images. doodhi pachadi recipe is made with cooling bottle gourd and curds, perked up with myriad chat-pata ingredients like ginger, green chillies and onions too. A traditional, aromatic tempering offers the perfect finishing touch to this creative South Indian style doodhi pachadi, making it a true tongue-tickler. Pachadis are the South Indian equivalent of raita, and commonly there are two types of this accompaniment. The ones made with tamarind as the base are usually spicy, while the ones made with curds as the base are are normally bland. Lets see why this is a healthy bottle gourd pachadi? We have 2 key ingredients, doodhi and coconut oil. Doodhi is highly suitable for those with high BP. It helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and regulate high blood pressure and ensures a proper blood flow to heart. The MCT in Coconut oil reduces the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) while increasing the count of HDL cholesterol, maintaining normal blood pressure and good for diabetics. Pachadi is a quintessential accompaniment for any Indian meal. It adds a refreshing note, making the heaviest of meals seem light and digestible. Simply put, raita means veggies and/or fruits in curd. South Indians temper the raita with mustard and red chillies, while in the North it is served with a sprinkling of spice powders. Serve doodhi pachadi fresh, before it becomes watery, with a full-fledged South Indian meal, or as a simple Accompaniments to Parathas or mixed rice dishes like Coconut Rice or Tomato Rice. Learn to make doodhi pachadi recipe | healthy bottle gourd pachadi | South Indian style doodhi pachadi | with detailed step by step photos.
 by Tarla Dalal
This mouth-watering South Indian curry is nothing short of a delicacy with its unusual combination of veggies, flavoured aesthetically with a mildly-spiced coconut paste. Do not chop the veggies too finely when making Avial, because the veggies should retain their shape and vibrant colour after cooking. This makes the Avial look very appetizing! Pleasing to the palate, with the mellow flavour of coconut and fresh curds, Avial can be enjoyed with Jowar Pyaz ki Roti instead of the plain wheat flour rotis .
Ginger Pachdi is an appetizing South Indian accompaniment that combines the pungency of ginger with the tanginess of tamarind and the rustic sweetness of jaggery. Being sweet, sour and spicy, this chutney-like accompaniment is sure to make you eat an idli or dosa more than you usually do! Once the chutney is cooked, pour the tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies over it. Do not add it earlier while cooking, because adding it in the end retains the crispness of the mustard seeds and curry leaves, improving the mouth-feel and aroma of the Ginger Pachdi. You can make a batch of this chutney and keep it for 4-5 days. You might also like to try other South Indian accompaniments like Mysore Chutney and Malgapodi .
dal vada recipe | chana dal vada | South Indian dal vada | paruppu vadai | with 25 amazing images You will love the exciting crispness of these delectable dal vadas. Made with a coarse paste of soaked chana dal perked up with onions, ginger paste and the whole traditional team of flavour enhancers and deep fried, these South Indian dal vadas have a unique, rustic texture and warm, hearty flavour that will strike a chord with most people. I would like to share some important tips to make chana dal vada. 1. Blend the chana dal to a coarse mixture without using any water. If required, once in between you can scrape the sides of the mixer jar and grind the mixture again. Try not to add water, as you will face difficulty in shaping the dal vada at a later stage. But if it is getting too problematic to grind, then add 1-2 tbsp of water. 2. Mix everything well and our paruppu vadai mixture is ready. Mixture should not be very moist or dry. If the mixture is too crumbly or too pasty then it would be difficult to make vadas from this mixture. If the mixture has turned crumbly, then grind it once again and if the mixture has turned pasty then add 1-2 tbsp of rice flour or besan to bind together all the ingredients. At this stage, you can taste the mixture and make the necessary changes in the flavour as per your liking. 3. Take care to deep-fry these South Indian dal vadas on a medium flame. Otherwise, they will quickly turn brown outside before they get cooked inside. These deep fried dal vadas are sure to satiate you in a tasteful way, have them for Evening Tea Snacks accompained with Green Chutney or Tomato Coconut Chutney. Enjoy dal vada recipe | chana dal vada | South Indian dal vada | paruppu vadai | with step by step photos below.
pineapple sheera recipe | pineapple kesari | Indian style pineapple halwa | rava kesari | with 18 amazing images. pineapple sheera recipe | pineapple kesari | Indian style pineapple halwa | rava kesari is a quick Indian dessert. Learn how to make pineapple kesari. To make pineapple sheera, heat the ghee in a broad non-stick pan, the semolina, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes or till the semolina leaves the aroma, while stirring continuously. Add the pineapple purée and 1 cup of water, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. Add the sugar, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. Serve warm garnished with almond slivers. There are many reasons people steer away from making sweets at home, the top two being the time taken to make these sweets and the risk of not getting it right! Pineapple kesari is a tongue-tickling dessert that overrides both fears. This exciting rava kesari sends your taste buds into a tizzy with its tangy flavour and rich consistency, while still being very easy to prepare and ready to be served within minutes! You are sure to find this Indian style pineapple halwa at most Udipi joints and authentic South Indian restaurants. In fact, you will be surprised to know that this sheera is famous on the streets of Mumbai too. Tips to make pineapple sheera. 1. Make sure the pineapple you use is fresh and not the canned one. 2. When you blend in a mixer use it immediately. 3. Sugar will depend on the sourness of the pineapple so adjust accordingly. 4. You can add saffron strands dissolved in water when you add the water. Enjoy pineapple sheera recipe | pineapple kesari | Indian style pineapple halwa | rava kesari | with step by step photos.
