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25 South Indian Recipes | Easy South Indian Food
Here is a list of popular and easy South Indian Recipes. This includes a few common South Indian Breakfast Items and South Indian Lunch/ Dinner items. These are common dishes that are found in other states as well.
India is a place of diversity and we believe in unity in diversity. Different parts have different specialty food but that is equally loved by other people as well. I’m a huge fan of our South Indian foods.
South Indian foods have a distinct flavor that makes it different from other cuisine. There is a tanginess in the preparation of this cuisine. The spices used to flavour are also different from those used for North Indian Cuisine.
E.g. Mustard seeds, curry leaves, and tamarind are major spices in South Indian food whereas for North Indian flavor we use cumin seeds, ginger, garlic. Also, the food is not very heavy and rich like our Punjabi cuisine nor very light.
When we say South Indian food, the most common and popular are idli, vada, and dosa. These items are great street foods also. In Mumbai, every corner has South Indian street-side vendors selling these South Indian breakfast items.
The neighborhood states always have an influence on their food habits. So Mumbai has also accepted and loved the flavor of its neighbor states. In the North, the influence gradually decreases. Very rarely you will find any South Indian Food stalls selling Medu Vada Idli Sambar and chutney. Dosa is widely accepted in almost all parts but again the authentic taste is also important.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t like this food. In my Inlaw’s family, they love my vada, sambar, and dosa. So every time I make them on demand.
How healthy are South Indian food?
This is the most frequent question I have come across. Yes, South Indian food is light and doesn’t contain much oil and carb in it. Also, they prefer steamed dishes and not fried. The vast use of lentils, vegetables, coconut, curry leaves makes the food healthier. There is little or no cream in any of the recipes.
They don’t use potatoes in their food, unlike North Indian food where potatoes play a vital role. This cuisine has major focus on vegetables.
Since they use coconut oil for cooking it makes them extra healthy with added benefits of coconut oil. Coconut oil has high healthy saturated fats. These fats can boost fat burning and provide the body and brain with quick energy. So this is helpful in weight reduction. They raise good HDL cholesterol in the blood and keeps our heart healthy. This is excellent for the skin and helps to build collagen and brings in elasticity. Coconut oil can also reverse Alzheimer’s disease to some extent.
South Indian Tiffin
Tiffin is generally termed for the meal that is neither very heavy nor very light and can be taken as breakfast or lunch or dinner. South Indian tiffin are easy dishes like idli chutney, idli sambar, sambar rice, dosa sambar, etc.
While it comes to South Indian lunch and dinner menu, rice and lentil dishes are popular. Rice has a special place in South Indian cuisine. Even lentils are quite popular in this cuisine. Rice is a staple food there. In Karnataka ragi or finger millet is a staple food.
Statewise cuisine is different as every state has its own delicacy. Like Karnataka food habit is different than Hyderabadi, Madras and so on. I am yet to learn that. But I am compiling the most common South Indian Recipes.
Here is a list of a few popular and easy South Indian Breakfast and Lunch/Dinner menu Items. Also, I have compiled a few related items as well.
Idli is a snack or tiffin recipe. You can make this for either breakfast or for lunch and dinner. The batter is a mixture of rice and dal (urad dal). Batter is fermented for 8 – 10 hours before making this item. Fermentation is an important method to get perfectly soft and fluffy idli.
This is a quicker version of regular idli that doesn’t require any fermentation. Rava or sooji or semolina is used for this recipe and sourness comes from the curd.
Ragi is a staple food of Karnataka. Karnataka is the highest producer of this millet. This is a gluten free and healthier food option. You can make many other things from Ragi Like ragi adai, ragi dosa, ragi kanji, ragi mudde, ragi laddu, and many more.
I have loaded this with lots of veggies. The batter is a mixture of powdered ragi, semolina, and curd. This is also an instant recipe and doesn’t require any fermentation.
Masala dosa is one of the most popular South Indian Recipes. This is made with the same batter as we use for idli recipe. The ration and proportion of rice to lentils is really important to make crispy dosa.
Onion uttapam is thicker than that of dosa. These are like pancakes. For toppings, you can add onion, tomato, green chilies and any other toppings of your choice.
This is another version of regular uttapam or onion uttapam. Potato stuffing is used on top of the uttapam. This is even tastier and more filling.
