Friday, August 29, 2008


This was a great forwad I got in my email. apt for my series. right click to get a clear look

This is my third post dedicated to a series on India cooking. This time the focus being on another tasty part of India, and one of my very own favourites- SOUTH INDIA.
before I move on any further with my blog, I would like to make a request to all those who have authentic south Indian recipes posted on their blogs. Kindly create a link to this post, or email me the link to the recipe at
so that all the readers, as well as me, have an opportunity to try out some authentic delicacies. thanks.

The hot, humid and coastal climate of south India, make it suitable for producing lots of vegetables, fruits and rice.The most important fruit being coconut. The Malabar coast is famous for its aromatic spices like cloves, cardamom, black pepper,curry leaves,fenugreek, mustard seeds are some of widely grown and used spices. Its coastal proximity provides a good selection of seafood.

The staple
rice and lentil are the staple foods anywhere in the southern regions. unlike north India where wheat is the staple. nearly all the famous delicacies are made by mixing rice and lentils, in various proportions. meals are made by using locally grown ingredients like coconut, tamarind, red chillies, green chillies.
Due to the extensive growth of various spices, the staple includes a lot of spice mixes or podis.
Kura podi (curry powder),sambhar podi (sambhar powder), paachadi podi (hot chutney powder), to name a few.

another staple, as well as my favourite is the filter coffee of the south called kaapi

The cuisines
When some one mentions south Indian food, what comes to mind is steamed idlis, dosa, sambhar and chutney. But there is a whole lot more to this cuisine than just the usual.
In order to know more, we need to know, what actually makes up SOUTH INDIAN CUISINE.
The south Indian platter is divided into four major tastes,


others include the hyderabadi, manglorian and the syria christian cuisines.
surprisingly the major difference in all these cuisines is the level of spiciness.

A little about each of them
I could have done away with this part, but when I was reading about each of them, and how each cuisine has a subtle uniqueness to it, I thought it to be worth mentioning a little about each one of them.

The food here is like a mixed platter of tastes. Vegetarianism is followed predominately because of the vast majorities of hindus living in the area. however, there are some parts of muslims as well as christians too who eat non-veg food. so one tends to savour the gastronomical selections of both vegetarian and non-vegetarain food.coconut and its products like coconut milk, grated coconut, coconut oil are used in abundance here. lots of plaintain, bitter gourd, ash gourd, colocasia is used in the cooking. fish and spicy fish dishes are a speciality of the syria christian cuisine. some of the most famous kerelite specialities are:

PUTTU (dish made out of rice powder and grated coconut)
APPAM (a fluffy pancake like dish)
STEWS (that are both vegetarian and no-vegetarian)
PAYASAAM (sweet dish)

to name just a few.lots of pickels, and spice mixes along with the famous pappadums are served along with the food.

The cuisine of tamil is more popularly known as the Chettinad cuisine. the people of tamil nadu strongly belive in good hospitality which comes forth by their love for food. Tamil cuisine emphaisis the need to include all the six basic tastes of food, that is sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, pungent and salty. This is pretty evident by the various items that are served on a typical banana leaf. the chettinad cuisine is high in spices, and non-vegetarian dishes. due to the dry climate, dried salted meats, and vegetables are used. lots shrimp, fish, lobster, and prawns are cooked.
here are a few of the all time famous ones.

KARUVADU KOZHUMU (dried preserved fish flavored curry),

This is most mildest of all the cuicsines. The use of red chilli powder is very limited, and the use of plam sugar is in abundance. typically a vegetarain cuisine, ragi is a staple grain that is used here. there is a lot of useful information here about the karnataka cuisine.
The all time famous masala dosa, and medur vada originated in this region.
some of the specialities are

Among sweets, MYSORE PAK,

The most spiciest of all the cuisines. there is an abundance use of chilli powder and tamarind. rice being the stapel, andhara cuisine has a lot of non-vegetarian dishes to offer. with the capital being hyderabad making hyderabadi cuisine one of the most famous cuisines of the region.
Pesarattu is also a key item in Andhra cuisine. It is more similar to Dosa but the batter is made of green mung beans. usually thinner and crispier the taste is unique. the filling is that of with onions, green chillies, ginger pieces and coriander chopped. It is served with Chutney mainly made of ginger.
all time favourites

KODI IGURU( chicken fry),
KODI PULUSU(chicken gravy),
CHEPA PULUSU (fish stew)
PAPPUCHAARU - (Lentil / Redgram based vegetable soup)
PULUSU - A vegetable broth resembling sambar, but very different in preparation and tast

wowow, that is a lot of information. yet I feel there is a lot more to know about this vast region. As I was writting this post, I myslef learnt so many things that I had simply assumed earlier on. As I mentioned earlier, that each part of india is unique, with its very own specialities. I hope I have managed to put some light on the varieties and specialities of yet another colourfull part of india.
again I would like to request all my foodie friends to send me some authentic mother's special recipes of the items I have listed above. It would be great if you could include the region and a little background to it. I will then update this post with all the recipe links. Though there is a lot available online, but there is nothing like good, authentic, individual recipes.
I am looking forward to sharing some great recipes.
Have a great long weekend.


notyet100 said...

nice post ,..liked the india map lotz,..looks so good,..with all the regional food,..have some posts will mail u the links,..ceeya tc,..

Priti said...

Hey nice post...liked all the pics and specially the Indian Map..

Kitchen Flavours said...

I too got this in mail dear. Thinking to write on it. You did it wow.

Uma said...

Happy Vinayaka Chavithi to you too Karuna!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on this series featuring regional cooking. I would like to point out that Chettinad cooking and Tamil cuisine are not one and the same. Chettinad is a small region in Southern TN comprising many small towns and Chettinad cooking is specific to this area. But it definitely is popular all over Tamil Nadu and outside.


karuna said...

thanks for the info mamatha.i really appreciate tht input.

Uma said...

hi Karuna! sent an email to you reg. your request for back link. I tried to do it. but couldn't. You are most welcome to link back my post to this post. Let me know.

Here is the link: