Let's explore the food culture of another south Indian state Tamil Nadu.
Rice is the staple food of Tamil Nadu. Tamil people prepare dishes similar to other states of southern India yet the difference is in recipe styles. The serving style, side dishes, staple food are mostly formed as per the geographical location, the agricultural products available, invaders from outside, travellers and also neighbouring states.
Tamil Nadu dishes are spicy. The food that you can find in every household and restaurant are Rasam, Idli, Appam, Dosai, Bonda, Pickles, Vada, Pongal, Upma, Takali Sadam etc. Tamil people use tamarind in every food for its digestive value. Let's talk about some of the famous food of Tamil Nadu.
Uttapam looks like Pizza but is similar to dosa. Onion, tomato, capsicum on the top gives it a varied look, the side dish for Uttapam are Sambar and Coconut Chutney (recommended for heavenly taste). It is made up of Urad Dal and Rice Batter. Uttapam is the breakfast food easily available in any part of Tamil Nadu.
It can be prepared with idli batter by making it soft and spongy. Onion Uttapam is one of the mainly eaten Uttapams, dip it in both coconut chutney and then sambar for better taste. This onion uttapam is known as Vengaya Dosai in the Tamil language. in The different varieties of Uttapam are Kadai Uttapam, Tomato Uttapam, Podi Uttapam.
It’s a sweet snack prepared with wheat flour, jaggery and banana. Ingredients to prepare banana bonda are available in your pantry. It takes 15-20 minutes to prepare this snack. Banana Bonda is crisp outside but inside it’s spongy and soft. All you need are maida, sugar, coconut(your preference of flavour), Banana Slices to get this sweet bonda prepared. Take a bite of sweet bonda along with hot chai, it will be your evening snacks. It is the sweet maida bonda with extreme easy steps and fewer minutes to prepare. As per the convenience and to give flavour people also use coconut/ chocolate or chopped vegetables.
It is the evening snacks all over Tamil Nadu. Some people take Cauliflower Pakoda or Gobi 65 as a side dish in meals. Cauliflower is dipped in besan batter (chickpea flour) and then fried. It is so crispy- the love of kids. Some people use rice flour or cornflour for making the batter. Unstoppable saliva stems from the aroma of cauliflower pakoda. You also need curry leaves or else mint leaves or both to give this snacks a flavour. Dip gobi florets on hot water mixed with turmeric and rock salt to avoid germs or bacteria in the vegetable before preparing Gobi 65.
Image Source: Kannamma Cooks
Rasam is one of the disease curing dishes in South India. It’s the spicy stew, prepared using cumin seed, tamarind, tomatoes and pepper. Chopped coriander is used to garnish Rasam for its digestive nutritional value.
There are many sorts of Rasam according to the ingredients used. The most savoured Rasams are Pepper Rasam, Mysore Rasam, Lemon Rasam, Pepper Cumin Rasam. People in Tamil Nadu use sesame oil (gingely) and sprinkle some mustard on the pan instead of using mustard oil or refined sunflower oil while preparing this healthy stew. Rasam preparation can be with Rasam Powder.
Image Source: Yummy Indian Kitchen
It is the Tomato Rice mostly savoured as lunch box dish. The recipe for takkali sadam is very easy and it does not take a long time to prepare. You can make this cuisine using the usual kitchen ingredients and tomato powder for flavour. Tomato Rice is a South Indian food rather than only Tamil Nadu Food, I used to have this in lunch during my Internship days in Bangalore.
I have given a recipe video here, so easy you can get Tamil Nadu food at your own home. Takkali Sadam goes well with Pappad, Chips, Tomato Onion Raita or Boondi raita as the side dish.
Indian Puddings are known as Payasam or Kheer. There are many special Payasam prepared in the Southern Indian States such as Rice Payasam, Samiya Payasam, Javvarisi Payasam, Chana Dal Payasam. Yet Paruppu Payasam is the best of its kind, so let’s know some more about Paruppu Payasam.
This Payasam is one of the sweet delicacies often made in special days. It is prepared out of Moong Dal, jaggery, coconut milk. If you have been to a Tamil Family during Makara Sankranti or Onam celebration (Malayali Family), you can get the aroma of Paruppu Payasam. Roasted moong dal and melted jaggery together with coconut milk give it sweet creamy texture. Check the recipes of Paruppu Payasam above.
This is the lip-smacking easy to prepare delicacy of Tamil Nadu. It takes 3 steps to make this breakfast dish. Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu dedicated to Sun. On this day lots of food are prepared to be savoured in friends and family. Pongal means boiling over. Rice is boiled in milk and jaggery. There are myriad Pongal such as Rava Pongal, Ven Pongal, and Sarkkarai Pongal or Chakkara(Sweet Pongal). Pongal and Sambar go well together but adding papad, coconut chutney or pickle will also taste nice. It is one of the healthy choices can be prepared with or without vegetable.
Food is served on a plate and they prefer eating using hand rather than a spoon to know the exact temperature of food. Tamil People generally use Banana leaves to serve food as an alternative to plates and they are biodegradable. You might have heard sambar served as a side dish in south India. This Sambar also has a different version in a different part of South India.
Image Source: Traveling Spoon
The taste of black-eyed beans pumpkin sambar is distinct from Udupi sambar. If you have been to Tamil Nadu and you don’t have money, don't worry you can get breakfast or meal in just 5 rupees under government scheme of food distribution. Don’t overthink on taste and hygiene they will never disappoint you. Appam, Sambar, Banana Cheaps and Bondas are the taste of south India with a little difference for the ingredients used.