The five states of India – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana come together to form Southern India. The five states have a varied variety of dishes on offer, but those who know the food will tell that they all have a common thread running underneath. That is why their cumulative cuisine can be loosely clubbed in one to be called the South Indian cuisine.

 

Spices are heavily used in the food because the region offers the ideal conditions for growing them. So, the food is warm to eat, and is usually served with rice. Whether it is an idli, appam, upma, or any other dish, there is an unsaid law that a South Indian meal cannot be complete without rice. Curd and coconut also form a big part of the food in this region.

 

South Indian Cuisine Facts and History

• The big region of South India It can be characterized by the use of coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds
• The vegetarian food forms a big part of this cuisine and uses a lot of red chilies, tamarind, garlic, ginger and other local vegetables
• Rice forms a big part of the cuisine. Ragi is popular in southern Karnataka, while Bajra and Jowar form a big part of the meals in northern Karnataka, as they do in Telangana.
• Since most of South India is surrounded by water, fish and other seafood are also a big part of the Southern cuisine
• Andhra Pradesh has the spiciest food of the five states, while Karnataka has the mildest. However, North Karnataka is an exception to this.

South Indian Cuisine Menu

Breakfast

All of South India has some common items that are eaten for breakfast everywhere. These include:

• Idli
• Dosa
• Vada
• Upma

Andhra Pradesh & Telangana

• Pesarattu
• Dibba Attu
• Rava Dosa
• Atukula Dosa
• Godhuma Uppindi
• Semiya Upma
• Garelu
• Punugulu
• Nokulu Annam

Karnataka

• Mysore Masala Dosai
• Bhath Masala Dosa
• Set Dosey
• Neer Dosa
• Rulaama Doddak
• Holige
• Ragi Dose
• Uttappa
• Devangere Benne Dosa

Kerala

• Rice Puttu
• Rava Puttu
• Ragi Puttu
• Oats Puttu
• Idiyappam
• Palappam
• Palappam (Kerala Rice Crepes)
• Vattayappam
• Aval Velayichathu
• Avalos Podi
• Paal Pidi/Paal Kozhukatta
• Coconut Ada
• Godhambu Ada
• Mutta Kuzhalappam/Madakku San
• Kappa Puzhukku
• Godhambu Vellayappam
• Kappa Vevichathu
• Kappa Chenda Puzhangiyathu
• Chembu Puzhungiyathu
• Chembu Kuzhachathu

Tamil Nadu

• Kancheepuram Idli
• Vegetable Dosa
• Masala Dosa
• Adai Dal Dosa
• Rava Dosai
• Aval Upma
• Rava Idli
• Ven Pongal
• Onion Rava Dosa
• Rava Kichadi

Lunch

Rice, sambhar, rassam, and dosa are easy to find during lunch hours in any South Indian home. They are differently prepared in each state though. The specialty items offered by each state are as follows:

Andhra Pradesh & Telangana

• Chicken Biryani
• Mutton Biryani
• Hyderabadi Haleem
• Khatta Kheema
• Dum Ka Murgh
• Chinta Chiguru Mamsam
• Chicken Bhuna Masala
• Lauki Katti Dal
• Mamidikaya Pappu (Mango Dal)
• Hyderabadi Til Ka Khatta
• Liver Fry
• Khichadi
• Jonna Roti
• Dibba Roti
• Sajja Roti
• Uppudi Pindi

Karnataka

• Bisi Bele Bhath
• Mangalorean Veg Biryani
• Jowar Roti
• Veg. Sagu
• Khaara Bhath
• Majjige Huli
• Tovve
• Bas Saaru
• Maskai
• Bele Saaru
• Gojju
• Fish Fry
• Crab Curry
• Mudkule
• Bhatkal Biryani

Kerala

• Koottu Curry
• Potato Stir fry
• Carrot peera pattichathu
• Kaya/Ethakka tholi thoran
• Cheera Thoran
• Cabbage and Carrot Thoran
• Chena Mezhukkupuratti
• Kadachakka Theeyal
• Kumbalanga Pulisherry
• Aviyal
• adala Curry
• Cherupayar Thoran Cherupayar Thoran
• Kadala curry with coconut
• Chakkakuru Mezhukkupuratti
• Kerala Vegetable Stew
• Kappa ularthiyathu
• Pavakka Mezhukkupuratti
• Pavakka Kichadi
• Vellarikka Manga curry
• Varutharacha Mutton Curry
• Mutton Pepper Fry
• Nadan Chicken Curry
• Mutton Biriyani
• Ularthu
• Kappa Biriyani
• Kozhi mappas
• Thattukada style beef curry
• Nadan Beef fry
• Kerala Duck Curry
• Mutton Ularthiyathu

Tamil Nadu

• Pakkoda-Kuruma
• Paruppu-Thuvayal
• Kondai-Kadalai-Kuzhambu
• Pala-Kottai-Varuval
• Vegetable Biriyani
• Kathirikai-Kara Kuzhambu
• Urrulai-Mochai Gravy
• Ennai-Kathirikai-Varuval
• Vendakkai Morkuzhambu

