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The Southern part of India is famous for growing spices and also spicy foods. The Arabs, Dutch, French and English came to conquer the lucrative spice trade for spices such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

The foods of South India include readily available coconut, seafood, spices, rice and coconut oil. Food is tempered with the perfect mix of oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilies and seasoned with spices and herbs.

The State of Tamil Nadu has a culinary heritage of its own and includes favorites like idlis, dosas, uttappam, rasam, sambar, vada, etc

The State of Kerala is the Venice of the East with its waterways. Fish is the staple here accompanied with steamed rice. Banana trees and jackfruit trees are very common in this region. The people here prepare special snacks with these fruits such as banana and jackfruit chips.

The State of Andhra Pradesh has a noticible Mughal impact on the cuisines of this state. The food here is quite spicy and hot. Signature dishes of this state are grilled kebabs, kurmas and the delicious Hydrabadi Biriyani.

The State of Karnataka - Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bath, Jola Rotti, Chapathi, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Huli,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 rava Idli, MysoreMasala dosa and Maddur Vade are from South Karnataka. The Coorg district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty seafood specialities. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Dharwad pedha, Chiroti are well known.

South Indian Restaurant Menu Guide

south Indian food, recipes

Special South Indian Banana Leaf Thali
Rasam (soup), papad, masala dosa with sambar (lentils) and coconut chutney, Indian roti, vegetable curry, masala (poriyals and kootus) vegetable, samosa, special rice, raita, payasam, julab jamun and coffee/tea.


Idli - generally comes in two steamed dumplings or rice muffins served with sambar (lentils) and coconut chutney
Vegetable Cutlet - served with salad
Rasa Vada / Medu Vada - lentil doughnut in spicy gravy/ plain
Dahi Vada - Lentil dounut in yogurt
Upma - cream-of-wheat cooked with nuts and seasoned
South Indian Bondas - Sautéed potatoes with spices and herbs, coated with chick pea flour batter, deep fried to a golden brown, served with mint/yogurt chutney


Rava or Plain Dosa: Semolina or rice and lentil pancake
Masala Dosa: Rice/lentil pancake filled with potatoes and onions
Paneer Dosa: Rice/lentil pancake filled with spicy cottage cheese
Rava Masala Dosa: Semolina pancake filled with potato masala
Onion Rava Dosa: Semolina and onion pancake
Onion Rava Masala Dosa: Semolina and onion pancake filled with potato and onion masala
Paper Dosa: Paper-thin rice/lentil pancake
Paper Masala Dosa: Paper thin rice/lentil pancake filled with potato masala
Mysore Masala Dosa: Rice/lentil pancakes cooked with spicy chutney and filled with potato masala
Onion Uthappam: Lentil pizza topped with onions
Tomato Uthappam: Rice-lentil pizza topped with tomatoes
Onion & Chilli Uthappam: Rice-lentil pizza topped with onion and chilies
Mixed Uthappam: Rice-lentil pizza topped with tomatoes, onion, green peas, capsicum and chilies.\

South Indian Curries

Avial: Rich coconut curry
Lamb Vindaloo: Spicy, hot, sharp & tangy, an irresistible preparation.
Fish Coconut Curry: A Northern delicacy. The most popular dish to entertain guests with. Cooked with lots of yogurt, cream, coconut, rose-water and garnished with raisins, almonds and fried onions.
Chicken Curry: Whole Chicken baked in day-oven Chicken cubes cooked in yogurt and tomatoes

South Indian Food Recipes

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Avial - Mixed Veggies Kerala Style
Carrot Pachadi Kerala Style
Yogurt with Bananas Raita - Yogurt Salad Recipe
Sambhar or Lentil Vegetable Stew - South Indian
Shammi Kebab Recipe
South Indian Shrimp Curry in Coconut Milk
South Indian potatoes with Mustard Seeds
Chicken with Coconut Milk

