Explore South India
Below the Sahayadri mountain ranges of Maharashtra, lies a rich mystic land filled with culture, chaos, and Incredible food!
Food is so good; it takes a man to the unknown and makes him question the time and sheer amount of effort put forward to make them. When we elaborate on South Indian cuisine, we mainly talk about the food of the five states in the Indian subcontinent; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. The occurrence of diverse flora and fauna helped the people for generations to come up with their unique blend of food culture. The presence of coconut, tamarind, plantain, snake gourd, ginger, and garlic are common along with the availability of native vegetables and fruits which vary from place to place.
From the west, it is bounded by the Arabic Sea and to the Eastern side, the Bay of Bengal. The coastal parts of the region including the Coromandel, Konkan, and the Malabar offer excellent combinations of food that one could drool over like the prawn’s ghee roast, Chatti pathiri, Malabar Biriyani to name a few. Deccan or the Nizami cuisine is another remarkable cuisine; filled with spices, nuts, and the use of saffron.
The South Indian peninsula is a truly remarkable land filled with a plethora of communities offering multitudes of cuisine rich in both veg and non-vegetarian food. Rice is the most common staple throughout the region and is accompanied by many forms of spicy and non-spicy dishes like the aviyal, kuzhambu, rasam which go on.
Looking at Kerala cuisine, we can find different varieties of cuisines from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram each dish leaving a memorable impact in its unique way making Kerala one of the most diverse regions in India. The soil in this region is very suitable for the cultivation of paddy, coconut trees, banana plantations, and hence like the other south Indian states, rice dominates the diet in Kerala. Coconut is a ubiquitous ingredient in Kerala cuisine, no dish will be served without a splash of coconut in it. Either in the form of coconut oil, grated coconut, or coconut milk.
Festival foods switch on our memory and have a special space in our hearts. Onam sadhya (Grand meal) is a celebrated festival food of Kerala and is moored in ayurvedic tradition. On a tender cut green banana leaf, boiled Palakkadan Matta rice and a plethora of dishes are served from left to right. Side dishes include Kaalan (includes curd, coconuts, and vegetables), Parippu (green dal), Kichady (Curd and Cucumber), Moru (buttermilk), Achar (pickle of lime/mango/ginger), Aviyal (mixture of vegetables, curd, and coconut), Pachhadi (vegetables, oil, green chilly), Upperi (Banana slices fried in coconut oil), Sarkara varatty (banana dried up with sugar cane), Payasam (dessert)
The Syrian Christmas feast is another example of the festival food from the region. Their origin can be traced back to as long as 52 AD. The day-long feast typically has Appam, beef roast, Chicken stew for breakfast and lunch is a combination of meat dishes and fish which can be washed down with homemade wine.
Recent studies from scientists tell us that our memories are stored in our DNA and the memories that we experience are of our ancestors as well. Therefore, our reaction to festival food is special and something to cherish for!
The proximity of the state’s location to the Arabian sea had attracted numerous trade connections from different countries across the globe. Kerala cuisine is heavily influenced by Arabs, Romans, Portuguese, French, and British. The northern Kerala Maplah/ Malabar cuisine is popular for its traditional biriyani made with Kaima rice incorporating all the characteristics imbibed from the trade as well as using the native ingredients. If one travels to Northern parts of Kerala during the Ramzan month, one would certainly notice the burst of thick masala spices, ghee, and coconut oil in the atmosphere. Unnakaya, Muttamala, Arikadukka are just a few honorable mentions that comprise almost 200 dishes from the region. Food from Malabar not just satisfies your appetite it also gives one a sense of comfort which is hard to find elsewhere.
The Tamil cuisine as well offers varieties of food in veg and non-veg options however the most popular breakfast menu is Idli, Dosa (Grinded mix of Ponni rice) with chutney. Sappadu or lunch comprises rice as the main dish along with comes curries and snacks. The four pockets of the ancient tamilakalam prepare their exclusive Tamil cuisines. The regions include Chola Nadu, Pandiya Nadu, Kongu Nadu, and Tondaimandalam.
Telugu Cuisine which comprises the food from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is typically classified as spicy, tangy, and hot. Out of all the states in the Southern peninsula, Telugu cuisine uses millets and ragi extensively which is otherwise dominated by rice. The use of millets along with good use of spices makes the cuisine one of the richest and spiciest in the world. Telugu cuisine can be divided into three Coastal Andhra (Seafood), Rayalseema (known for its spiciness), and Telangana (millet). Nizami Cuisine is another unique style of cooking popularized by the Deccan Nizams which is world renowned.
The culinary experience offered by the Dakshinapatha is worth exploring and should be on the to-do list of every food connoisseur.