South Indian Cuisine

South Indian Cuisine can be distinguished by its use of rice as a staple food instead of wheat. Generous usage of spices and coconuts are common in cooking. The states that make up South India have very different ideas as to what makes a good dish but I could never find a favorite!

What impressed me the most about the South Indian cuisine was the imagination of it all, things like jack fruit, banana leaves, aubergine, fish and meat are all used to create dishes which result in a fascinating display of colours, smells and flavors.

The fruit market in Mysore

Fruit market in Mzsore, fruit market, Indian food,India

Spices are used heavily in South India, things like pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are found everywhere and also attracted the attention of various invaders like the French and English. Idlis (Black lentils and rice cake), Dosa's (pancake type thing made out of rice) and Sambhar (heavily spiced stew) are found everywhere you go especially in the morning.

The smell of freshly cooked potato Dosa's drifting through the tea covered valleys of Munnar, carried on the morning air is a smell that will stay with me for the rest of my life (Mysore is most famous for its Masala Dosa's and is really worth checking out).

India vendoe, food, market, sweet seller, India

Oils, curry leaves, red chillies and mustard seeds are more variations of flavours that you can expect especially in Kerala. Kerala is next to the sea and has a thriving fishing industry. It is possible to walk up and down the beach in Cochin and buy your fish straight from the fisherman. You can take it to pretty much any restaurant to be cooked which is a great way of saving a bit of money as well!

Andhra Pradesh has some of the spicest cuisine in South India and is famous for its Briyanis (spicy rice dish with meat and vegetables). Pickles, pappads and chutneys are served alongside and help make this dish something special and highly recommended by me. Other popular dishes found all over South India include meat curry, and loads of seafood, things like mussels, prawns, shark and mackerel are incredibly popular.

Further Reading

The Food of India

This gorgeous oversized hardback has an excellent range of beautiful recipes for everything an Indian Kitchen should have including how to make panner, chenna, yoghurt, strange Indian vegetables and more. The illustrations are spectacular and are accompanied by little blurbs and pieces of information relating to the food.

Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices

This award winning book has been highly acclaimed by chefs, authors and critics for a few years now and is an essential item in any food lovers bookshelf. The book Skillfully move backward and forward in time covering everything about Indian food with the intimacy of a native, the curiosity of an outsider and the broad vantage of an expatriate.

Return from South Indian Cuisine to the India Homepage

Back to Food in India