Shop here for South Indian Food Ingredients
Curry Leaves (Fresh) - ships Tues only Ginger Root (Fresh) - ships Tues only Garlic Cloves (Fresh) - ships Tues only Green Chilies (Fresh) - ships Tues only Fresh Mint Leaves - ships out only on Tuesday Mace Powder or Javentri Whole Nutmeg Kasturi Methi or Fenugreek Leaves (Shambalileh). Fried Onions Panchpuran- Indian Five Spice Blend - magical flavor for tomatoes, squash, zucchini, fish Saffron Asafoetida or Hing (Vandevi) Mustard seeds or Rai. Black Pepper (Ground) Cardamom Pods Green Whole Red Chili Ground Turmeric Ground or Haldi Coriander Seed or Dhania Coriander Ground Cumin Seed or Indian Jeera Cumin Ground Fennel Seeds or Saunf Cloves Fenugreek Seed Amchur - Green Mango Powder Poppy Seed or Khas Khas Ajwain Seed, Bishops Weed, Carom Black Salt - Rock Salt or Saindhav Whole Round Chilies Garam Masala (WholeSpices) Blend ,   Curry Powder Cinnamon (Malabar Cinnamon) Ginger Ground Black Cardamom Black Pepper (Whole) ,   Sesame Seeds Natural Coconut - Shreded and Unsweetened Coriander-Cumin Blend Garam Masala Powder Cardamom Seeds Green Cardamom Powder Nutmeg Powder Spice Box - Traditional Indian Spice Box with 7 Spices - Traditional Indian Masala Dubba Fennel Powder Clove Powder. Tamarind Paste - Tamarindo, Tamar Hind Ghee - Clarified Butter 64oz Ghee - Claified Butter Ghee - Clarified Butter Jaggery - Dried Sugarcane Juice Ghee - Clarified Butter Ginger-Garlic Paste Garlic Paste Ginger Paste Coconut Milk Coconut Cream Powder .

Kozhambhu-Another Traditional Tamil recipe, also called Majjige Huli in Karnataka.
Yogurt/Curds- 3/4 Ltrs(Serves 4)
Coriander seeds 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 2 tsp
Red Chili powder 1 tsp
Chana Daal 1 tsp
Rice or rice powder 1 tsp
Coconut (grated) 2 tsp
Salt 2 tsp
Mustard 1 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Red Chili 1
Fry Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Chana Daal, Red Chili in a little oil. Grind the mixture with the coconut and add to the beaten yogurt. Add turmeric and bring to a boil.
Stir in rice powder, and heat on low until consistent texture is achieved. Heat oil and mustard seeds and add to the mixture.


Tomato-Onion Gojju Recipe - Traditional dish from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste or extract from a tamarind size marble, soaked
2 onions, chopped (if using little ones in a bag, about five)
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
6 hot green chilles, slit and cut into pieces
curry leaves
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. turmeric
garlic (optional)
salt to taste
3-4 tbsp. oil

Chop the tomatoes and onions into very tiny pieces. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, when popping add curry leaves, chillies, onions and fry till onions become transcluscent. Add tomatoes and fry for another five minutes. If using tamarind paste, add a cup and half of water, or pour equal quantity of extract from fresh pulp. Toss in the turmeric, salt and garlic. Let it simmer for a while until the gravy becomes a little thick. Remove from heat and serve with rice.


Pitla(Pitlai) Recipe
3 tablespoons besan (bengal gram flour)
1/2 tsp hing(asoefetida)
1 medium tomato chopped finely
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 tsp roasted cumin-coriander powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice/tamarind juice
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Fry the besan in a little oil till it turns light brown. Set aside. Heat some oil and add the mustard and curry leaves. When they crackle, add the onions and fry till they turn brown. Add the cumin-dhania, red chili and turmeric and fry for a minute.
Now add the besan and keep frying for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the coriander and some water to get a liquid consistency. Add salt to taste. Now add the lime/tamarind juice and heat through till it boils. Add hing and serve hot with chapatis or white rice.


Mixed Vegetable Curry Recipe
1 cup mixed vegetables sliced, boiled (use carrot, cauliflower, beans, peas, potato, etc.)
1 tomato sliced
1/2 coconut grated
1/2 tsp. ginger grated
1/2 tsp. garlic crushed
3 green chillies
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. each cumin, mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
salt to taste
1 tsp.lemon juice
2 cloves
1" piece cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter

Drain the boiled vegetables, keep stock aside. Blend together, coconut, chillies, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves in mixie. Heat butter, add seeds, allow to splutter. Add ginger, garlic and paste. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add vegetables except tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup stock. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Add salt, chilli powder, tomatoes and cook till gravy is thick. Serve hot with parathas or chappatis.