I love this South Indian Breakfast Recipe. In this uttapam, there are two layers of batter and a layer of potato stuffing in between.
This is a quicker version of regular uttapam and best for quick tiffin box for kid’s breakfast or school lunch box. This is a mixture of semolina or rava and curd. Add vegetables to make this healthier option.
Mysore bonda is normally an urad dal fritters. This is a quick tea time snack and delicious in taste. This is almost similar to vada or medu vada (in Maharashtra). There is no rice in this batter. This is an easy South Indian snack.
11. Appe/ Paniyaram
This is a regular appe recipe with idli/ dosa batter (a mixture of rice and urad dal). There are different pans (appe pans where we shallow fry the batter unlike steaming for idli. This is again a quick recipe for kid’s tiffin box or for breakfast. These are healthy finger food options for toddlers and kids.
Rava paniyaram or rava appe is again a quicker version of regular appe since there is no fermentation in this batter. You just need to rest the batter for 15 – 20 minutes. Add sauteed veggies to the batter and make this healthy food for kids. These are again yummy quick tiffin box recipes.
Sambar is a lentil recipe that is the best accompaniment for any of these South Indian Snacks or lunch items. This goes well with dosa, idli, vada and even with rice recipes. Toor dal or pigeon pea lentil is the key ingredient in the sambar recipe. Again the spice mix (sambar masala), curry leaves and tamarind paste make this extra tangi and delicious.
14. Karam Podi/ Idli Podi/ Gun Powder
15. Spot Idli
Spot idli recipe is yet to publish on the blog. But this is one of the quick idli recipes. However, you don’t need an idli maker or steamer to make this dish. This is a popular street food of Hyderabad. The main ingredient is Karam podi or idli podi spice. Then just make these super easy shallow fried spot idli.
Since I have not yet posted this recipe I will share it here.
Take regular fermented idli batter and idli podi. Now heat oil in a pan. Add finely chopped onion, curry leaves, tomatoes and saute till cooked. Add karam podi spice and little water and simmer for a minute till its mushy. Now place one spoon full of batter on top of the spice mix and cover with a lid. Cook on low flame for 5 – 7 minutes or till the batter is cooked well. Spot idli is ready.
Kara Chutney is a spicy red onion and tomato chutney. This is a quick and easy chutney than that of the coconut chutney. If you don’t have the patience to scrape coconut then this chutney is for you.
Peanut chutney is my favorite chutney. Super easy to make this chutney. Also, you can store this chutney in a refrigerator for a week. It goes well with any of the South Indian snacks item. This is again an easy replacement for coconut chutney.
Lemon rice is tangy nutty with lots of curry leaves, lemon juice. This is one of the quick rice recipes and makes an awesome makeover with leftover rice.
Amongst all South Indian recipes, Curd rice is a popular recipe that is equally loved across the country. This is a sour tangy mushy rice recipe. The tempering of hing, curry leaves, mustard seeds adds an extra punch of flavor.
This one is my all-time favorite dish. Such a heavenly combination of flavors. It’s nutty, it’s tangy, it’s spicy and what not. This is a must-try recipe I must say. This baby eggplant curry is just perfect for your everyday menu or for
This is a similar recipe to bagara baingan. Salan is again a Hydrabadi recipe. These are the side dish with biryani rice in Hyderabad.
Rava upma or sooji upma is one of the most popular dish in almost every part of the country. This is a light snack and a breakfast item.
Vegetable rava upma is a healthier version of plain upma with lots of veggies. This makes a wholesome breakfast dish.
24. Medu Vada / Vada Sambar
Medu Vada or Vada sambar is popular street food in Mumbai. This is the most loved South Indian snack across country I must say. This is a deep-fried snack of urad dal paste. Vada is a simple recipe. You only need to soak urad dal for 4 – 6 hours. Then grind to a paste without adding any water or a little water. Make small donut shape balls and deep fry till it turns golden and crisp.
25. Dal Vada/ Masala Dal Vada
Masala dal vada or dal vada is another deep-fried snack made with Bengal gram lentils. This is also a popular and common South Indian snack.
There is a long list in fact if we want to capture all authentic South Indian recipes. I will keep sharing in the future as well. Some of my upcoming recipes include idiyappam, appam, avial, bisi bele bath, ragi muddu and some more. Bookmark my page.
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