A Tale of Spicy Dosas and Fried Fishes – South Indian Cuisine

A Tale of Spicy Dosas and Fried Fishes – South Indian Cuisine

Taste of people varies with religion, culture and even states. People living in different states have different tastes. It is a bit obvious that the South Indian Cuisine constitutes the food of the four southern states of India: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The cuisines of these four states are different but they have some ingredients in common also. These ingredients are coconut, dried red chilies, rice and fresh green chilies. The commonly used vegetables are plantain, garlic, tamarind, ginger and snake gourd. Thus, there four cuisines mainly differ in the food’s spiciness. People of North Karnataka use jowar and ragi more than anything else whereas people living in some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka like rice. Rice is very much consumed by the Brahmin communities and Telangana region consumes jowar and bajra more. Thus, in the entire four regions there is a different need of different food.


The spiciest state of all is the Andhra Pradesh. The people use a lot of chili powder in their food and this makes their food a lot more hot and tangy. People of Andhra Pradesh like their dishes to be lentil and vegetable based. But there is a little bit of regional variations in Andhra Padesh. People living in the different regions of Andhra have their own variation in their food. The rotis having jowar and bajra is common in the Telangana region. This is very famous in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra also. The coastal region of Andhra has cuisines with a typical flavor of much sea food. The capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad has its own unique cuisine. Dum ka murgh, achaari subzi, kacche gosht ki biryani and baghara baingan are the famous dishes of Hyderabadi cuisine.


Both the vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes are famous in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes are ‘Tiffins’ which includes lemon, tamarind, pulihora, mung bean pancake and upma; ‘Pickle’ which is made from the pieces of raw mangoes, tomato pachadi, chintakaya, ginger pachadi, gongura pachadi, dosakaya pachadi and maaghaya; ‘Curries’ which includes carrot fry, dondakaya fry, gutti vankaya, cabbage pesara pappu and bendakaya fry; ‘Pulusu’ which has anapakaya pulusu, palakoora pulusu, thotkoora pulusu, sorakaya pulusu and many more stuff;  And ‘Pappu’ which needs a lot of ingredients such as spinach, dal, yellow cucumber, tomato, thotakura pappu, chukkakoora pappu, palakura pappu and menthilkura pappu. Chakkilalu, murukulu, sakinalu, jantikalu and chekkalu are the things that are being served for snacks. Famous Andhra Sweets are nuvvula laddu, pesara laddu, kaaja, sunnundalu, ravva laddu, thokkudu laddu and pootarekulu. Hyderabadu biryani tops the list of the non- vegetarian dishes. Other non- vegetarian dishes includes chicken stew (kodi iguru), fish fry, chicken gravy and prawn curry.


Another very diverse cuisine is the Karnataka Cuisine. Karnataka people are a bit tarnished for their sweet tooth. Palm sugar, jiggery and very little use of chili powder makes their food perfect as per their taste. Most of the people of Karnataka are vegetarians and they enjoy eating lots of vegetarian foods. There are many Udupi restaurants in Karnataka serving the famous Masala Dosa from the Udupi cuisine. People eat masala dosa, vangi baath, uppittu, plain or rave idli, kadabu, avalakki, kesari baath, tomato baath, akki roti, poori, khara baath and menthya baath in breakfast. Lunch dishes are huli (sambar), kootu, pachadi, chitranna, bisi bele baath, mosaru bajji, thili (rasam) and kasambri. The snack items of the people are mangalore bun, kodabale, aamb vade, nippatu, golli bajji, nippatu, chakkali and maddur vade. Dharwad pedha, chiroti, obbattu/holige, pheni and Mysore pak are the famous sweets of Karnataka. It is a tradition in India to make the sweets in milk but this tradition is not followed in Karnataka as many of sweets are not made using milk. One thing that is famous in all parts of Karnataka is the Yogurt. Those people who can afford the Yogurt butter and ghee use these products especially during festivals.


Kerala is the state which is full of Muslims, Hindus and Christians also. Thus, both the vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes are famous in Kerala. The vegetarian dishes include rasam, erucherri, paalpradaman, kichadi, kalan, nendarangai chips, sambar, upperis, olan, kalan, pachady and aviyal. Whereas the non- vegetarian dishes include fish curry, kappa boiled, shells (sea food), duck curry, chicken stew, fish with coconut (meen thoran), fish pickle, kallumekka, thalassery biriyani, jewel fish, mutton stew, squid, malabari fish curry, shrimp masala, chicken fry with shredded coconuts, karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish) and mussels. Kerala people like to have duck roast, fish molee, Appam, egg curry, banana or kadala curry, porotta with chicken curry or mutton curry, pork masala, beef curry, idiyappam, vegetable stew with pickle, dosai with chutney, kanji with dry beans and pappad with coconut in breakfast. For snacks, people may have thira, churuttu, boli, upperi, kozhukkatta, halwas, banan fry, cutlets, etc. it can be seen from the names of the above dishes that each and every dish include coconut as coconut is the main export of Kerala. People who don’t like coconut can’t survive in Kerala.

Masala dosa with different types of chutney and sambar

A large variety of spicy and non-spicy food can be found in Tamil. People of Tamil eat non- vegetarian food except some people who are Brahmins. Rice is the staple food of Tamil. Each and every Tamil dish is mixed with rice before eating by people. Kootu, kari, papads, paruppu, kuzhambu, kadaiyals, poriyal, rasam and even pickles are mixed with rice to make a perfect Tamil dish. Some standalone snacks are bonda, thayir pachadi, soups, vadai and various chutneys. For deserts there are some Indian sweets such as payasam, kesari and kheer. Tiffin, dosai, uppma, parotta, poori, paniyaram, pongal, adai, etc comes under the category of fast foods in Tamil. Thus, we can say that the Tamil cuisine serves people with a heavy breakfast, not so heavy lunch, good evening snacks with tea or coffee and light dinner. These four South Indian states offer different cuisine according to their culture and taste. Even people can make their dishes by adding more ingredients according to their taste.

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