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South Indian recipes


Last Updated : Nov 23,2018



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South Indian Recipes

South Indian Cuisine – Awesome, Awe-Inspiring Variety

An acquaintance had this irksome habit of referring to all South Indians as “Madrasis”. And one fine day she stopped saying so. In an attempt to quell my curiosity I asked – and got to know that after a tour of South India she realised there is so much diversity down South that it is just not fair to generalise – the best example being South Indian cuisine. South Indian cuisine and food habits are so varied that it is common for a person to feel lost in the menu of a neighbouring state. Say, when a person from Tamil Nadu attends a wedding in Andhra Pradesh, it is a common trick to keep an eye on the next person’s plate or banana leaf, to figure out what order and in what combinations the food is to be consumed!
 

Tiffin - Much more than idlis and dosas

Idli
Idli

When one mentions South Indian food, idli, dosa and vada are the first dishes that come to one’s mind – and it’s fair enough because these dishes are popular in all the South Indian states. It is a daring risk to venture into the question of which state they originated in – so we will not touch upon that, but the fact remains that these are much-loved foods all over South India. Served with the quintessential Sambhar and Chutney, this “tiffin” platter is enjoyed any time of the day – for breakfast, evening snacks or dinner.

Pongal Kootu
Pongal Kootu

A word that the British introduced us to, tiffin refers to snacks that are neither too light nor too heavy, and can be relished at any time of the day! When it comes to tiffin, there is a lot of similarity amongst the South Indian states, and we find many common favourites like idli, dosa, vada, uttapam, upma and pongal. Apart from these, each state has its unique offerings too – like the paniyaram and adai of Tamil Nadu, the aapam, puttu, avial and kadala curry of Kerala, neer dosa, kadubu, benne dosa and rava idli of Karnataka and pesarattu of Andhra. Apart from Sambhar, tiffin is usually served with chutneys like coconut chutney, coriander chutney, tomato chutney, etc., or dry chutney powders like the idli milagai podi or curry leaves powder.
 

Lunch – rice is special for South Indians

Curd RiceCurd Rice

Rice holds a special position in the South Indian kitchen. More than a mere ingredient, rice or annam is given a divine connotation and treated with respect. In all South Indian states, rice is the staple grain served during lunch time. Some prefer to use raw rice, while others opt for parboiled or boiled varieties. Rice lovers that they are, South Indians can often tell the difference between rice grown in various regions and different river beds! At lunch time, the rice is freshly steamed and served hot with a spread of dal-based curries and vegetables. There is a lot of difference in the items served during lunch time, and the order in which they are served.
 

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

PesarattuPesarattu

Lunch is dominated by rice, which is served with dollops of ghee and a range of curries and dals. Depending on whether it’s a normal day or a special occasion, the number of items served may vary. When you see the word ‘pappu’ in a dish’s name, you can understand that it comprises dal. It may be plain or combined with veggies. Usually, a meal begins with rice mixed with pappu and enjoyed with a spicy oorgaya (pickle). Other main course dishes are koora (dry or semi-dry subzi), pulusu (sour and tangy gravy made of tamarind, tomatoes, sour curd or raw mangoes), pachadi (a spicy and saucy accompaniment), charu or rasam (a thin, soupy dish that is mixed with rice), curds, and so on. Pulihore, a peppy rice preparation with tamarind and spices, is much-loved by the Telugu folks and everyone who tastes it!
 

Karnataka

Tomato GojjuTomato Gojju

A regular meal consists of vegetable preparations, a dal based preparation like sambhar, and saaru or rasam, ending with majjige (buttermilk). Kannadigas also love gojju, a featuring a unique blend of sweet, spicy and tangy notes. There are also one-dish meals like the Bisi Bele Bath, a hot and spicy rice preparation, made of rice, dal and veggies flavoured with a special masala and tamarind pulp. Karnataka within itself has several sub-cuisines like Udupi, Mangalore and Mysore, and a discerning diner can easily tell the difference between these.
 