 by Tarla Dalal
lemon rice recipe | South Indian lemon rice | chitranna rice | with 22 amazing images. lemon rice recipe is a popular South Indian rice. lemon rice has a nice sour lemon taste. This is a easy and quick lemon rice recipe made with basic ingredients like lemon juice, boiled rice and Indian spices. Popular South Indian breakfast often is lemon rice also called chitranna rice often made with leftover rice. Rice is the much-loved staple food of South Indians. The day begins and ends with steaming hot rice, which is enjoyed in different ways. In a traditional meal, the rice is relished with soupy rasam or spicy sambhar. Or, the rice is mixed with tempering and flavouring ingredients to make delectable preparations like Tamarind Rice Peanut Rice or Lemon Rice. Such one-dish rice meals like lemon rice are called as variety rice, mixed rice or rice bhaat in South India. They make a convenient meal on a busy day, and are just perfect to carry in the lunch dabba as they taste awesome even after a couple of hours. Notes and tips on making lemon rice recipe. 1. Washing helps in removing excess starch from the rice which eventually results into non-sticky grains. Most commonly short-grained rice are used to make South Indian lemon rice but, you can make use of any variety of rice. We suggest not to use Basmati rice. 2. Mix gently and cook on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. 3. In fact, best results are achieved by using leftover rice as they barely have any moisture. To make South Indian lemon rice healthier, replace cooked rice with brown rice. See our healthy South Indian lemon rice recipe for details. If you want to make chitranna rice in a microwave, then see our how to make lemon rice in a microwave. Here is an authentic recipe for lemon rice, a traditional rice dish with a refreshing citrusy flavour. It is also made as part of the many-course traditional South Indian meal. Check out our article on how to serve a traditional South Indian meal. Enjoy how to make lemon rice recipe | South Indian lemon rice | chitranna rice | with detailed step by step photos and video.
Simple yet rich, the Kerala Parippu is something beyond explanation – an experience to be savoured. This authentic Kerala dal recipe uses common, everyday ingredients, yet it is addictively tasty when had with freshly steamed rice ! Cooked moong dal is flavoured with a paste of coconut and onions, and a traditional tempering made in coconut oil. This gives the Kerala Parippu an energetic flavour and enticing aroma. Nonetheless it is very easy to make, and can easily be included in your everyday cooking plans. You can also try making the Kadala Curry and Bhindi Onion Stir-Fry .
 by Tarla Dalal
sambar recipe | sambar for idlis | South Indian sambar for dosas | easy homemade sambar recipe | with 30 amazing images. sambar is a hearty South Indian lentil stew simmered with vegetables, tamarind, and a unique spice blend called sambar masala. This fragrant, flavorful dish offers a symphony of textures with soft lentils, crisp vegetables, and a tangy-sweet sauce. It's a comfort food enjoyed at any time of day, often served with rice or soaked-up with fluffy appams. Like idlis and dosas, sambar is also an all-time favourite that is almost synonymous with South Indian food! From the smallest roadside hotel to the classiest Indian restaurants around the globe, ‘idli, Vada, Sambar’ is a very popular breakfast combo! So, here is how to make the perfect sambhar to match the perfect Idlis / Dosas / Appe. Loaded with vegetables and dal, this flavourful side-dish is very sumptuous and tasty, leaving no doubt about why it is so popular. You can relish it not just with the innumerable South Indian snacks and Breakfast dishes, but also with a plain bowl of hot rice topped with a dollop of ghee or laced with til oil. The best part about sambar is that, while it tastes best when hot, it is quite enjoyable even after a few hours, so it can be carried to work, or prepared in advance on a busy day. Main ingredients for sambar. toovar (arhar) dal, also known as split pigeon peas or arhar dal, is the traditional and most common lentil used in making sambar. Toor dal has a mild, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor that blends well with the complex flavors of spices and other ingredients in sambar. Sambar masala is the heart and soul of sambar, a South Indian lentil stew. This aromatic spice blend forms the flavor foundation of the dish, combining coriander seeds, cumin, fenugreek, chilies, and sometimes other spices, like black peppercorns and turmeric. It adds depth and complexity, balancing earthy lentils with the sourness of tamarind and sweetness of vegetables, while its enticing aroma whets the appetite and adds a touch of vibrant color to the stew. Pro tips for sambar. 1. Add 1 cup red pumpkin (bhopla / kaddu) cubes. red pumpkin offers a gentle sweetness that complements the savory and spicy flavors of sambar. Red pumpkin readily absorbs the flavors of the spices and herbs used in sambar, contributing to the overall flavor profile. 2. Add 1/2 cup potato cubes. When cooked, potatoes contribute to the overall creaminess and richness of the sambar, especially when they are partially mashed or left to soften in the gravy. Potatoes add a mild, natural sweetness that balances the tanginess of tamarind or tomatoes often used in sambar. 3. Add 1/2 cup drumstick pieces (each cut into 2"). Drumsticks have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that complements the other spices and vegetables in sambar without overpowering them. Drumsticks are a common and well-liked vegetable in many parts of India, including South India where sambar originates. Using them in sambar reflects the regional cuisine and preferences. Enjoy sambar recipe | sambar for idlis | South Indian sambar for dosas | easy homemade sambar recipe | with step by step photos.