Snacks

Andhra Pradesh & Telangana

• Bajji
• Ponganalu
• Kaarapoosa
• Boonda
• Gaare
• Murukullu
• Maramaraalu
• Senagala Talimpu
• Guggillu
• Namkeen

Karnataka

• Mysore Bonda
• Murukku
• Nuchchina Unde
• Khaara Mandakki
• Nargis Mandakki
• Kodubale
• Aalugadde Bonda
• Menasin kai bajji
• Baaley Kai Bajji
• Capsicum Bonda
• BaaLaka
• Chigali
• Kaalu kadabu
• Chattituttu

Kerala

• Sukhiyan
• Unniyappam
• Vazhakumbu Cutlet
• Achappam
• Kerala Style Beef Cutlets
• Erachi Pathiri

Tamil Nadu

• Muttai Parota
• Karidosai
• Kaldosai
• Jigarthanda
• Paruthipal
• Santhakai (Rice Noodles)
• Oputtu
• Kola Urundai (Meatballs),
• Thengai Paal
• Ulundu Kali
• Ragi Puttumavu
• Arisi Puttumavu
• Vazhaipoo Poriyal
• Paniyaram
• Ragi Pakoda
• Paal Parpi
• Kadalai Urundai
• Inippu Appam
• Pori Urundai
• Paal-Kozhukattai

Dinner

The Lunch And Dinner Menus Are Similar

Desserts

Andhra Pradesh & Telangana

• Sheer Khurma
• Khubani Ka Meetha
• Kajja
• Sakinalu
• Gil-E-Firdaus
• Pootharekulu
• Kajji Kai
• Sunnundallu
• Poornalu
• Pongali
• Payasam
• Chakodi
• Gavvalu
• Jeedilu
• Vennappalu

Karnataka

• Rava Kesari
• Kashi Halwa
• Mysore Pak
• Baked Nippattu
• Huggi
• Ginnu
• Kajjaya
• Unde
• Kadabu
• Karjikaayi
• Dharwad Pedha
• Damrottu
• Kunda
• Senige Huggi
• Hayagreeva
• Paramanna
• Mamu Puri
• Maaldi
• Kaaraa chevu

Kerala

• Ada Pradhaman
• Chakka Pradhaman
• Vishu Kanji
• Mambazha Pradhaman
• Godhambu Ada
• Madakku San
• Paal Pidi
• Chatti Pathiri
• Rava Laddu
• Parippu Payasam
• Palada Payasam
• Mutta Maala
• Bonda (made with banana)
• Banana Halwa

Tamil Nadu

• Asoka Halwa
• Muttasu
• Godhumai Halwa
• Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai
• Tirunelveli Halwa

Drinks

Tea, Coffee, fresh juices and coconut water are the most commonly found drinks in the Southern regions of India, but there are some typical favorites as well.

Andhra Pradesh & Telangana

• Menthi Majjiga
• Pachchi Pulusu
• Falooda

Karnataka

• Ellu Juice
• Sonti
• Ragi Malt
• Appe Kayi Saaru
• Masala Tea
• Masale Majjige
• Bellada Panaka

Kerala

• Nannari Sharbath
• Watermelon Juice with Jaggery
• Morum Vellam

Tamil Nadu

• Jigartanda
• Neer More
• Panagam
• Saathukudi juice

Holiday Menus

Since the region is quite diverse the holiday menus vary a lot as well. Ugadi is one of the most important festivals in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. It is celebrated by enjoying Abbattu. In Kerala, Onam is celebrated with much fanfare where locals enjoy a 26-part meal consisting of Puliyinchi, Aviyal, Payasam, Thoran and so much more. In Tamil Nadu, Pongal is not just the name of the festival, but an auspicious delicacy as well. Kannadigas call their festive food Habbada Adige and includes items like Bhajji, Mosaru, Palya, Gojju, and so on.

Most Popular Dishes

It is really difficult to pull out only a few dishes from the huge selection of food that South India has to offer. But, Medu Vada, Plain & Masala Dosa, Coconut Chutney, Sambhar, Rassam, and Idli are some of the dishes that have been widely accepted by the people, and for some even represent the complete South Indian cuisine. Payasam, Mysore Pak, and Jigarthanda have also amassed a lot of popularity.

Most Used Ingredients

• Mustard Seeds
• Coconut
• Curry Leaves
• Red Chilies
• Rice
• Tamarind

Traveling Foodie – What to eat when you travel to South India

Street Food

South Indian Cuisine has a lot of items that can be cooked quickly and that is why they have become very popular street food items. So, do try the numerous types of dosas available there. Bhath is also a crowd favorite as is Jigarthanda.

Restaurant Food

Most of the dishes are not easily available in the restaurants because they are only cooked in kitchens at home. But, there are many delicacies like the Hyderabadi Biryani, Beef Fry, Vegetable Stew and more complex and popular dishes that you can try at a restaurant.

South Indian Cuisine is an ocean of options. The ones listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. The food preparations change not only over state boundaries, but a wide variety of foods can be seen within states as well. It is not easy to describe what South Indian cuisine is all about, but the items listed here are a good head start for a journey towards understanding this complex and rich cuisine.

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Are you from South India? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on South Indian ethnic food.

Hina Rana