South Indian food is known for its simplicity. In fact, some of the popular dishes such as idli, dosa, upma, and uttapam are often considered to be best known and best loved dishes. These are, however, merely “tiffin items” that double up as all-day breakfast dishes. Southern cuisine is based on an elaborate philosophy that blends robust flavours with subtle spices, light fluffy rice and lentil dishes with well-cooked meats, and coastal condiments with plantation spices. Southern food is a complex medley of foods from various regions of the five south Indian states. There is much more to South Indian food that the two ubiquitous favourites – idli and dosa. Here are 5 dishes that you must try to understand the complex flavours used in this cuisine.
Keralan Lime Lobster
Lamb Shank Koora
Koora or kozhambu is a tangy spice concoction that was traditionally served with rice. With time, the koora, particularly the meat protein or the medley of vegetables used to make the koora became the highlight of this dish. A lamb shank koora is one of those aromatic dishes that can give any Indian curry a run for its worth. Try the koora with a side of flavoured rice and crisps.
Here is one dish every south Indian will swear by. It is a staple at weddings and festive meals in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu. The aviyal is essentially a stew of differently coloured but fresh vegetables cooked together in a gravy of coconut, cumin seeds, and green chillies. The dish is slow cooked and tempered with mustard and curry leaves in coconut oil to enhance its flavour. Now here’s one south Indian dish you don’t want to miss.
Natu Kodi Biryani
If you thought Biryani was indigenous to Lucknow and Oudh, think again. The natu kodi (country chicken) biryani from Andhra Pradesh may just be the most delicious rice dish you have tasted in a while. The Andhra long grained rice with slow cooked chicken and traditional southern spices elevates the biryani to a whole new level. This is traditionally served with a salan (gravy curry) and yogurt.
Here is another coastal favourite from the states of Kerala and also popular in Konkan. Meen refers to fish and this dish can be made with different kinds of fish. Sea bass is preferred by many for this dish, though. The fish is marinated, wrapped in coconut leaves and cooked to perfection. This is usually served piping hot with a side of rice or upma.