A Guide To South Indian Cuisine

Contrary to popular perception it is not all idlis, dosas, vada and sambhar, the region provides for an amazing array of seafood, meats as well as some incredible vegetarian preparations.

Here is only a glimpse into the many-hued tastes of Southern India.

Karnataka

This is the state that brought about the Udupi revolution in the country, if not the world. But there is so much more Karnataka offers! Take the bisi bele bhath for example. This spicy delicacy full of fresh vegetables and lentils is topped off with a unique blend of masalas which is made with coriander, fenugreek urad and chana dal. These masalas, pastes and pickles are a pillar of the cuisine of this region. The state is also famed for its chutneys, the red chilli chutney being one of the most favoured. Coconut, red chillies, chana dal and garlic, tamarind, cloves, and ginger to add flavour, and voila! The delectable Kundapura Koli Saaru is something you’d not want to miss if you love your chicken hot. This curry like chicken preparation uses the Kundapura paste, a unique paste consisting of coconut, red chillies and cumin seeds and whole coriander.

Kerala

The cuisine of God’s own country is just as beautiful as the countryside itself. Seafood is huge in this part of the country and so is their love of their all-year favorite – the mighty coconut. The delicacies of this state range from the tangy shrimp coconut curry that can make any meal seem better, to the sweet slurping delight of the much-famed aviyal. Take the simple breakfast of puttu and kadala curry – steamed rice and coconut rolls with a spicy curry of black Bengal gram (black chana), filling, delicious and easy on the stomach. If you want something exotic to try the kallummakaya, a tangy mussels curry that is sure to make any sea-food lover go weak in their knees.

Andhra Pradesh

The home of the hallowed Hyderabadi biryani is one of the spiciest food destinations to visit in the country, if not the world. Their liberal use of spices, chilli and tamarind make the experience here one of a kind. The Andhra style chicken curry is something you’d want to go for if you enjoy spices and tender chicken. If you are a meat lover you would not want to miss the gongura maans, a lamb curry made with gongura leaves that are sure to leave you panting for more. While focusing on the spices, this region also serves up some brilliant desserts. The boorelu, or friend sweet dumplings are a delicacy for every occasion, made with urad dal and jaggery.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Food is usually differentiated in the following brackets – Sweet, sour, astringent, bitter, salty and pungent. The cuisines here are both spicy and mildly flavoured depending upon the area of preparation and there is no particular trend in the use of spice here. There are some scrumptious delights that this region boasts of. The unique Chettinad cuisine, famed for its use of spices is well known around the world. Try the urlai roast, roasted baby potatoes in a glorious masala mixture if you are a strict vegetarian. Sea food lovers would want to get their bibs on and dig into a bowl of steaming meen kozhambu, a spicy fish curry that is paired with steamed rice.

Each state in this region provides a different experience, all of which bound together by a few common but delicious gastronomic threads. Truly, Southern India is a palette of a thousand flavors.