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Tamil Nadu Cuisine recipes


Last Updated : Jul 23,2018



Top Recipes of Tamil Nadu

There are some dishes like Idli, Dosa, Vada and Sambhar, which have become synonymous with Tamil Nadu’s cuisine, and every Tamilian is proud of these, but there is much more to the State’s food than just these.

Tamil Nadu’s cuisine is very vast – every region has its specialties. A seasoned palate can distinctly tell the difference between foods cooked in different zones of Tamil Nadu, like Tanjore, Chettinad or Tirunelveli! However, the general taste, the courses of a meal and the foods consumed all over the State are quite similar, but for the mild but characteristic variations.

Tamil cuisine, in general, is marked by the balanced but generous use of spices and dals. Coriander seeds, red chillies and chana dal are commonly used in most masalas, with some also including pepper, cumin, cinnamon and/or cloves. Other ingredients like coconut, ginger, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves are used in different combinations for different masalas.

Raw or boiled white rice is commonly used, as are urad and toor dals. Groundnut oil, coconut oil and sesame oil are the popular cooking oils in Tamil Nadu. Tamarind pulp is used to add a tongue-tickling but pleasant tang to most curries. Likewise, most recipes also use a tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in coconut or sesame oil to give a fresh burst of flavour and aroma to the dish. Sambhar Powder and Rasam Powder are the most common spice mixes, and most kitchens have a plentiful stock of these. Each family has its favourite recipe, with their preferred level of spiciness. Most people also keep a batch of Milagai Podi handy. This is a dry chutney powder that is mixed with sesame oil and served as an accompaniment to Idlis and Dosas. It is really useful on a busy day.

At breakfast time, the popular dishes are Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, Upma, Medhu Vada and Ven Pongal, served with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney. A ‘single vada’ is usually a fixed addition to the breakfast menu at most eateries and households. That is, at least one Medhu Vada is served along with breakfast whatever be the main dish! Medhu means soft, and that’s how the urad dal vada is supposed to be. A reddish golden brown, crisp outer layer gives way to a spongy, super-soft interior. The vada might be served plain or dunked in curd, Sambhar or Rasam. Of all the different options, the Idli, Vada, Sambhar and Chutney combo is inarguably the most popular all over Tamil Nadu.

Lunch on a regular day is a simple affair. Plain hot rice is served with one or two vegetable preparations like Cabbage Poriyal, Drumstick Leaves Dry Subzi, Avial or Pongal Kootu, along with a gravy-like dish such as Mor Kuzhambu or Sambhar with some vegetable in it (like Mullangi Sambhar), plus Rasam and Curd. Every household in Tamil Nadu has a ready stock of pickles, to enjoy with the curd rice. If lunch is had out of a dabba, people often opt for what is colloquially known as ‘mixed rice’ or ‘variety rice’. Tomato Rice, Tamarind Rice, Sambhar Rice, Curd Rice and Peanut Rice are some of the common options. On special days, vada, kheer and pachadi (raita) are also served with lunch. Paal Payasam is one of the most popular and tastiest of South Indian kheers, and is a must-try!

Evening tea-time is perhaps the most exciting! Even the small tea shops offer a range of snacks at that time. The snacks had with the evening tea or coffee is known as ‘tiffin’ in the South. Pakoras, Masala Vadas, Bhajiyas, Masala Dosa, etc. are enjoyed with a cup of hot South Indian Filter Coffee. With the crowd becoming more cosmopolitan in most cities, North Indian snacks like Samosas are also easily available. Bakeries are also teeming with youngsters and elders alike in the evening – coconut-stuffed buns, vegetable puffs, masaledar bread sandwiches, and soft white buns smeared with white butter and jam are hot sellers in the evening.

At night, people usually have some tiffin with curd rice. Idli, Dosa, Rava Upma, Masala Dosa, Uttapam like Tomato Uttapam, Adai with Avial, Puri with Potato Masala and Chapathi with South Indian Korma are popular dinner items. Usually people go for simple accompaniments like Coriander Chutney or Tomato Chutney at night, but if they are having guests then Sambhar or Gojju is a must.

