When you travel, it feels as if there are two worlds: your home and the rest of the world. When you step into a restaurant, this feeling is echoed, and it changes based on which restaurant you are in. Right around the corner from home, a restaurant may feel like you are in Thailand eating pad Thai, in America enjoying a cheese burger or in France eating snails. In other cases, you may be half way around the globe in a spot full of Aussies that makes you feel like you are back home. Hi, my name is Betina, and I love eating out and travelling. This blog looks at everything related to those concepts. It talks about the sense of home and away in restaurants. Whether you are a diner or a restaurateur, I hope you enjoy the diverse posts I include in this blog.
The flavours and staple ingredients of Indian food vary by region. South Indian food encompasses dishes from the states of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. These coastal states have access to lots of fresh seafood, but vegetarian dishes are also popular. Here's an overview of the style, staple ingredients and popular dishes associated with South Indian cuisine:
Style Of Cooking
South Indian cuisine features plenty of chillies and is known for being very spicy. Dishes are made to accompany rice and have a soup-like texture or are dry. Meals are often served with an assortment of chutneys, pickles and poppadums.
The following foods are staples that feature in most South Indian meals:
Curry leaves - These leaves are usually fried in oil and release an intense, aromatic flavour with a hint of citrus. They pair well with lentils, coconut and white fish.
Coconut - Creamy coconut milk from local coconuts is used as a base for many of the region's vegetable curries. Grated coconut is also popular in desserts with fruit.
Chillies - Both whole and ground chillies are used to add the intense heat that characterises the region's cuisine.
Tamarind - This is a pod from a tropical tree that has both a sweet and sour flavour profile. It adds a tang to dishes and pairs well with chillies, garlic and ginger.
Fenugreek seeds - With a burnt-sugar flavour, these little seeds are often used in chutneys and pickles.
Asafoetida powder - Derived from a species of fennel, asafoetida has a flavour similar to allium vegetables and is often used to flavour legumes.
Dosas - Savoury crepes made with black lentils and rice. They can be stuffed with curried vegetables or served as a side dish.
Daals - Lentils are a main part of most South Indian meals. If they are not used in the main meal, they will be served as a side dish.
Idlis - These steamed rice cakes are made with fermented batter and are a popular breakfast and snack food.
Popular dishes found throughout the region include:
Mutton Biryani - The rich, gamey flavour of mutton is combined with rice fried in tomato paste, green chillies, ginger and lemon juice. This is a hearty meal that's packed with flavour and often served with poppadums.
Coconut Sambar - This is vegetable and lentil stew that's flavoured with tamarind and coconut paste. It's served with steamed rice and often contains okra, carrots, potatoes and aubergines.
Thakkali Rasam - This tomato and tamarind soup is served with steamed lentils and seasoned with black pepper. It may be served with rice or eaten with dosas.
Coconut Prawn Curry - Fresh prawns are cooked in a creamy coconut sauce flavoured with asafoetida, curry leaves and tomatoes.
South Indian cuisine is packed with flavour and worth exploring for yourself. So, the next time you visit your local Indian restaurant (like Royal India Restaurant), ask your server about the South Indian dishes they have on the menu.Share