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rasam recipe | South Indian rasam | restaurant style rasam | how to make rasam with rasam powder | South Indian rasam is the basic recipe cooked in every household of the South virtually everyday! Learn how to make rasam with rasam powder. There is no place like home, and nothing as soothing as homemade food! In short, a South Indian would say, “Ah, Rasam!” The homeliest of South Indian recipes, rasam with rasam powder is a thin lentil soup perked up with tamarind pulp and chopped tomatoes, a traditional rasam powder, and a simple seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves. To make rasam, first make the rasam powder. Combine the coriander seeds, Kashmiri chillies, back peppercorn, toovar dal, chana dal and a pinch of cumin seeds and sauté on a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, blend in a mixer to a smooth powder. Keep aside. Then pressure cook toovar dal with enough water and blend it with a hand blender. Add the prepared rasam powder into it, mix well and keep aside.Combine the tomatoes, tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt and 3 cups of water, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add the prepared dal-rasam powder mixture, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Keep aside. Make a tempering of hot oil and mustard seeds and curry leaves and add it to the rasam and cook for 1 minute. Add coriander and mix well and serve. The aroma of fresh roasted spices that surges out the pot as soon as the seasoning is added, is enough to draw everybody to the table. The touch of tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves in ghee towards the end of cooking is the final flavourful touch to this sumptuous fare. Enjoy restaurant style rasam like a soup or have it with Medu Vada, Idli or Rice. So brilliant is its tangy-spicy flavour, strong enough to shake out a bad cold, yet soothing enough to warm your heart, that rasam has become famous in Indian restaurants across the world as a soup! Tips for rasam. 1. We recommend you use measuring spoons for each ingredient of rasam powder and master making this famous South Indian spice blend. 2. To make tamarind pulp at home, soak the tamarind pods in just enough warm water for about 15-20 minutes or till they turn soft. Mash using your hands and roughly strain the pulp (you can do it with your hands itself) and discard the hard black coloured seeds as well as the fibrous parts. The soft pulp you have strained out is tamarind pulp. Enjoy rasam recipe | South Indian rasam | restaurant style rasam | how to make rasam with rasam powder | with recipe below.
South Indian festival menus are just not complete without Moong Dal Payasam. Considered as one of the most auspicious offerings to God, it is made during most pujas, and is served as the first item on the plantain leaf during a traditional meal. Moong Dal (Pasi Paruppu) Payasam is made by sweetening moong dal mash with jaggery. The mixture is thinned with coconut milk and flavoured with cardamom and other spices. Dry roasting the dal before cooking gives a rich aroma to the payasam, while coconut milk gives it a pleasant flavour. Enjoy this payasam warm. You can also try other payasams like Paal Payasam , Almond Payasam , Semiyan Payasam and Carrot and Cashewnut Payasam .
curd rice recipe | South Indian curd rice | dahi chawal | thayir sadam | with 20 amazing images. Just like khichdi is to Gujarati, rajma chawal is to Punjabi, the curd rice is to South-Indians. Curd rice is also known as thayir saddam, dahi chawal and daddojanam. A very simple dish made using the most basic ingredients, curd and rice with an authentic South-Indian tempering does not take more than 15 minutes to cook. In South India, the Kheer and mithai are served at the start of a meal. It is the Curd Rice that comes at the end, as a flavourful and soothing finish to a traditional spread. At the same time, South Indian curd rice is also a comforting one-dish meal that is satiating and refreshing, with its cool flavour and homely aroma. Many people consider South Indian curd rice to be the best dish to carry along to school, work or travel. To make Curd Rice, South Indian Curd Rice Recipe, Dahi Chawal, combine the cooked rice and 2 tbsp of water in a deep bowl and mash it lightly using a potato masher. Add the curds and salt, mix well and keep aside. Heat the oil in a small broad non-stick pan add the mustard seeds and urad dal and sauté on a medium flame for 30 seconds. Add green chillies and curry leaves. Add the tempering to the prepared curd-rice mixture and mix well. Add the coriander and mix well. Serve the curd rice immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour and serve chilled. If you have leftover rice, its a bingo as this recipe would be made in a jiffy. Easy to make, this wholesome thayir sadam is made by mixing rice with curds and tempering it with mustard and green chillies. Allow the rice to cool slightly before adding the curds, to avoid the curds from splitting. Plain dahi chawal can be had accompanied with Lemon Pickle or Mango Pickle. Curd rice is had for lunch by South Indians. Enjoy curd rice recipe | South Indian curd rice | dahi chawal | thayir sadam | with detailed step by step photos and video below.
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