Monday, 9 June 2014

South Indian Food : A Delight for Foodies

South Indian dishes have over the years gained immense popularity not just in India but in all over the world. One South Indian dish that has become extremely popular is idli sambar which is served in almost all south Indian restaurants. A traditional breakfast in all south Indian home especially in the states of Kerala, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and countries like Sri Lanka. As they are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice, it is an extremely healthy yet delicious dish. Due to the process of fermentation, idlis break down the starches so that they are easily metabolized by the human body.

Idlis are usually served with coconut chutney of various kinds and authentic sambar that add to the extra flavor and taste. A lentil based vegetable stew based on broth made with tamarind, sambar is extremely popular among south Indian food lovers as well. Though the origins of the dish are unknown, legend has it that it was first made in the 19th century kitchen of Thanjavur Marathas ruler Shahuji in Tamil Nadu. According to the legend, Shahuji was trying to experiment and in the process discovered the dish sambar. It is a reflective of a broad and ancient tradition of lentil based dishes that are integral to the cuisines of South India. In regions that grow coconuts, sambar is made from a paste of fresh, grated roasted coconuts and spices instead of the usual sambar powder. Usually served with steamed rice, sambar is an integral part of daily south Indian cuisines. Also served with vadas, dosas and idlis, they are extremely popular as breakfast or evening snacks all over the country. Roadside vendors and restaurants more often than not offer free refills of sambar and chutney when eaten with idlis, vadas or dosas.  Today, there are various types of authentic sambar which taste very different and unique in different restaurants.

A South Indian soup, rasam is prepared by using tamarind juice as a base with the addition of tomatoes, chilli pepper, cumin and types of seasonings and spices. Currently, rasam powder is easily available in the market and this contains all the seasoning required to make rasam at home. Eaten either as spicy soup or with rice, it has a distinct flavor that is different from sambar though they both might look similar. Rasam has many health benefits as it provides the human body with a good dose of vitamin A and C due to the tomatoes and acidic fruits that go into making it.  It is a very good source of protein especially for those who are vegetarians and are not able to get the desired amount from fruits and vegetables.

In conclusion, south Indian food is one of the most healthy and tasty dishes that are now easily available in south Indian themed restaurants. Also as they are extremely popular, there is now a large number of such restaurants that are opening across the country.

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