It can be extremely confusing yet common to see restaurants, take-away joints, etc across India serving and ‘specializing’ in South Indian and Chinese dishes exclusively. One might wonder – how that even makes sense, what sort of combination is that? But then, we are like that only.
The simplicity and flavors of South Indian food has made it a hot-favorite across the country. Idli-sambhar and masala dosa are often the most preferred breakfast options or even delicacy-lunch and dinner menus for many outside the geography of South India. Mumbai, though is more West than South, itself has a huge fan following of these common South Indian meals. Even in North India, the cuisine has evolved over the years and now you can find versions of dosas, idlis and uttapams with 3-4 different types of chutneys.
While South Indian cuisine goes much (and we can’t stress this enough) beyond Idli-Sambhar-Dosa, there are only a few dishes which have gained popularity in the mainstream Indian palette. At Holachef, Chef Ramani has been working up her magic on our daily menus with some mouth-watering South Indian meals.
Chef Ramani started experimenting with food at a very young age of 10. Her cooking experience has always been about redefining quality home-cooked food. She grew up in a household where cooking in the kitchens was not a chore, it was a celebration. Her passion for food has grown many times over since then, and now she cooks for the single most important reason- because it truly makes her happy! She is tireless when it comes to creating art in the kitchen. She brings her Andhra roots and years of experience with home-styled catering to Holachef.
Let’s explore the flavors of South India with Chef Ramani right here!
1. Kachipuram Idli
It’s your everyday steamed rice idlis with a spicy twist! The idli batter is tempered with black pepper, fresh curry leaves, asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cashew nuts, dry ginger powder, etc. Served with crispy medu vadas, sambhar and spicy red chutney! The result is a hearty platter that’s as delicious as filling!
2. Tamarind Rice
Steamed rice soaked in delicious tamarind pulp and tempered with groundnuts, curry leaves and other South Indian spices; served with medu vada, delicious coconut pachdi and papad. It’s a classic Tamillian – Iyengar dish and a staple meal for many. In Tamil, it is called Puliodharai. It’s wholesome and always leaves you asking for more!
3. Bisi Bele Bhaath
This is another classic hailing from the state of Karnataka. In Kannada language, the name Bisi-Bele-Bhaath implies hot-lentil-rice. It is originally made with an elaborate procedure that involves lentil, vegetables and spices such as curry leaves, tamarind pulp, nutmeg, asafoetida, cashews, etc along with rice being at the centre of it. Nowadays, one can find ready-made Bisi Bele Bhaath spice-mix which has made it easy for anyone to cook it in an instant. Chef Ramani, however, loves the old-school way of making it from the scratch. She serves it with vegetable raita and papad or fryums.
4. Masala Paniyarams
Another steaming hot Tamil dish made with rice and pulses batter in a mould. Based on one’s preference, paniyarams can be made sweet or spicy. They look like dumplings and are best enjoyed with chutney. Chef Ramani makes them spicy with green chilies and onions; served along with crispy medu vadas; to be enjoyed with traditional sambhar and red chutney.
5. Tawa Idli
In South Indian homes, this is the morning-after dish; meaning that one makes this dish with left-over idlis, sauteed in dry spices, onion and tomatoes. The delicious dish is enjoyed best with coconut chutney and is a sought-after snack by kids and adults alike.
Chef Ramani serves it alongside curd-rice, a staple preparation of boiled rice and yoghurt seasoned with fried urad dal, mustard seeds, green chilies and chopped cilantro to create the perfect comfort food; paired with spicy pickle and crispy fryums.
6. Curry Leaf Rice
It captures the zestful taste of fresh curry leaves. It is a a rice dish mixed with a ground masala of curry leaves, urad dal, chana dal, sesame seeds, red chilies, asafoetida, et al. Chef Ramani serves it with an authentic chutney made from coconut and crunchy papad to go on the side.
If you enjoy the Idli-Dosas and want to take your love for the South Indian food further, Holachef is the place to start!
And we almost forgot to mention – Chef Ramani’s Masala Buttermilk is a must-have! Remember to order it next time you are on Holachef.com.