The History and Evolution of South Indian Cuisine

The cuisine of South India is extremely diverse and is well-known for its light, low-calorie appetizing meals. Traditional South Indian cuisine is mainly rice based and there are many dishes like dosas, vadas and uttampams that are made by mixing rice with lentils. Considered as extremely healthy, South Indian food is a perfect blend of flavor, color, taste and nutrition. In other words, South Indian food comprises of dishes from four major states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. So while there is a common thread running through the dishes from all these regions, they differ in terms of preparation and spice content.

Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh: Food from Andhra Pradesh is extremely spicy because of the generous use of chili powder and tamarind. Andhra Pradesh cuisine has three different variations based on region. As the Telangana region is closer to some regions of Maharashtra, there are certain influences from this region. Jowar and Bajra roti are common and is widely consumed in this region. As the Rayalaseema district shares borders with eastern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, their influence cannot be undermined. The regions that are closer to the coastline, but obviously have a rich variety of sea food as well In addition, Hyderabad (capital of the city) has its own distinctive cuisine which is different from other areas. Here the Nizams influence the cuisine to a great degree and dishes like Hyderabadi biryani have achieved cult status not only in the region but around the world.

Cuisine of Karnataka: As this state has a higher percentage of vegetarians, most of the dishes in this region are vegetarian in nature. The mildest among all South Indian Food, chilli powder is used sparingly in all the dishes. On the other hand dishes in these region makes liberal use of palm sugar or brown sugar. In addition, Udupi food is an integral part of the cuisine from this region. Udupi Hotels are extremely popular in many regions of North India and the menu of this restaurant is greatly influenced by the cuisine of Karnataka. The famous masala dosa traces its origin to Udupi cuisine and was subsequently popularized by Udupi restaurants.

Cuisine of Kerala: Many of the food items of Kerala cuisine are made using coconut which is found in abundance all over the state. As this region is extremely popular for its backwaters, Kerala is a paradise for seafood lovers who come here from all over the world. Some of the popular dishes from this region include aviyal, olan, shrimp coconut curry, fish poriyal among others.

Cuisine of Tamil Nadu: A typical Tamil meal consists of both spicy and non-spicy dishes. Except for Brahmins and a couple of non-Brahmin castes, Tamils eat more non-vegetarian food. In Tamilian cuisine, food is classified into six tastes namely sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent. Traditional Tamil cuisine recommends that one must include all of these six tastes in each main meal. Each taste has a balancing ability and including some of each provides complete nutrition, minimizes cravings and balances the appetite and digestion.

Today, South Indian cuisines is extremely popular not just in India but on the global stage as well. This is proved by the growing popularity of South Indian based restaurants that are today offering a wide variety of South Indian dishes based on authentic taste and flavor. In other words, today South Indian cuisine is enjoyed by people all over the world and the popularity of this cuisine is only set to increase in the future as well.

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