If you are a food-lover, it will take you weeks to explore the food scene of Tamil Nadu, because there is immense variety. Moreover, every region has its specialty, such as the paniyaram of Chettinad, the filter coffee of Kumbakonam, the Kanchipuram Idli of Kanchipuram, the super spongy idlis of Madurai, the idiyappam or sevai of Coimbatore, and more and more…

To begin with, you can start experimenting with Tamil Nadu cuisine in your own kitchen with these mouth-watering and reliable recipes. Combine them aptly to make awesome meals. Each Sunday, you can pick a different Indian state and plan your meals using the delicacies from that region – your family and you will have lots of fun travelling down the foodie highway!

Other South Indian Sections you will enjoy.
South Indian Recipes
Andhra Cuisine
Karnataka Cuisine
Kerala Cuisine
South Indian Appe
South Indian Breakfast
South Indian Chutney
South Indian Curries / Subzis
South Indian Dosa
South Indian Idlis
South Indian Pachadi, Raita
South Indian Pickle
South Indian Podis
South Indian Rasam
South Indian Rice
South Indian Sambar
South Indian Snacks
South Indian Sweets
South Indian Uttapam
South Indian Vada


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Idli
Recipe# 1652
17 Aug 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Fluffy as cotton balls, white as the moon’ - every South Indian remembers those fond descriptions of Idli that mom used to convince them to eat breakfast when they were kids. Indeed, that is how the perfect Idli must be too. Grinding of batter and the pr ....
Ribbon Sev
Recipe# 41058
01 Sep 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Ribbon Sev, also known as Ribbon Pakoda, Ola Pakoda or Ottu Pakoda in South India is a broad, ribbon-shaped sev that is super crisp because of the perfect proportioning of rice flour, besan and butter. The dough for this deep-fried snack is flavoured aptly with chilli powder and asafoetida, which gi ....
Curd Rice, South Indian Curd Rice Recipe
Recipe# 32893
Yesterday

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
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, it is also a comforting one-d ....
Sambhar Rice, Sambar Sadam
Recipe# 42181
Yesterday

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
A traditional one-dish meal from the kitchens of Tamil Nadu, the Sambhar Rice is enjoyed so much by them that it is made on special occasions as well as lazy weekends! They need no reason or occasion to make Sambhar Rice – if they feel like it, ....
South Indian Peanut Rice, Verkadalai Sadam Recipe
Recipe# 42481
19 Apr 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Here’s a zesty rice preparation dominated by the crunch and nutty flavour of peanuts, highlighted by notes of red chilli. Though used in a small quantity, the warm aroma and flavour of sesame seeds is quite notable in the South Indian Peanut Rice. With a mix of awesome flavours, this rice dish i ....
Morkuzambu, South Indian Curd Curry
Recipe# 42447
19 Apr 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
An all-time favourite South Indian curd curry, the Morkuzhambu is marked by its mild tang, creamy mouth feel and rich taste. Nevertheless it is quite easy to make and uses common ingredients. It is basically whisked curd flavoured with a semi-spicy cocon ....
Mullangi Sambar, South Indian Radish Sambhar
Recipe# 42456
Yesterday

 
 by Tarla Dalal
The Mullangi Sambhar is an all-time favourite of the South Indians, especially those in Tamil Nadu where it is made very often. Being simple and easy, it is an everyday fare. The strong flavour and aroma of radish together with the spiciness of the sambhar masala make this a mouth-watering treat ....
Pongal Kootu, South Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry
Recipe# 42312
Yesterday

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Pongal Kootu is a tongue-tickling mixed vegetable curry made during Makar Sankaranthi or Pongal in South India. It is made with local vegetables that are in season at the cusp of winter and spring. This curry brings togethe ....
Medu Vada,  South Indian Snack
Recipe# 40192
19 Apr 18

