Sunday, 8 June 2014

South Indian Cuisine: Taking India to The World

Indian cuisine is considered as one of the most diverse and unique in the the world and is characterized by the sophisticated and fine use of spices, vegetables, grains and fruits. Each geographical region has their own technique of cooking that reflects the rich culture and tradition of that particular place. Further, the religious beliefs have also played a crucial role in the growth and development of Indian cuisines as many Hindus, Buddhist and Jain communities practice vegetarianism to a great extent and this is reflected in the meal preferences as well.

As India is a large country, there are various types of dishes that come together to form Indian cuisine. The four main parts of India namely North, South, East and West have their own set of food items that are unique to their culture, region and tradition. While dishes from North India are greatly influenced by thick spicy and creamy gravies, Eastern India has food items that are generally steamed and dried in nature. Dishes from West India are normally less spicier and more sweeter as compared to other parts of the country. South Indian cuisine has a dominance of spices because these places have always been a center of trade since time immemorial. Some of the major spices include cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and cloves among others. Besides spices, South Indian food is also known for its abundant use of coconut and also has a good range of non-vegetarian dishes as well.

Further, each of the states of South India, namely Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka have their own unique style and method of cooking that adds the distinct flavor to all their food items.  So while sambar are prepared in all the four states, a true food connoisseur can easily tell the difference between the preparation of all the four states. Food from Tamil Nadu forms an integral part of the South Indian cuisine and balances between both spicy and non-spicy dishes. Some of the popular Tamilian food items include rice sambar, various types of dry curries, rasam, idli, pongal, dosai, aval (flattened rice), puttu, idiyappam, appam among others. Though people from the state do consume non-vegetarian items especially sea food, it is much lower in comparision to Western countries. Food from Kerala also has an assortment of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Since Kerala is famous for its coconuts, it invariably finds its way into a number of meals within the state. Seafood is pretty popular within the state as well and consumed on a daily basis. The food of Andra Pradesh is considered to be extremely spicy and are very hot and tangy as well. They have both vegetable and lentil based dishes in this region of the country.  Among south Indian food, Karnataka dihes are considered the most mild and has generous doses of jaggery, palm sugar and minimal use of chilli powder. As the number of vegetarians are more in the country, vegetarian meals enjoy immense popularity both within and outside the state.

Over the past few years, South Indian food has begun to enjoy a lot of popularity both within the country and across the globe. This is evident from the number of South Indian themed restaurants that have been established in various parts of the world. Additionally, the perfect balance between sweet and spicy, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, South Indian meals are sure to make every meal both delicious and satisfying for people across diverse tastes and preferences.

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