Like most regions, the history of south Indian cuisine has a lot to do with its colonial influences and geographical location. The culture and traditions also play crucial parts in the formation of what we know today as south Indian cuisine. Each of the regions has distinct tastes yet there is some familiarity of flavors that binds the food of southern India together.
The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh for instance, is supposedly the spiciest of all Indian cuisines. It has two broader categories of two cuisines the Mughlai food which evolved in the city of Hyderabad. With kebabs, biryanis and salans flavoured with exotic spices, nuts and dry fruits on the one hand and the cuisine of Telangana where red hot chilies, tamarind, dals and pulao on the other, the cuisine is a visual and taste sensation. The spicy Gongura leaf is one of the gems of the culinary history.
The food of Tamil Nadu has a visible place on the gastronomical globe. It has a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies to offer. In Tamil cuisine, red chilies, turmeric, tamarind and hints of asafoetida are key ingredients in this cuisine. Besides the popular tiffin items like dosa. idli, upma, vada, sambar, other dishes include a variety of kozhambu (stews) and rasam, the various types of rice, kootu, poriyal, avial and desserts like payasam and mysore pak. Chettinad cuisine that hails from southern Tamil Nadu is particularly famous throughout the country for its spices.
The cuisine of Kerala is complementary to its past, geographical position and culture iconic to the land. Most of the non-vegetarian dishes are spicy and flavorful. Some of the delicacies of the Mappilas of Kerala are influenced by the Arab influence that began in the 7th century. For instance, Pathiri is a sort of pancake made of rice flour. The word Pathiri stems from the Arabic word fateerah meaning “pastry”. Besides this, Kerala is known for its traditional sadhyas, a vegetarian meal served with boiled rice and a host of side-dishes. Coconut is a vital ingredient in most of the food items and is abundantly used. Coastal dishes are recurring on the menu.
The cuisine of Karnataka encompasses of a varied range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Karnataka cuisine is influenced by the other South Indian states, and Maharashtra to its north. Some typical dishes include Bisibele Bath, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Akki Rotti, Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu. The famous Masala Dosa finds its roots in Udupi. Coorg is also renowned for spicy varieties of pork curries while the coastal side of Karnataka has a myriad of seafood specialities.
This forms the majority of south Indian cuisine. There are authentic south Indian restaurants in USA, that are committed to serving quality food from the five states of southern India. Needles to say, if you’re seeking a genuine south Indian food menu to feast from, Dharani has to be on top of your list. With branches spread across, this restaurant serves south Indian cuisine in USA and has some classics from south Indian fare. If you ever happen to spot this restaurant, do swing by for a comfort meal.