The beauty of our vast country is that as geography varies so does the cuisine. I was born and bought up in Bombay, Maharashtra, and having lived there for most of my life, the South Indian dishes I enjoyed were the conventional Idli and Masala Dosa with Sambhar and Chutney.
Moving from Bombay to the Southern part of India gave my palette and my foodie curiosity the opportunity to experiment and enjoy. From the vast array of dishes I have cooked and relished, here are my picks of 5 South Indian Dishes that everyone loves.
What I love about South Indian dishes that are my personal favorites is that they are relatively healthy. Most of them are either steamed, or cooked with a minimal amount of Oil, and doing so doesn’t alter their taste or flavor in any way. For example, I have started experimenting with my masala for dosa and have been coming up with some surprisingly flavorful options.
Top 5 classic favorites are:
This Indian Pancake is more versatile than it gets credit for. From the traditional Dosa to a Multigrain version and a new age Oats and Quinoa Dosa, this humble household favorite has undergone a transformation over the years. Whichever the version I may rustle up, I like mine stuffed and the masala for dosa has to be super delicious. Like I mentioned earlier I have been experimenting with trying out varied types of masala for dosa and my recent trial of using sweet potato to make my masala for dosa, a Millet Dosa btw, was a big hit with friends and family alike.
The humble Idli is my personal pick for just about any meal. Apart from being healthy and filling, the Idli can be enjoyed with just about any accompaniment. Have you dipped a fluffy Idli in Chicken Curry, or Sagu if you are vegetarian? Podi’s (powdered spices) are just not be placed on the side of the plate. Smear your Idli with Ghee and sprinkle a spicy Podi generously on top of it and you have Podi Idli! Bored with plain Idly? Heat oil, add Cumin and Mustard Seeds, Curry leaves, and dry Red Chillies. Add turmeric and red chilly powder along with salt and add diced Idlis to it. Thank me as you enjoy your masala Idli.
The first time I saw an Appam I thought to myself that it resembles a lacy bowl, it was that pretty to look at! Appam and Stew are a classic match and a healthy one. Though Appams can be great accompaniments to other curries, both vegetarian and Non-vegetarian, or even the masala for dosa I talked about, the stew seems to be a universal favourite. Do try Appam with Coconut Milk when you can, it’s like having a meal and dessert together.
What happens when you crave a dish that tastes like a cross between the Idli and Dosa and is more filling than both? You choose an Uttapam. When it comes to lunch or an early dinner, a fluffy Uttapam topped with curls of tomatoes, onions, and green chillies are always my first choice. I don’t even need chutney or sambhar to go with it, but if they do it’s an added taste enhancer.
I am yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy the Indian Donut! Deep-fried and delicious, no one can stop at one! Dunk your Medu Vada in a bowl full of piping hot Sambhar or bite into its crispiness after swiping up your favourite chutney with it. And if you haven’t used your Medu Vada as a pretend Sudarshan Chakra or placed them over your eyes while pulling funny faces, you are missing out!