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Most South Indians consider breakfast incomplete without Medu Vada. Whether they have idli , dosa , pongal or upma< ....
Milagai Podi, Malgapodi Powder, South Indian Gun Powder Recipe
Recipe# 41383
19 Apr 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Milagai Podi is also fondly called ‘gun powder’, which makes it obvious just how fiery it tastes! The spiciness of red chillies combined with the aroma and rich taste of roasted dals and asafoetida makes this South Indian spice powder a really tongue ticklin ....
Kai Murukku, South Indian Handmade Chakli
Recipe# 42235
01 Sep 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Kai Murukku is one of the most famous South Indian jar snacks, and is like an endorsement of one’s cooking skills! Made with a dough of rice and urad, this chakli like snack is shaped entirely by hand, which requires a bit of practice to master. However, it is completely worth the effort because ....
Tomato Upma, South Indian Tomato Upma
Recipe# 41543
19 Apr 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
This is a quick and easy breakfast , with an appetizing aroma and the tangy flavour of tomatoes. The Tomato Upma is made with everyday ingredients and is absolutely no-fuss. Yet, it tastes so awesome because of the traditional tempering and th ....
Butter Murruku Recipe, South Indian Jar Snack
Recipe# 42068
19 Apr 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Our Indian cuisine abounds with varieties of jar snacks , which add sparkle to a cup of tea or coffee! One such gem from the South Indian repertoire is Butter Mu ....
Drumstick Leaves Dry Sabji, South Indian Style Subzi
Recipe# 42054
19 Apr 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
This South Indian style subzi will enable you to appreciate the naturally interesting taste of drumstick leaves, because it does not use heavy masalas. Just a traditional tempering and a mixture of coconut and minimal spices is enough to accentuate the t ....
Onion Tomato Uttapam, Tomato Onion Uttapa
Recipe# 40921
19 Apr 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Onion Tomato Uttapam is a sumptuous South Indian snack, often had for breakfast or dinner. It is basically a thick pancake, made with dosa batter and topped with juicy onions and tangy tom ....
Avial, South Indian Curry
Recipe# 22366
19 Apr 18

 
 
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 re ....
Tomato Chutney, South Indian Tomato Onion Chutney Recipe
Recipe# 32832
19 Apr 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Like most South Indian recipes, this is a hot and spicy tomato and onion chutney. Perk up your meal with this chutney. Purée this to make a smooth chutney and enjoy the contrasting flavours.
Appam ( How To Make Appam )
Recipe# 32844
19 Apr 18

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Appam is a famous dish from the keralite repertoire of south indian cooking. This recipe is an easy-to-make, instant version of the otherwise tough-to-make dish. Since yeast is used, the batter need not be fermented for long unlike the traditional version. Serve appam with slightly-sweetened coconut ....
Adai Recipe, Adai Dosa, Breakfast
Recipe# 534
Yesterday

  This recipe has an associated video
 
by Tarla Dalal
Adai is a crisp, golden dosa made using a batter of rice and mixed dals. It has the rich aroma of coconut oil and roasted dals, and a very rustic flavour as well. It is more satiating than regular dosas and makes a great Breakfast . Adai can be enhanced ....
Tamarind Rice
Recipe# 4757
Yesterday

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Called Puliyodare in Tamil, this is an Iyengar cuisine classic. A heart-warming dish that uses tamarind to create a magical flavor. The South Indian style tadka adds both flavor as well as appeal, making this a great lunch/dinner recipe. Enjaaai!
Masala Vadas, South Indian Masala Vadas, Vadai Recipe
Recipe# 2424
19 Apr 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Come to South India, especially Tamil Nadu, and you cannot miss the appetizing aroma of Masala Vadas being fried at tea stalls in almost every street corner! Masala Vada is an all-time favourite evening snack across Tamil Nadu. It is enjoyed hot with coconut chutney and a cup of
Paal Payasam, South Indian Rice Kheer
Recipe# 32884
19 Apr 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Paal Payasam is a must-serve item during south Indian festivals, weddings and other auspicious occasions. Made of rice cooked in full-fat milk and sweetened with sugar, this kheer has a very rich flavour and creamy texture, which are boosted further by spices like cardamom and saffron. This South In ....
South Indian Filter Coffee, Filter Coffee Recipe
Recipe# 40622
19 Apr 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
South Indian Filter Coffee, with its stimulating aroma, is like an alarm clock that can wake you up even when you are dog-tired! An everyday beverage in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Filter Coffee has now become popular throughout the country. Filter Coffee is made using a special utensil that has two p ....
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