If you have love Indian food, then you should definitely try food from Tamil Nadu. The food from Tamil Nadu is a treat for your taste buds. The tangy flavors, diverse infusions and spicy recipes is what makes people from all over the world love the food from the state. There are numerous dishes prepared for diverse occasions and festivities. The Tamil cuisine constitutes a variety of dishes and is not just about idli and sambhar. Here is our pick of the best dishes in the state.
1) Milagu Pongal
This is a very light breakfast recipe, prepared with rice and moong dal, sautéed with cumin, pepper and asafoetida. Also called “ven pongal”, with a mouth-watering smell, this is the comfort food for a majority of Tamilians, since it is light and and has a heavenly taste. It is predominantly eaten for breakfast, but is eaten for lunch and dinner too.
Dosa is one of the predominantly eaten dishes for breakfast in Tamil Nadu. It is usually served with sambhar and chutney and is prepared with rice flour and gram. It is usually available in many varieties like Masala Dosa, Paneer Dosa, Mushroom Dosa, Ghee Dosa, Egg Dosa and many more. Dosas are usually crisp and paper-thin, where the batter is evenly spread over a pan during preparation.
3)Idli and Medhu Vada
“Medhu”, translates to “soft” in Tamil. Idli is made by steaming rice flour and gram. Vada, on the other hand, is dough-nut shaped and is prepared using fermented Bengal gram and cumin seeds. Vada is deep fried and is server hot and crisp. Idli and vada complement each other wonderfully ,and are a signature breakfast combo in Tamil Nadu. Vada is also eaten as a quick snack with coconut chutney.
4) Thayir Sadham
Thayir Sadham, transalates to “curd rice” in Tamil. It is immensely nutritious and easily digestible. This simple dish is made by mixing rice with curd, and adding sautéed mustard seeds, curry leaves and dal. Lunch in the state is generally considered incomplete without this authentic dish.
This is a “soup” like dish and predominantly constitutes tamarind water. It is extremely useful for digestion and for curing a sore-throat. It is poured over rice just like any other curry or sambhar, and can be drunk like a soup too. Rasam is prepared using tamarind water, tomato, cumin seeds, chilli pepper and pepper and has a very strong flavor. Rasam is available as Tamarind Rasam, Jaggery Rasam, Carrot Rasam, Beetroot Rasam, Tomato Rasam, Ginger Rasam and many more varieties.
6) Filter Kaapi
Coffee is a popular beverage all over the world.”Filter Kaapi” or “Filter Coffee” is a beverage made by frothed milk with brewed coffee powder in an Indian filter. The drink is termed Kaapi, Tamilian’s way of referring “coffee”. The beverage is very popular in cities like Chennai and Kumbakonam, where it is referred to as “Kumbakonam Degree Coffee”. The smell of filter kaapi is heavenly and will make you yearn for it.
7) Rava Kesari
This is a dessert made of roasted semolina or “sooji”. It is a prominent dish made up of rava, sugar, ghee, cashews and is flavoured with cardamom powder. This is an aromatic and “melt in your mouth” dish, which is one of the desserts that can be prepared in a jiffy. “Kesari” means saffron, which is added to the dish to add color to it and make it even more delicious. There are a lot of varieties of rava kesari like pineapple kesari, milk kesari and kesari bath.
8) Chicken 65
Chicken 65 is a deep fried chicken snack, originating from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It’s hot and juicy flavor attributes to red chilli powder. It is one of the most popular non-vegetarian starters across Tamil Nadu and is absolutely delicious! Chicken pieces are marinated with chilli powder, spices and salt , and is deep fried in oil, giving it a crispy flavor. Yoghurt and corn flour are used too. Chicken 65 is made in different styles-Madurai style, Hyderabadi style, Madras style and many more.
Sambhar,pronounced as “Saambaar” is basically a vegetarian stew,normally eaten with rice, made using different vegetables like drumstick, onion, ladies finger, potato etc. It is a delicious combination of toor dal, sambhar powder, fenugreek seeds, tamarind pulp, onions, tomatoes, chilli powder and miscellaneous ingredients. Sambhar is also served as a side dish with idly and dosa. It is sour, spicy, soothing, and has a refreshing taste. It is high on proteins, fibre and has anti-oxidation benefits.
10) Kuzhi Paniyaaram
The composition of the batter used to make kuzhi paniyaaram is similar to the batter used to make dosa and idli. A special mould called “paniyaarakkal” is used for making this dish. These are normally made with leftover dosa and idli batter. Vegetables are sometimes added to the batter to make it more delicious. Paniyaarams can be made plain, spicy or sweet. Sweet paniyaaram is made by mixing jaggery with the batter. Paniyaarams are crispy from outside and soft from inside and the plain paniyaaram is normally eaten with coconut chutney.