We might have come above the fallacy that not every South Indian is a Madrasi but it’s high time we rise above idli, dosa, sambar and rice for the food. As hardcore foodies, we firmly believe that a language barrier shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the truly delightful cuisine of our Southern states. And since we believe in sharing the love, here’s a list of popular (read: mouth-watering) dishes spelled out for you!
1. Bisi Bele Bhat: Literally translating to hot lentil rice, Bisi Bele Bhat comes from the state of Karnataka. Along with the lentils and rice you can find all sorts of vegetables in it; but this heartwarming dish is defined by the spices that go into it. A typical Bisi Bele Bhat masala would have spices like black pepper, cardamom, cumin, fenugreek in it. The most important of them all is Marathi Moggu (Kapok buds), which is the essence of this dish.
2. Pandi Curry: A visit to Coorg is incomplete if you haven’t tried the filter coffee and Pandi curry (Pork curry) here. The locals prefer the meat to have a lot of fat, which makes this curry very rich and dark. Extremely famous, this pork curry is served with rice balls and is something you should look forward to on your next visit.
3. Bibbe Upkari: This Ugadi special Konkani dish is one of the favourites in Udupi and Mangalore. The raw, tender cashew (Bibbo) is stir fried along with ivy gourd, mustard seeds, chillies and various seasonings. Usually garnished with grated coconut, Bibbe Upkari is certainly that creamy, spicy side dish that you would be hogging on before the main meal.
4. Keerla Podi: Keerlu (Bamboo) is used extensively in the Mangalorean cuisine. People preserve bamboo in salt water and use it throughout the year. Keerla Podi or Bajji are crispy and spicy fritters made from these pickled bamboo shoots.
5. Gongura Mutton: Andhra Pradesh is known for its spicy cuisine. And to know exactly how spicy, you must try Gongura Mutton curry. It is famous for the Gongura (Sorrel) leaves that give it a sour and tangy taste. You can choose between red or green stemmed leaves, the red ones are usually more sour.
6. Karimeen Varuthathu: Pearl Spot fish or Karimeen as known in Kerala is one of the most loved delicacies there. Found mainly in the backwaters here, the fish is marinated and fried to a crispy and golden delight. Freshly caught and cooked Karimeen Varuthathu (fish fry) on a houseboat ride is something that you will always remember Kerala for.
7. Mambazha Pulissery: Now this might sound something new to you. No, not just the name. Mambazha Pulissery is a curry of it’s own kind. A sweet ripe mango is cooked in yogurt with tempering of spices like cumin seed, turmeric powder, red chillies, and fenugreek. The result of this distinct combination is a delectable sweet and sour curry.
8. Beef Ularthiyathu: The most famous beef dish in Kerala would be Beef Ularthiyathu. The beef pieces in this dish are slowly roasted in masala consisting of shallots, curry leaves, garlic, and coconut oil giving it a typical Malayali flavour. A common beef dish in Kerala, you will find a different recipe to this scrumptious starter in every household.
9. Kozhukatta: This one is sure to bring out the sweet tooth in you. Kozhukattai is the South Indian version of Modaks or dumplings. These rice flour dumplings are filled with grated coconut and jaggery. Mostly a part of breakfast, this sweet dish is also made during the Easter Sundays and Ganesh Chaturthi as a part of the celebrations.
10. Puttu: Puttu is a very popular dish in Kerala, and its cooking method is as interesting as the dish. The Puttu maker (Puttu Kutti) is a metal vessel with two sections in it- the bottom one is filled with water, while the upper section holds the rice mixture. A lid separating these sections lets the steam pass to the upper section cooking the rice cake. This steamed rice cake has grated coconut in it and is mostly served with Kadla (Chickpea) curry, Mutton curry or Ishtu (Potato stew).
We have all heard of “never judge a book by it’s cover”, now we know how to “never judge a dish by it’s name”! The next time you’re tempted to do so, just think of the food you might miss out on.
Interested in food trips? Check out the Easy Roads app for some of the best ones.