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South Indian Cuisine is a term used to refer to the cuisines found in the four southern states of India, namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. As opposed to North Indian cuisine, there is limited use of garam masala and other dried spices except cardamom, black pepper and turmeric. Rice is extensively used in the Southern Region of India. Also, the usage of Ragi, a little known food in the North, is widely used as a staple diet. The Curries are thinner and use oils and fats sparingly. Chopped vegetables cooked with grated


coconut without any gravy, called Palya, is widely eaten. Puri, adeep fried flat bread, replaces Naan or Roti of the Northern India.

Similarities and differences in "Four states' cuisines"
The similarities in the four states' cuisines are the presence of rice as a staple food, the use of lentils and mild spices (as opposed to the strong, pungent spices used by North Indian cuisine), use of dried red chillies and fresh green chillies, coconut and native fruits and vegetables like tamarind, plantain, snake gourd, garlic, ginger, etc.


The differences can be found below, but overall all the four cuisines have much in common and differ mostly in the spiciness or hotness of the food.

Andhra Food
Described as the spiciest of these four states' cuisines, there is a generous use of chilli powder ( Guntur), oil and tamarind. The most famous food items are:

Vegetarian: pesarattu, pulihora (or pulihaara), Gongura, avakkai (cut raw mango) pickle.

Non-vegetarian: Kodi iguru( chicken fry), Kodi pulusu(chicken gravy), Chepa pulusu (fish stew) etc., Hyderabadi Biryani

The cuisine has a great variety of dishes, with the majority being vegetable or lentil based. Another factor to remember is that Hyderabad, being the capital of Andhra Pradesh, has its own characteristic cuisine considerably different from other Andhra cuisine. The Nawabs patronised the Hyderabadi cuisine which is very much like the Lucknowi cuisine of the Avadh. The only difference is that the Nawabs of Hyderabad liked their food to be spicier, so was born the Hyderabadi cuisine which included the Kacche Gosht ki Biryani and the Dum ka Murgh, Baghare Baingan and Achaari Subzi during the reign of the Nawabs in Hyderabad.

Karnataka Food
Described as the mildest (in terms of spice content) of these four states' cuisines, there is a generous use of palm sugar or brown sugar and sparingly used chilli powder. Since the percentage of vegetarians in Karnataka is very high compared to the other states, vegetarian food is enjoyed by almost everyone for all meals of the day. Udupi cuisine forms an integral part of Karnataka cuisine. Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bath, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Davanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu.The famous Masala Dosa traces its origin to Udupi cuisine. Plain and Rave Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popular in South Karnataka. Coorg district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty sea food specialities. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Dharwad pedha, Pheni, Chiroti are well known.

Kerala Food
Kerala cuisine is quite diverse. The diversity is best classified on the basis of the various communities. The Hindus, especially the Namboodris and Nairs have a predominantly vegetarian cuisine, whilst the Christian and the Muslim communities have a largely non-vegetarian cuisine. Since Kerala's main export is coconuts, almost all of the dishes, irrespective of the variety in the cuisines of the different communities, have coconuts associated with them, either in the form of shavings or oil extracted from the nut. Seafood is also very popular in the coastal regions and eaten almost every day.

Vegetarian: olan, paalpradaman, nendarangai chips, aviyal, erucherri, sambar, rasam, kalan

Non-vegetarian: shrimp coconut curry, fish curry (various versions depending on the region), fish fry, kerala beef fry, chicken fry with shredded coconuts etc

Typical Indian masala dosa (Kerala style): It is a combination of shredded cooked and fried vegetables with Indian sauce and a lot of spices as the basic stuffing, enveloped by a thick brown dosa made out of a dal and rice batter. To add to this unique preparation it is served with hot sambhar and coconut chutney.

Tamil Food
The Tamil cuisine or the Tamil food is often served in a marriage function or any festival/auspicious occasion, this meal consists of nearly 20 varieties of food, including the side dishes such as curry, appalam, pickle. The Thanjavur saapadu or tanjore meals is very famous all over Tamil Nadu as it consists of many spicy and tasty dishes and they are mostly vegetarian. Some vegetarian and non-vegetarian specialties of Tamil cuisine are shown below.

Vegetarian: idli, sambar, vadai, rasam,dosa, thayir sadam (yogurt rice), thayir vadai (yogurt-soaked fritters), kootu (made with any vegetable with lots of liquid), poriyal (made with any vegetable in dry style), murukku, uthappam, idiappam, appalam and papadum (fried chips), freshly made thayir pachidi (yogurt mixed with uncooked vegetables).

Non-vegetarian: karuvadu kozhumu (dried preserved fish flavored curry), chettinad pepper chicken, Fish Fry

Food is generally classified into six tastes - sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent & astringent and traditional Tamil cuisine recommends that you include all of these six tastes in each main meal you eat. Each taste has a balancing ability and including some of each provides complete nutrition, minimizes cravings and balances the appetite and digestion.

Sweet (Milk, butter, sweet cream, wheat, ghee (clarified butter), rice, honey) Sour (Limes and lemons, citrus fruits, yogurt, mango, tamarind) Salty (Salt or pickles) Bitter (Bitter gourd, greens of many kinds, turmeric, fenugreek) Pungent (Chili peppers, ginger, black pepper, clove, mustard) Astringent (Beans, lentils, turmeric, vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage, cilantro)

A typical meal (Lunch or Dinner) will be served on a banana leaf. As the staple diet is rice, steamed rice will be served along with a variety of vegetable dishes like sambar, dry curry, rasam and kootu. Meals are often accompanied by crisp appalams. After a final round of rice and curds or buttermilk or both, a meal is concluded with a small banana and a few betel leaves and nuts.

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. The meat is restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and mutton. Chettiars do not eat beef and pork.

Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosais, appams, idiyappams, adais and idlis. The Chettinad people through their mercantile contacts with Burma, learnt to prepare a type of rice pudding made with sticky red rice.

Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes include idiyappam, paniyaram, vellai paniyaram, karuppatti paniyaram, paal paniyaram, kuzhi paniyaram, kozhakattai, masala paniyaram, adikoozh, kandharappam, seeyam, masala seeyam, kavuni arisi & athirasam.

Typical Regional Classification of South Indian Cuisine


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This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

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