South Inidan Recipes, Kerala

Quick IdiyappamQuick Idiyappam

Don’t be fooled by the simple food that the Keralites have on a normal day – visit them on a festive occasion to experience the mind-boggling variety of the state’s cuisine. Kerala food is rich in all things coconuty! From coconut milk to grated coconut and coconut-based spice pastes, it is used in every possible form to make vegetable and curd-based curries. Yellow banana and jackfruit are also used abundantly in the region to make crispies, curries and desserts.
 

South Inidan Recipes, Tamil Nadu

More KuzhambuMore Kuzhambu

Different regions of Tamil Nadu have different styles of cooking, the popular strains being Tanjore, Tirunelveli, North Arcot and Chettinad. However, a three-course lunch broadly consists of rice served with sambhar and/ or mor kuzhambu, then rasam and finally curd, accompanied by a range of vegetable dishes. 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.
 

Sweets and savouries for South Indians

Ela Ada Recipe
Ela Ada Recipe

Like the rest of the country, South India also loves sweets and snacks! From the Ela Ada and Unni Appam of Kerala to the Kajjikaylu of Andhra Pradesh, the Jangiri and Chakkarai Pongal of Tamil Nadu, and the Obbuttu and Mysore Pak of Karnataka, each sweet delight has a culinary anecdote to tell with distinct flavours, native ingredients and exclusive cooking techniques.

Mysore Bonda
Mysore Bonda

Snacks are also an integral part of the South Indian food scene – they are enjoyed at practically any time of the day but mostly in the evening with a cup of hot coffee or tea. It is amazing how they never tire of having a steaming hot cuppa however sweltering the weather might be! But then, nothing can complement a Masala Vada, Mysore Bonda or Plantain Bajji as well as a cup of South Indian filter coffee or Chukku Kaapi (a tea of dried ginger and spices). Keralites enjoy snacking on steamed yellow bananas and Kattan Chaai (black tea).

Every kitchen in South India is also well-stocked with pickles, dry chutney powders, vadams and papads (that can be roasted or deep-fried), which are served in perfect combos to make a simple meal seem like a special treat!
 

The magic of the tempering

Homemade Rasam PowderHomemade Rasam Powder

If you are going to experiment with South Indian cooking, your kitchen needs to be stocked with rice, tamarind (or kokum), sambhar powder and rasam powder, ghee and cooking oils like groundnut, coconut or sesame oils. More importantly, you need to get your masala box or ‘anjarai petti’ (literally five-compartment box, although the modern ones have seven) equipped with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, red chillies, broken urad dal and chana dal, as these are frequently used in South Indian cooking. These ingredients in different combinations are used to make masalas for South Indian curries. Sometimes, they are ground raw, while sometimes they are roasted and ground. The method and proportions give each dish a distinctly different flavour even when the same ingredients are used. That said, the final master stroke in most South Indian dishes is the zesty tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves, which gives the food a trademark South Indian seal!
 

More food stories to tell from each nook and corner

Each nook and corner of Tamil Nadu has a different food story to tell, and we realise now that it’s a mistake to try and cover it all in one article, so we urge you to read more about each of these cuisines (Andhra and Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka) and recreate the magic in your own kitchen using our authentic recipes. In India there is so much variety in each cuisine that it is difficult for an individual to entirely master their own cuisine. Just when you think you know all your native foods, someone busts the misconception and widens your horizon by sharing yet another treasure! While we focus on our own cuisines, we should also try and set aside at least a day every week to try the culinary gems from other Indian regions, so that we grow to appreciate the unity in diversity.

Try Our Other South Indian Recipes…

30+Karnataka Cuisine
15+Kerala Cuisine
20+Tamil Nadu Cuisine
10+South Indian Appe
125+South Indian Breakfast
45+South Indian Chutney
175+South Indian Curries / Subzis
125+South Indian Dosa
125+South Indian Idlis
10+South Indian Pachadi, Raita
5 South Indian Pickle
10+South Indian Podis
55+South Indian Rasam
50+South Indian Sambar
45+South Indian Snacks
90+South Indian Sweets
15 South Indian Uttapam
35+South Indian Vada


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Curd Upma, Breakfast Recipe
Recipe# 42195
12 Dec 18

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Upma made with semolina is one of the most famous breakfast dishes in India. We have tweaked the traditional recipe slightly, by cooking the roasted rava in a mixture of curds and water instead of just water. This gives a nice consistency and pleasant, rustic tang to the upma. This, in fact, use ....
Avial, South Indian Curry
Recipe# 22366
11 Dec 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 ....
4 Flour Dosa
Recipe# 40159
11 Dec 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
A unique dosa that is made with a fermented batter of soaked and ground urad combined with the right proportions of four readymade flours, the 4 Flour Dosa is super tasty and notably satiating! Rather than using high glycemic index rice, this sumptuous pancake is made with fibre-rich flours li ....
Buckwheat Dosa
Recipe# 36424
Today

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Um, you feel like having dosa today but no fermented batter on hand? Not to worry! Here is an easy and instant dosa prepared with buckwheat and urad dal. The twist here is that the ingredients are powdered, tempered and then mixed into a batter, which can be cooked immediately into yummy dosas. Serv ....
Dal Vada, South Indian Chana Dal Vada, Masala Vada
Recipe# 40197
30 Oct 15

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
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, these vadas have a unique, rustic texture and warm, hearty flavour that will strike a chord with m ....
Adai Recipe, Adai Dosa, Breakfast
Recipe# 534
15 Nov 18

  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 ....
Medu Vada,  South Indian Snack
Recipe# 40192
07 Jul 15

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Most South Indians consider breakfast incomplete without Medu Vada. Whether they have idli , dosa , pongal or upma< ....
Kanchipuram Idli
Recipe# 1702
15 Oct 15

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Kanchipuram is famous for more than silk sarees! In fact, this special savoury idli got its name from that small town in Tamil Nadu. It is offered at the Sri Varadharaja Swamy Temple, and food-lovers are generally prepared to even withstand the hardships of a long queue to buy the prasad of tast ....
Milagai Podi, Malgapodi Powder, South Indian Gun Powder Recipe
Recipe# 41383
31 Oct 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 ....
Dosa (  South Indian Recipe)
Recipe# 32927
30 Oct 18

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Dosa is as popular in South Indian cuisine as Idli is! Crisp and thin pancakes made of a rice and urad dal batter, dosas are even more exciting than idlis. In fact, while idlis are considered to be an easy, comfortable steamed food, ....
Rava Dosa, Onion Rava Dosa
Recipe# 169
15 Oct 15

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Rava dosa is a delectably crispy dosa that can be prepared instantly, without the need for any fermentation. A traditional tempering and quick mix-in of chopped onions, coriander and green chillies add excellent flavour to a batter made of ready flours and semolina. This dosa is indeed a ....
Idli ( How To Make Idli )
Recipe# 32833
05 Apr 18

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
South indian cuisine is almost synonymous with idli! idli is not only easy to make but also extremely healthy and easy to digest. In fact, when stranded on a highway with nothing to eat, people wouldn’t hesitate to walk into a roadside hotel and buy a few idlis, as it is steamed, and therefore quite ....
Kala Chana Sundal, Sundal Recipe
Recipe# 32816
16 May 11

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
This is how South Indian love to have their chana, and it’s so tasty that everybody will enjoy it, without a doubt! Cooked kala chana is tempered with mustard, urad dal and other traditional ingredients, and garnished with fresh and juicy grated coconu ....
Masala Vadas, South Indian Masala Vadas, Vadai Recipe
Recipe# 2424
11 Oct 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
Coconut Chutney  ( Idlis and Dosas)
Recipe# 1653
05 Dec 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
The Coconut Chutney has a well-rounded flavour that goes well with most variants of Idlis , Dosas , Appe , be it plain, veggie-topped, or more exotic options like Rava Idli or
Chutney Podi ( Thengai)
Recipe# 32874
07 Apr 18

