Passing by a South Indian restaurant, you must have heard the occasional spluttering of mustard seeds or smelled the piping-hot sambar getting prepared in bulk, but there’s much more to the Deccan cuisine than just the lentil soup or the openly displayed vadas. The peninsular food is as varied as rainbow colors. Nonetheless, their baseline can always be traced back to an intelligent combination of rice, coconut, and lentils. The flavourful and zesty South Indian fare is typically prepared with various spices, passionately so, that it is perfect for a gastronomical adventure any day. These delicacies are vast in number, however, we are making an attempt to bring to your attention the 10 best and most popular south Indian specialties.
This first on our list ambrosia needs no introduction. Often termed as king of all the dosas, it is one of the most savoury dishes from South India, that has expanded its presence across the country and even abroad. Lightly cooked potatoes, curry leaves, mustard seeds, fried onions sprinkled with spices are firmly wrapped in a crisp fermented crepe. A sensory delight is on cards with the subtle sour taste intermingled with spices embedded in the veg-mix.
Vada and Sambar
This yet another classic is enjoyed by many. The defining feature of this dish is the hole at the centre of the donut-shaped brown snack. Fluffy & soft inside and crispy on the outside, vada’s taste multiplies when eaten with Sambar dips. Coconut chutney, too, is an excellent side dip with it. The dish scores high on nutrition scale as Vada is made with protein-packed pulses and Sambar is typically prepared with a lot of veggies such as broccoli, beans, carrot and radish.
Idli and Sambar
Crumbly Idlis never fails to impress. They are a popular breakfast in the south and one of the most protein-rich diet owing to the fact that they are made from urad dal. The soft and tender idlis taste delicious when dipped with sambar. Together the effect is heavenly. Just like vadas, they are also eaten with coconut chutney.
This Hyderabad specialty should be a must try on your next visit to a South Indian eatery. Chunks of fresh meat are cooked with curd, saffron, butter and piquant spices and then tossed into the semi-boiled rice layered with mint, fried onions, and cooked mutton. A creamy delight awaits you in this southern biryani.
Uttapam is when pancake meets the pizza. Good thing is that its taste is hard to compare with anything you’ve ever eaten before. Its unique taste always registers a sensory delight. This scrummy dish, however, has a lot in common with dosa in its preparation. The porous fluffy cake, sprinkled with a range of toppings such as chopped onions, tomatoes, chilies is perfect for a lunch. Like many other south Indian delicacies, Uttapam is also relished with Sambar or chutney.
This is yet again a Peninsular dish which couldn’t stay within the boundaries of culture and regions and spread its popularity all over the country. It is basically a rice porridge mixed with onions and chili- a popular breakfast dish in the south.
This Andhra Pradesh dish is reputed to be extremely spicy and yet would keep you asking for more. As the name suggests, gongura leaves enter into the recipe of juicy meat, giving it a flavour entirely different from others. Cooked with curry leaves, cumin seeds cloves, onions and clarified butter, this zesty culinary delight is a spice-land utopia.
Ragi Mudde & Soppu Saaru
The combination of Ragi Mudde and Soppu Saaru is a hot favourite for people living down in South. As it contains a number of nutrients, this Karnataka dish is consumed as a wholesome meal. Ragi mudde are little ragi balls made with finger millet flour. Soppu Saaru is an enticing gravy of toor dal and mashed greens. Together they form one of the most lip-smacking combinations.
Part of the Onam Sadhya dishes clan, this Kerala delicacy has impressed several with its rich and creamy texture alone. However, the story doesn’t end there, it reaches eyes and settles in the heart. Its tantalising taste has a too-good-to-be-real effect on the taste buds. This mild curry is prepared with cowpeas, white pumpkin, and coconut milk- the last one being a prominent ingredient. The drooling turn real when paired with steamed rice.
Its curious name has many stories associated with it. A popular one among them is that this spicy, toothsome loved-by-all chicken stayed on the menu on the number 65 for so long that it was given a special name of its own pertaining to the number. This deep-fried is prepared in many different cooking styles: Hyderabadi style, Andhra style, Madurai style and more. But no matter the cooking method, its dominant flavour is always that of red chilies. Onion and lemon garnish are common with this one.
For More Indian Cuisine