Potato White Stew  Recipe (Kerala)
4 potatoes
1 piece large ginger
Curry leaves
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
3 pieces cardamom
2 onions
3 green chillies
1 small coconut
4 small piece cinnamon
6 pieces cloves
Oil 2-3 tbsp.
salt to taste
Cook potatoes and cut them into small cubic pieces. Cut onion ginger, chillies thin and lengthwise. Grate coconut and make a thick milk using 2 1/2 - 3 cups of water. Heat two tbsp. oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, Onion, green chillies, three cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Fry slightly, add potatoes, a pinch of salt and coconut milk. Cook for 5-10 minutes. When the gravy becomes thick , remove from the flame. Serve hot with chapatis, dosas or rice.


Pineapple Gojju Recipe
1 canned (small) crushed pineapple
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. urad dhal
1 tbsp. channa dhal
3 red chillies
2 green chillies
1 tsp chick peas
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
a small piece of jagerry OR 1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup grated coconut
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
4-5 tbsp. Oil for frying
1 tsp mustard seeds

Fry sesame seeds, urad dal, channa dal, red chillies and asafoetida till they all turn roasted. (Frying time 5-6 mins)
Grind the fried ingredients with green chillies, chick peas, tamarind paste, jaggery (or brown sugar) and grated coconut to a smooth paste (add little water while grinding).
In the meantime, keep oil in a kadai and let it heat for a minute. Then put mustard seeds and turmeric powder and allow mustard seeds to pop. Then put the canned crushed pineapple to it and fry the pineapple for about 15 mins. Later, add the ground paste to the fried pineapple and fry further 10 mins.Add salt according to taste
Remove kadai from the heat. This goes well as a side dish with chapatis or rice & rasam and can be eaten hot or cold.


Katirikka Rasavangi Recipe
One eggplant
1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste
1 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. chana dal
3-4 dried red chillies
4 tbsp. coconut (dry will do but fresh is better)
1/2 cup cooked toovar dal (with turmeric)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch asafoetidacurry leaves
A little oil for roasting and seasoning
salt to taste
Cut the eggplant into cubes. In a cup of water, dissolve the tamarind-coriander paste. Set on stove, add eggplant to tamarind water, a little turmeric, salt and let cook until eggplant is done but has not lost its shape. In a pan with very little oil roast red chillies, coriander seeds, chana dal and asafoetida. When you can get the aroma of roasted coriander or the red chillies have turned a dark, dark red remove from heat and let cool. Throw into blender with coconut, add three tbsp. water and grind slowly into paste. Add a little water if blade gets stuck. Remove from jar and wash it out with water and save this.

Mash cooked dal with a spoon until blended and add to cooked eggplant. Now add the coconut paste and its water. Keep on low heat till it starts to simmer a little. Take off heat. Season with spluttering mustard seeds and curry leaves. Variations: You can throw in a handful of chick peas from a can into this, thin it out somewhat and have it as katirikka sambar. Alternately, you can make the cooked dal with half toor and half chana dal, in which case you should not cook until mashed. Remove a trifle before it gets fully done.


Vazai Thandu Curry(Banana Stem curry) Recipe
Vazai Thandu(Banana Stem)Washed and finely chopped
Moong dhal 2 t.spoon
Urad dhal 1/4 t.spoon
Red chilli 2
Mustard 1/4 t.spoon
Hing a small pinch
Ginger a small pinch
Green chilli 1
Grated coconut 2 t.spoons
Butter milk 1/4 cup
Cooking oil 2 t.spoon
Salt 1/2 t.spoon

Soak vazai thandu, moong dhal, butter milk and salt together for 15 minutes.Fry mustard, urad dhall, red chilli, hing, green chilli, and ginger in oil.Squeeze the butter milk out the soaked vazai thandu, and addthe vazai thundu to the above
pan. Let it cook for 10 minutes,and then add the grated coconut to the above.


Pepper Rasam Recipe
1 small tomato, chopped into small cubes
1 1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tsp thick tamarind juice
1/2 tsp sugar or jaggery water
1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
A pinch of hing(asoefetida)
Salt to taste
2 tsp ghee(clarified butter)
6 cups of water

Powder the peppercorns in a peppermill or coffee grinder to get a very coarse powder. Mix together the water, tomato, pepper,salt sugar(jaggery) and tamarind juice. Bring it to a boil on a low flame. Season with mustard, hing, curry leaves and cumin in ghee. Garnish with chopped coriander. Eat when hot with plain rice.

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This work is dedicated to my mother Shanta who taught me the tenants of Ayurvedic Cuisine and Knowledge.


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