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
This flavourful Chutney Podi is sure to make you gobble up an extra idli or two! Mixed with til oil, this Chutney Podi makes an exciting accompaniment to hot idlis and dosas. When packing idlis in the lunch box or for a journey, you can coat them with a mixture of Chutney Podi and til oil to make su ....
Lemon Pickle
Recipe# 32881
01 Oct 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
Oh, how versatile the humble lemon is, lending itself as beautifully to pickling candying, seasoning as to a variety of other uses. Interestingly, most restaurants down South serve Lemon Pickle along with the 'meals', as the lemon is easy to procure and pickle, as well as liked by almost everybo ....
Coconut and Rava Ladoo  ( Laddu)
Recipe# 36287
30 Oct 15

  This recipe has an associated video
 
by Tarla Dalal
With the chewy texture of coconut, the rich flavour of roasted rava, the crunch of nuts and dried fruits, and the intense aroma of spices, this Coconut and Rava Ladoo is a mouthful of delight that nobody can resist! Although the procedure is a little long, requiring a spot of cooking and a per ....
Poha Yellow Moong Dal Dosa
Recipe# 42455
17 Sep 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 
by Tarla Dalal
Just like rotis made of different flours have different flavours, dosas made of varied batters also have varied flavours. Not only the taste but the aroma and texture of the dosa also varies according to the ingredients used in the batter. Some batters need to be fermented while some do not. The ....
Tomato Coconut Chutney
Recipe# 3409
10 Sep 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Easy and quick to prepare. Almost all South Indian snacks are served with a variety of chutneys on the side. This is a popular dosai chutney served in Tamil Nadu. This cooked chutney stays well for upto 2 days in an air-tight container in the fridge, b ....
Cabbage Foogath
Recipe# 32849
07 Sep 18

 
 by Tarla Dalal
This is a dry vegetable dish made with cabbage. Other vegetables like beans, cluster beans, sabre beans, carrots etc can also be prepared in a similar way. One such dry curry is always served along with a traditional south indian lunch.
Lemon Rice ( South Indian Recipes )
Recipe# 32891
11 Dec 18

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
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
Mysore Chutney, South Indian Mysore Chutney
Recipe# 1657
15 Oct 15

  This recipe has an associated video
 by Tarla Dalal
Kannada cuisine is generally marked by the moderate use of coconut and jaggery in almost all accompaniments. Here in the Mysore Chutney, these ingredients come together with a combination of dals, tamarind and spices. This chutney can be spread on the inner side of
Rice and Moong Dal Idli
Recipe# 4665
11 Sep 14

 
 
by Tarla Dalal
Rice and Moong Dal Idli is a variant of the most popular South Indian snack, Idli, which is traditionally made with rice and urad dal. The well-tested proportions of rice and green moong dal used in this recipe result in a pleasant texture, taste and colour, which will be loved by all your family me ....
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South Indian
5
 on 11 Jul 18 04:54 PM


Thanks for your big collection of South Indian recipes. So true about your statement of rice holds a special position in the South Indian kitchen. Have tried your 4 flour dosa which our entire family loves.
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Tarla Dalal    Hi Sheetal, Thank you for your kind words. Happy to know you loved the information we shared. Do try more and more recipes and share with us your feedback.
Reply
12 Jul 18 08:58 AM
South Indian
5
 on 11 Jul 18 11:07 AM


Our office is providing evening snacks for all staff everyday in which 2 days is for South Indian snacks in a week i.e. idli & some day dosa. My colleague has given Tarla Madam idlis & Dosas recipe printouts to our office maid. Now she is referring to different variety of Tarla Dalals idlis & Dosas recipes. She enjoys making it because of simplicity & perfection of each recipe and we all enjoys eating fresh, hygienic and tasty snacks. Their are lots of Tarla dalal''s delicious south Indian dishes that are made at my home. I loved that tadka aroma of curries, chillies and many other spices used while making spicy & savory dishes. Sweets pongal, Paal Payasam, rice pancakes is NO.1, which we make it at home and all liked them very much.
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Tarla Dalal    Hi Krutika, That is amazing! Thank you for your kind words. Happy to know you loved the information we shared.
Reply
12 Jul 18 08:47 AM
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